The Downside to Baby Sling-ing: My Shoulder Injury and Natural Anti-Inflammatory Treatment Plan
While I’ve owned and used several different strollers of the years, I’m definitely a babywearing mom, too.
Sadly, I’m currently not doing much babywearing though. Instead of snuggling and nursing my baby while wearing her, I’m stuck nursing a sore shoulder. I’ve got some sort of strain/tendinitis/bursitis and it’s been causing quite a bit of pain lately, even without babywearing.
After seeing a holistic MD and a physical therapist though, I’m confident that I’ll be back at full strength and out of pain in the near future. When my doctor gave me two options: an immediate steroid shot or a longer path of holistic treatment, I obviously (knowing me) chose the second option.
So I wanted to share a little of my story, treatment and babywearing plan for the future.
With babies number one and two, I mainly stuck to symmetrical baby carriers, such as my custom-made mei-tai, a Moby wrap, and an Ergo carrier. Growing up I was a gymnast and cheerleader and have had my fair share of back injuries over the years.
With baby number three however, the wrapping, tying and clipping was sometimes a hassle, with two more little ones underfoot. So I borrowed a couple of slings and I happily used them, mostly at home, for several months.
Hallee loved being in the sling and I loved the freedom of motion and the ease of putting it on. Being able to nurse her in it easily was a bonus.
For my body though, I think I should have listened to my intuition about symmetry. I started noticing some tightness when I would take the sling off my shoulder and eventually, I had to stop using it because my pain had become more chronic.
Of course for me there could be even more at play– genetics– as my dad and both his brothers have had shoulder surgeries and my physical therapist recently commented on my scoliosis (which to be honest is so slight, I hadn’t even considered it before).
So here I am, stuck with an injury that I cannot completely rest (that baby must be lifted out of the crib after all!)… not to mention a desire to get back out in the ocean and start surfing again, now that Hallee’s getting a bit older.
I was so excited to hear my doctor’s holistic plan for me. While I am not opposed to western medicine, I love trying out all the other avenues before pursuing something more invasive.
I think the physical therapy is going to be the biggest help for me, as I definitely have some strengthening to do in my upper body in addition to dealing with the inflammation. I’ve also been using a topical anti-inflammatory cream (although I may try some even more natural alternatives to that, such as calendula or arnica cream).
But the part that was a bit revolutionary to me– the girl who has broken six bones and had numerous muscular injuries over the years in sports and seen my fair share of orthopedics and PTs– was the anti-inflammatory diet my doctor recommended to me.
I had never before been advised by a doctor to add foods with anti-inflammatory properties to my diet. Since I’m nursing, my doctor stayed with food-based recommendations, rather than herbal. She gave me a list of things to start making sure to incorporate into my diet.
I’m such a visual person, so I was glad to also find this pyramid graphic of anti-inflammatory foods from Dr. Weil.
The main things my doctor wanted me to be ingesting were green tea, three times a day, omega-3s, and the spices turmeric and ginger. Time for us to start developing a love of curry!
And my own research has shown me the flip side: to fight inflammation, I need to also avoid pro-inflammatory foods such as refined sugar/grains, trans fats and other stuff I already try to avoid and I strive for a more-real diet.
Babywearing: Am I done for?
As a mom of three little ones, sometimes babywearing is a necessity. The good news is, babywearing does not have to be passé for me.
My doctor did however recommend using my Ergo on the back, now that Hallee is big enough, since the Ergo allows a lot of the weight to go to my hips, and having her on my back will not pull my shoulder down to the front which would further strain my supraspinatus muscle.
I have pretty much retired my Moby already, as I prefer it for newborns, but she also recommended a woven, non-stretchy wrap, such as Ellaroo, which I have yet to try. Again, stretchy wraps, she said, would pull down on my shoulder too much.
In the meantime, it looks like Daddy will be doing as much of the lifting, carrying and wearing as possible until my shoulder is more on the mend.
- Dr. Weil’s pyramid
- Top 12 Superfood Herbs & Spices
- Top 10 Inflammatory Foods to Avoid Like the Plague
I’m curious– have any of you experienced shoulder pain from baby sling-wearing? How about other injuries– have you tried a dietary approach to healing inflammation?
Get our weekly email called
5 Quick Things,
where we share new stuff from the blog and podcast—that way you’ll never miss a thing. Tsh also shares other goodness from around the web... It can be read in under a minute, pinky-swear.
(You’ll also get her quick list of her 10 favorite essays and podcast episodes from around here, helping you wade through a decade of content.)