The mommy thumb

Raise your hand Mamma, especially a new mom, if you are holding your baby in arms, maybe breastfeeding and scrolling through your smartphone. If you do, have you experienced any pain in the wrist or a twitch in the thumb?

Are you feeling any numbness, tingling pain in thumb, wrist or arm? Consult a doctor before ignoring it.

My story:

Like any other new mom, I used to spend a lot of time holding my Penguin. We had sailed fairly through numerous episodes of marathon feeds. Feed-pee-poop-feed cycles were our day. In between all these daily sagas, two weeks after my baby was born I noticed a pain in my left wrist while breastfeeding. It was not severe neither for too long, only a few seconds. And I did the mistake of ignoring those few painful seconds. It took me a few days to realize that something was wrong with my wrist. Every time I would pick the baby up, or position to breastfeed or adjust his head in breastfeeding position for a good latch, it hurt. I would feel a sharp pain starting from the base of the thumb to arms. I was diagnosed with, Carpal Tunnel Syndrome of a new mother. A.K.A the Mommy Thumb.

That’s me wearing a thumb splint.

Carpal tunnel syndrome can sometimes appear during pregnancy or postpartum. It is a condition brought on by increased pressure on the median nerve at the wrist. In effect, it is a pinched nerve at the wrist. Symptoms may include numbness, tingling, and pain in the arm, hand, and fingers. There is a space in the wrist called the carpal tunnel where the median nerve and nine tendons pass from the forearm into the hand. Carpal tunnel syndrome happens when pressure builds up from swelling in this tunnel and puts pressure on the nerve. When the pressure from the swelling becomes great enough to disturb the way the nerve works, numbness, tingling, and pain may be felt in the hand and fingers. (Source)

When I got aware of the reason behind my painful condition, initially I was worried. But the proper treatment, exercise, and conscious wrist position bailed me out.


I met an orthopedic who suggested medication and physiotherapy. Hereby I am sharing a few tips and tricks which helped me out.

  • Avoid lifting heavy objects. While lifting the baby, try to minimize the use of the thumb.
  • Wear thumb splints. I used to wear them all the time except sleeping or unavoidable instances.
  • I used to take ice massage in the painful area. Avoid taking warm compress, it enhances to pain. Learned from the mistake.
  • Try a different breastfeeding position or use feeding pillows if needed. The aim is to reduce pressure on the thumb.
  • Get help. Moms often tend to multitask while they do suffer from pain similar to this. Ask for help or hire help till you get better.


  • Shake it out.

Shaking up hands are good warm-ups as well as gives quick relief.

  • Fist it

Another warm-up is to make a fist and release it.

Extend both the arms in front and make a fist.

Hold it for 15 – 30 seconds and release it. Repeat 5 – 10 times.

  • Wrist rotation

This is a basic one. Extend both arms in your front and make fists.

Now you need to rotate both wrists clockwise and anti-clockwise without straining the nerves few rounds.

  • Stretch Armstrong

Extend one arm in front of you with your palm facing down.

Point your hand at the floor by bending your wrists.

Avoid turning your arm.

Apply pressure gently with your other hand until you feel a moderate stretch.

Hold this position for 30 seconds.

Then switch hand and repeat.

  • Thumb touch

Touch the tip of each finger to tip of thumb making an O- shape.

Repeat a few rounds.

Few mothers might get a similar pain later when the baby has grown heavier and bigger. Medically it’s known as De Quervain’s syndrome, A.K.A “The Mommy Thumb”.

Though this syndrome is called the Mommy Thumb, it might occur to anyone who uses smartphones frequently.

Were you aware of the “Mummy Thumb?” Do share your story in the comment below.

Disclaimer: I am not a physiotherapist or doctor. Here, I am sharing my experience and in no matter, it can be taken as a piece of medical advice.


0 thoughts on “The mommy thumb”

  1. I did have this pain but thankfully it wasn’t that bad and I did rotation of my wrists.It was all good there after. As new Mommies it isn’t always that we keep a close eye on what goes on with us, which shouldn’t be the case though. A very informative blog post.

  2. I never knew much about Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, just had read during my Biotech course. Being a new mum is challenging and this is one side a new mum needs to take care of. Thanks for this informative post as we all are browsing these days, while feeding or carrying or even on a pillion. There needs to be a harsh stand on “excessive” use of smartphones.
    #Myfriendalexa #mommyinmereads

  3. I have heard about Carpal Tunnel disorders for those who use the mouse on a workstation. This was really new information for me. And a very useful one at that. thanks for sharing this. Will keep it in mind for future occurrences amongst family and friends.

  4. I had this pain too when my baby was a couple of weeks old. It was doubly scary for me because I had already had a wrist injury and surgery a few years before pregnancy. Thankfully by wearing a splint, applying a pain reliever and doing some rotations, the pain subsided on its own. Your tips will surely help a lot of new moms

  5. Luckily I didn’t get Mommythumb when I was a new Mom. BUT I recently had a bout of carpal tunnel syndrome and boy! is it painful. The exercises you have recommended are spot on.

  6. Very informtaive post and realatable too. I had exeperienced this three years back so can relate to it very much. The pain is intolerable at times, thankfully I feel much better now. #vartikasdiaryreading #myfriendalexa

  7. I’m not a mommy but my sis-in-law gave birth recently and going through all sorts of physical-and-mental exhaustion. Thanks for this informative article. Would show her. She might find some help here.

  8. Thanks for writing in detail about this syndrome. Will be mindful if it strikes any of family n friend. The exercises u have mentioned are simple n doable.

  9. I’m a 35 year mummy and 5 year old granny with three grandchildren but have never experienced this pain. I did have a frozen shoulder when my little girl was little but that was it. And my little one was quite a heavy weight too…..

  10. This is the first time I am hearing about this condition called ‘Mommy’s Thumb’, though I have seen frequent computer users experiencing carpal tunnel syndrome. Thank you for this post.
    #DeepTiesReads #MyFriendAlexa

  11. I was not aware of this syndrome. Thankfully, didn’t face anything like that during my pregnancy or new mommy days. However, this is a must read post for everyone.

  12. A detailed informative post on Carpal tunnel syndrome Pragnya! It’s very common that Mommies ignore these small things, which can impact their health badly at a later stage. Useful tips to be shared.

  13. I got it too a little after my bub turned one yo. Mine was on the milder side and didn;t need a splinter as such, Thankfully I read and did the postural corrections and some exercises. So far so good! #surreads #myfriendalexa #blogchatter


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