Wrist and thumb pain?

Posted by Alina on Wednesday Nov 26, 2008 Under body mechanics, health

De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is an inflammation of the sheath that surrounds two tendons that control movement of the thumb and/or the inflammation of the tendons themselves. Tendons connect muscles to bones, and in this case, the involved tendons are those of extensor pollicis brevis and abductor pollicis longus muscles, which move the thumb away from the palm in the plane of the palm. De Quervain’s tenosynovitis is often caused by repetitive hand and thumb motions, such as lowering a child or plate, typing on hand held device (aka Blackberry thumb), wringing, and use of a computer mouse. Symptoms include pain on the thumb side of the wrist, possibly spreading further up the forearm and/or to the thumb, swelling, “snapping” sensation when moving thumb, numbness on back of thumb and index finger, and pain with grasping objects with thumb and forefinger. Diagnosis is typically made through a physical examination, specifically the Finkelstein’s test. Treatment often consists of rest, keeping wrist in a neutral position (via use of a thumb spica splint), which allows the affected tendons to rest

Finklestein's Test

Finklestein's Test

and heal. Anti-inflammatory medications may help decrease swelling and reduce pain. Iontophoresis or phonophoresis may also be used. Visiting a physical or occupational therapist who specializes in hand therapy can help speed recovery and provide knowledge of proper body mechanics, useful exercises, and how to avoid injury in the future. If conservative treatment fails, the doctor may inject cortisone to the inflamed site. If nothing else yields results, surgery may be performed to release the roof of the tunnel to give the tendons more space. With conservative treatment, you may feel better in four to eight weeks. After surgery, recovery is more involved and usually takes several months.

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Diapers and fit

Posted by Alina on Sunday Nov 23, 2008 Under Baby Products

My son is long and thin. When he was younger, we tried various types of disposable diapers. Pampers Swaddlers seemed to be narrower than other brands and worked best for out son. Huggies were a bit roomier had a wider fit at the legs, resulting in lots of leaks. Seventh Generation diapers run small for their size. When my son was using size 1 Pampers and I tried the size 1 Seventh Generation, they seemed to fit like “low riders” and barely covered his butt,  the size 2 fit just right. However, Seventh Generation diapers seemed less  absorbent than the Pampers or Huggies, and are pricier.

Pampers Swaddlers as I discovered recently, also come in “between” sizes. For example, when your baby has outgrown size 2 but size 3 is still too big, there are Swaddlers in “size 2-3”. These are harder to find, but provide a great fit for those couple of weeks.

Now that my son is up to size 3, my options with Pampers are either Baby Dry or Cruisers. I find that the Pampers Baby Dry are a great fit, but the Cruisers a a bit roomier and he has had leaks with them.

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Nursing on the go, in a front infant carrier

Posted by Alina on Monday Nov 17, 2008 Under feeding, useful tips

My son was born in April, and with the nice Spring and Summer weather, I was usually out and about. At times, it was difficult to find a good place for breast feeding, so I figured out how to do it on the go.


When the baby is very young, you can feed him/her in a sling as you sit or walk. It is very discreet. I was able to do it wearing a V-neck shirt or tank top. The sling has to fit just right, if it is too loose, it may be difficult to walk and nurse. Just pull back the inner piece of the sling material and have the baby latch on.

Baby Bjorn:

I wore a tank top with a built in bra and a t-shirt over it. When I needed to feed my son in the Bjorn, I was able to lift the front of the t-shirt and pull down the top of the tank top, thus keeping my abdomen covered. Once the baby is in, facing you, loosen the shoulder straps to align the baby’s mouth with your nipple. Placing a hat with a brim (summer hat) on the baby’s head helps block the view from above. Placing a burp cloth on the strap, helps cover the side view. My son often fell asleep while nursing this way.

Ergo Baby Carrier:

The head cover on this carrier protects the baby’s head from the sun, helps to make nursing discreet, and provides support for the baby’s head once he/she falls asleep. You can either wear a tank top with a T-shirt over as described above under Bjorn, or you can wear a V neck, a shirt with buttons, or one with a stretchy neck line, so that you can just pull it down and have the baby latch on. Snap on the head cover and a burp cloth on the side strap if necessary for complete cover. Now you can walk, have your hands free, and nurse at the same time.

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Carrying a baby in a car seat

Posted by Alina on Thursday Nov 13, 2008 Under body mechanics, health

The safest way to carry anything is to have have your center of gravity within your base of support. When standing upright, our center of gravity is at our navel, and the base of support are our feet. Weather you lean forward to pick up a box or a feather, you may still end up hurting your back, because the weight of your upper body is placed outside of your base of support (feet). It would be safer for you to walk as close to the object as possible, squat, and then lift using your legs. To carry the object, you would want to keep it as close to your upper body as possible, to reduce strain.

In keeping with the above principle,  carrying a baby strapped to a car seat by the handle of the seat is quite straining for most people. There are two good options:

1) If the baby is in the seat, lift the seat from underneath with both arms, and hold in front of you, close to your body.

2) Hold the baby with one arm, and the empty seat with the other.

As always, when carrying, keep your abdominal muscles taught to provide support for the lumbar spine.

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Baby fresh food feeder

Posted by Alina on Tuesday Nov 11, 2008 Under Baby Products, baby safety, feeding

When your infant gets to a certain age, you may be tempted to let them suck on an apple that you are eating or some other food that you may want to expose them to. There is a product on the market to prevent them from accidentally choking on a piece which may brake off. Different companies make a version of essentially the same thing. I like the Sassy Teething Feeder because it comes with a cap and replacement mesh pockets are available. You can place a piece of fruit inside the mesh pocket, which closes tight, and has a handle. The baby can chew or suck on the food in a safe manner and get accustomed to the taste.

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Stroller foot muff

Posted by Alina on Wednesday Nov 5, 2008 Under Baby Products

There are various foot muffs on the market. These are shaped like a sack, and are meant to attach to the stroller or car seat and keep a baby warm in cold weather. Many stroller manufacturers make their own brand to fit their particular strollers. There are also different kinds of foot muffs made for universal fit on any stroller.

I have been using the 7 a.m. Enfant Le Sac Igloo “LS500” foot muff and I think it is FANTASTIC. This brand makes several different models. This foot muff is very aesthetically pleasing. The features that I like about the LS500 is that it has zippers on both sides, and if the baby is feeling warm, then it easily flips back and stays open. There are even two snaps to make it stay in place when folded back. It can also be used a a whole sac or the top portion can be unzipped from the bottom and attached directly to the stroller. Also, the top half has a fleece lining that can be removed (snap buttons) making this product quite verstile. There are special slits in the bottom half for stroller straps, so that your baby can safely be buckled in. This foot muff is very warm, I have not had to put a jacket on my 6 month old son when the temperatures were in the 40’s Farenheight. The Igloo LS500 comes in three sizes (S, M, L). The Large one is meant to be used from 18mo-3T. My son is now almost 7 months old and I am using the Large one. It fits well on his stroller (Baby Jogger City Series Elite) and has plenty of room for him to grow. It also has a couple of pockets on the front, and is made of a water resistant outer layer.

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Cribs and features

Posted by Alina on Sunday Nov 2, 2008 Under Baby Products, sleep

Something I learned while crib shopping is that most places (at least in Manhattan and Brooklyn, NY) do not stock cribs, they have floor models and then when you decide on one, the store will order it for you, which takes 10-12 weeks for delivery! This means, that if you wish to have a crib when the baby arrives, you need to do your homework in advance. With all the choices out there, it is hard to decide which to choose.

I first went to a store and looked at different features that a crib may offer. I then concluded that I wanted a crib that had a large storage drawer, a drop side with a quiet locking mechanism, several possible mattress positions, which was reasonably priced.

The drawer needs no explanation, as I have mentioned before, we live in a small Manhattan apartment and will utilize any storage space possible. The locking mechanism on a drop side of a crib, is quiet on some models and purposefully loud on others, as I have learned. Apparently, some companies make theirs with a loud click so that parents are sure they have locked the side properly. However, if you have worked hard at making your baby fall asleep, carried him gently, and then successfully transferred him to the crib without waking him, it would be anticlimactic to have to start all over again because of one loud click of a drop side. I recommend going to stores and trying out the drop sides, paying attention to how much noise they make. The variable mattress positions are a nice option because they allow you to have the baby higher up when he/she is young, so that you don’t have to bend over the side of the crib too deep to pick him/her up, which you do very frequently in the first few months. As the baby gets older, and starts to pull up to kneeling or standing, you can adjust the mattress to a lower position for safety.

I finally settled on the Mother Hubbard Good Night Good Night crib, which cost about $600. It had all the features that I was looking for and was aesthetically pleasing, although cost a bit more than I originally intended to pay. I found another crib with the features that I was looking for, called the Bonavita Peyton Drop Side Crib (~$340) but it just did not seem very sturdy. Although the floor models may become loosened over time, I had looked at it in several stores and it was a bit shaky each time. I have been extremely happy with the Good Night Good Night crib, which is made in Canada. My husband and my dad were able to put it together without difficulty. Also, it can be converted to a toddler bed, so it should last for a while.

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