New Mom Hand Pain – De Quervain’s Tendinitis or “Mommy Thumb”

I write this post between gripping my hands and wrists time and time again. Rubbing my thumb, do a little cracking of the knuckles thinking it might help. Does it? Not really. This is only a minor case of what’s known as Mommy Thumb, or De Quervain’s Tendinitis and because I know what causes it and makes it worse, it’s not getting out of control.

I had it REALLY bad when Mikey was around 3 months old. It started from constantly trying to get a good breastfeeding position. He also went through this phase where he constantly wanted to be held (and is starting that phase again now along with my 2 y/o!), so I would be picking him up…up to 40 times a day! Whether it was to move him someplace else, pick him up to do a diaper change, because he was crying, whatever. My hands were getting sore but I HAD to pick him up and needed to breastfeed!

Next thing I knew, every time I went to pick him up I had excruciating pain shoot through my thumb into my wrist. I honestly thought I was going to drop him! I couldn’t pick up milk from the fridge let alone my coffee mug (poor mommy lol) and had to maneuver everything very awkwardly to let the pain subside.

I really didn’t know what could be causing the pain because it didn’t happen with my oldest child but I realized it had to be from all the picking up since my son is a ton more needy than my daughter ever was.  I figured while it’s happening to me again, I should write about it so any new moms or expectant moms know how to prevent it and if it’s too late, how to get some relief!

What is “Mommy Thumb” or De Quervain’s Tendinitis?

  • It is irritation or inflammation to the tendons around the base of the thumb
  • Main symptom is pain on the thumb side of the wrist
  • Pain can travel up the forearm
  • Most painful while hand is gripping or grasping something
  • Aggravated by lifting up baby and putting pressure on the thumb or wrist

How do you treat it?

How to prevent it?

  • Change the way you pick up baby–lift with palms up.
  • Prevent overuse of the thumb, ie. too much texting!

Do you have “Mommy Thumb?”