Jun
02
2009

  Breastfeeding Injury

My left wrist has been hurting off and on for a few weeks now, from breastfeeding. I've been relying on my left hand to help support and guide William's head no matter what position he's in, or which breast he's on. I've had to put my left hand and arm though some contortions to get this done, which I've put up with to keep my right hand free to do other things, so I won't get bored an impatient with breastfeeding.

But last night the pain around my left wrist got much worse, and started to radiate up my arm past my elbow. It hurt too much to pick William up, so I could no longer ignore the problem and hope it goes away on its own.

This morning I iced the arm, then wrapped it in an ace bandage to prevent me from moving my thumb and wrist on that side. That helped quite a bit. I figure all I really need is to rest the arm/hand/wrist and it will heal itself. But it's hard to not use your hand, so the ace bandage is very helpful to remind me not to use the hand, plus it does keep me from bending my wrist.

Terry has been bugging me to see a lactation consultant about my sore wrist since I first complained about it, but I didn't think it was necessary. Today I changed my mind. Fortunately, there was a La Leche League meeting scheduled in Charlottesville tonight.

Unfortunately, William started screaming for food just when it was time to leave (I thought he could last three hours from the last feed so I could feed him at the meeting, but he got hungry after only two hours). I thought I'd have to miss the meeting, but instead, Terry went above and beyond to help out, bottle-feeding William in the car while I drove into town. I know going to a LLL meeting was not in his plans for the evening. . .

Talking to the lactation expert was helpful, but not life-changing. She did think rest would be the best thing for my left hand, although she said (not in these words) that I have a real oddball problem since she's never heard anyone complain about a sore wrist before.

She did note that I was probably squeezing more of my boob than is necessary to help Will get a good latch, so squeezing a smaller area might help. And she suggested mixing up feeding positions with every feed to keep from using the exact same muscles too much (great idea, that didn't occur to me). She also gave me some pumping advice, although again, most women who pump do so since they're working-- my situation is a little more complicated since I'm never really away from William so I don't know how much he needs to eat or what my gauge is.

I'll have to add more about this later, right now I'm ridiculously tired. Must sleep.

Hey Heidi - I'm not sure why

Hey Heidi - I'm not sure why the LC would suggest that your wrist pain was odd - I definitely experienced it and it is not pretty much gone. A friend who was seeing an Occupational Therapist for a hand injury was told that it is really common for breastfeeding moms to have these kinds of injuries. I don't have any helpful advice - I just sort of battled through it and once Anna could take care of holding up her head and finding where she needed to go, the pain subsided. Hope it gets better!
Amy

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