New moms can always
use a helping hand, but experts say they may
need help for their hands, too.
and baby-care techniques can help prevent hand,
wrist, and arm problems that are common to new
mothers, experts say.
"Get yourself into good habits right away.
Moms do the same activities repetitively, such
as burping, rocking and lifting their babies.
Take breaks and maintain good posture. Even
a small change like switching positions can
make a big difference," Stacey Doyon, president-elect
of the American Society of Hand Therapists (ASHT),
said in a prepared statement.
The ASHT offers the following injury and pain
prevention tips for new mothers:
- Burp your baby over your shoulder.
- Use nursing support. "When nursing
the baby, try to use devices such as Boppies
that help support baby and mommy," Doyon
said. "Be sure to sit in a reclined position
so that the baby's weight can be held by your
body and larger joints versus shoulders, arms
and strained hands. If you are nursing and
need to use a pump, consider using the express
electronic pumps that are easier on hands
and fingers than manual pumps."
- Keep the crib mattress height as high as
safely possible, based on the baby's development.
Move all mobiles and toys out of the way,
lower the crib rail, and lift the baby with
- When holding and rocking the baby, listen
to gentle music rather than fast-paced music.
Keep your wrists straight and in neutral position.
Hold the baby's head closer to the neck versus
higher up on the head. Walk slowly, rock gently
and switch your arms and position as needed
to avoid getting stiff or sore. If you're
sitting down, use a lap pillow or Boppie for
- When carrying car seats and/or baby carriers,
make sure the handle is lengthwise with the
carrier so that your hand and forearm are
in neutral -- the thumb-forward position --
instead of the palm of your hand facing forward.
"Many moms strain their hands carrying
car seats and heavy bags stuffed with baby supplies.
Use common sense. Don't try to carry more than
you can handle," Doyon said.