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Breastfeeding and aching joints??

(20 Posts)
mumB Fri 18-Nov-05 11:47:09

I have been breastfeeding for 6 months and my joints, especially in my hands are really stiff and achy. It is worse in the morning. The doctor has done blood tests to rule out arthritis. It is apparently a "breastfeeding thing" (due to hormones) that I guess I just have to put up with. Does anyone else suffer with this or have any cures?

Pruni Fri 18-Nov-05 11:50:41

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PrettyCandles Fri 18-Nov-05 11:53:40

With both my children I had to have physiotherapy after a couple of months, because from about 7-8weeks to about 5-6months I had very achey joints, especially arms and shoulders. I put it down to posture, and the strain of holding a child in my arms while feeding.

If it's worse in teh morning it means that you have stiffened up during the night - daytimes you keep moving and maintain the mobility. You need to see a physio and learn to do stretching and loosening exercises before you even sit up in the morning.

Try also doing stretches and loosenings before each feed, as well as varying your feeding position. Do you feed lying down on your side? It's one of the best positions for relaxing in durng a feed.

While you feed, try to remember to relax and drop your shoulders. Imagine your shoulder-blades are sliding down your back. Have a small firm cushion or rolled-up towel in the small of your back, and a larger one behind your neck so that you can relax your neck without your head flopping.

mumB Fri 18-Nov-05 11:59:23

Thanks for the advice. It feels more like it is in my joints as opposed to a muscular ache,if you see what I mean, but I'll try the exercises and see how that goes. I have fed lying down a few times and it's great! Perhaps I should do that more. Funnily enough, Pruni, it is worse when I am tired

threelittlebabies Fri 18-Nov-05 12:04:05

mumB, I think I have this, really sore in the morning and feet especially, like i have been doing lots of walking. Had mentioned it to my GP who helpfully said 'oh, no idea what that could be'. Just thought I was getting old, until I read your thread and thought "aaahhh...that's what it is!" Yesterday at the park I didn't have the energy to kick my legs on the swing, and as I barely fitted by bum on the seat anyway, was pretty depressed at the realisation I am not a skinny 16 year old any more! Hope you feel better soon

suzi2 Fri 18-Nov-05 12:16:56

I've heard of this before - a friend had it and I also had it prenatally.

I had loads of blood tests done and saw a specialist for bad joint pain (and odd lumps!) during pregnancy. very like arthritis. Mostly in my hands and ankles. But it was simply my bodys reaction to the hormones in the 2nd trimester. The doctor explained that it was unusual prenatally but more common postnatally.

It's amazing what hormones can do to you...

Pruni Fri 18-Nov-05 12:22:04

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mumB Fri 18-Nov-05 12:29:20

My GP said that the body of a BF woman is similar to that of a menopausal woman (hormonally speaking), which causes the joint pain. We have so much to look forward to in later life! All I do know is that it makes me feel very old every morning

I also had the night sweats! I agree, it is another odd thing that isn't in the books. My MW said that is another "hormone thing" and is the body's way of expelling excess unused milk in the early days?! You may have noticed it was worse if you fed less at night?

I think basically anything not in the books is put down to hormones, lack of sleep or stress. Presumably all mums suffer from all 3 of these things to some degree!

DelGirl Fri 18-Nov-05 12:34:51

cant stop but see here

Pruni Fri 18-Nov-05 12:37:10

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highlander Fri 18-Nov-05 13:16:06

I'm afraid I still get stiff hands, and I've been BF for 14 months now. Saying that, it's got a lot better in the last month; I no longer get up in the morning and dread having to pick DS up.

Hoodie4000 Tue 06-Aug-13 22:04:17

I read this all with thanks and interest as it really put my mind at rest. I was able to make quite a quick impact on these aches by expressing more milk which seems to have kept this completely at bay.

Trying2bMindful Tue 06-Aug-13 22:10:46

I had some aches at 6mo so my GP referred me to a physio. Please do try seeing someone who can help ease the stiffness & give you the specific exercises which will help rehabilitation. You should not put up with pain & discomfort at this point!
You could try speaking to the LLL helpline for advice. Hope it clears up soon. It took until my LO was 11mo for my aches to ease.
To speak directly to an accredited LLL Leader call the telephone Helpline 0845 120 2918.

sparklekitty Wed 07-Aug-13 10:55:46

I was told by my physio that my SPD won't properly clear up till I stop breastfeeding. Apparently breastfeeding releases relaxin which will make ligaments stretchier, it feels like achy joints.

I have this every morning. I find a warm shower helps sometimes. Think lack of sleep can make it worse too. Not fun. If it gets really bad I use deep heat or those heat pads that stick on.

FrussoHathor Wed 07-Aug-13 10:57:32

I ache terribly in the morning. I find its slightly better if I make sure to drink lots of water during the night.

InPraiseofOldHouses Wed 07-Aug-13 17:30:23

Me too! My feet are the worst when I get up in the morning and during the night as well. I went swimming today for the first time in ages and it was the first time that I haven't been in pain since before I was pregnant. So does this really stop when you stop bf? I thought it was added pregnancy weight putting pressure on my joints!

Trying2bMindful Wed 07-Aug-13 22:26:21

I think it is too easy for HCPs to fob us bf mums off. Please speak to a bf line & check this advice is right. Remember most drs only have a couple of hours on bf at medical school & are under no obligation to keep up to date. Most physios receive no bf training at all so could just be sharing myths with you...
Don't put up with discomfort. It is a sign you need some help - even if it is only ibruprufen for 3 weeks, some stretches and specific exercises.

BonaDea Wed 07-Aug-13 22:33:17

Oh my. I am so glad you posted this.

I have a lot of stiffness in my ankles and feet at the moment and was beginning to worry. I had no idea that bf'ing could cause this! DS is 4.5 months and is ebf.

pudtat Wed 07-Aug-13 22:33:19

I have been suffering with painful joints, especially feet and trigger thumbs and fingers -worse in the morning when I wake up. Doctor says its a common response to the relaxin and oxytocin and should slowly resolve once I stop bf.

Soniasonia15 Tue 16-Aug-16 11:20:32

Thanks for sharing your experiences as I also started thinking of my age as I am a mom of a 6 mo old with another daughter of 11 years. During both of the lactating periods I had severe pain in my joints. I am having loads of milk, calcium and vitamin D supplements which reduced my pain but in the morning and night it is still terrible. I remember with the age of the child it disappeared last time. So keeping up my hope, you do too and have patience.

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