Bringing Home Baby Without Breaking Your Body (or, “Shopping With Arthritis: Baby Care Items and Strategies”)

Although I was predisposed to thumb pain by having arthritis, I could have prevented more of it by holding my baby with my thumb tucked next to my fingers rather than in the position you see here!

Although I was predisposed to thumb pain by having arthritis, I could have prevented more of it by holding my baby with my thumb tucked next to my fingers rather than in the position you see here!

Despite infants’ diminutive size and stature, caring for a new baby is a very physical job! Many new parents and caregivers experience joint or muscle pain after repetitive stress caused by lifting, carrying, diapering, and holding their baby. It’s estimated that between one quarter and one half of new parents experience DeQuervain’s tenosynovitis (or “Mommy thumb”) alone, not to mention pain in other areas such as the wrists, shoulders and back. These issues are of course exacerbated by chronic underlying illnesses such as autoimmune arthritis.

From my experiences as a new mom with rheumatoid arthritis and from my training as an occupational therapist, I would like to share tips on my favorite baby items and strategies that can help preserve the caregivers’ joints and muscles*. I will highlight general “joint protection strategies” in orange as we go along.  This comprehensive guide to joint protection strategies for persons with arthritis has particularly helpful pictures to illustrate the safest way to perform daily activities. I strongly recommend you also read the following articles, which provide a nice overview of proper body mechanics to prevent pain and strain from bringing home baby.

Baby Clothes & Swaddles

This was one of my favorite outfits - easy zipper, stretchy material, plus it's a one piece! Charlie loved it too.

This was one of my favorite outfits – easy zipper, stretchy material, plus it’s a one piece! Charlie loved it too.

If you’re anything like me, you’ve probably oohed and aahed over your fair share of baby clothes. They are so irresistible, from the little overalls to the teeny tiny socks to the baby animals stitched into every corner!  If baby clothes were as easy to put on and off as they are cute, the 12-14 diaper changes a day during the first couple months would be a heck of a lot easier. Unfortunately, baby clothes often come with a mind boggling assortment of small closures, which can be difficult for those with joint pain (especially as the baby gets older and squirmier during changing time!). The most important clothing considerations for me have been:

    1. Resistance: How stretchy is the material? Clothing items with stretchy neck and arm, leg and waist openings are much easier to manipulate and get onto your child without causing excessive strain on your joints.
    1. Tightness of fit: It is easier on my joints to dress Charlie in clothes that are slightly loose rather than tight. Take care, however to stick to outfits that are snug around the upper body and neck to avoid a smothering hazard while they sleep.
    2. Closures: How is the clothing item secured – zippers, snaps, velcro, buttons or something else? I have come to prefer zippers and velcro as they require much less stress on my thumb and finger joints and are also quicker to take on and off than snaps or buttons. For the uninitiated: most clothing items have either zippers, snaps or buttons, most bibs have either snaps or velcro, and swaddles tend to have either zippers, velcro or snaps. Please see the chart below for my opinion of the relative ease of different closures.

ZIPPERS

SNAPS

VELCRO

BUTTONS

Easy on the finger/thumb joints?

YES

NO

YES

NO

Quick to take on/off

YES

NO

YES

NO

Keep baby’s top warm while you change diaper

NO

YES

IT DEPENDS

IT DEPENDS

I'm all about the zippers!

I’m all about the zippers!

The main reason snaps are harder than zippers/velcro is that the action required to fully “snap” them together requires direct force to the thumb and finger joints, whereas with zippers/velcro you are holding the material in a static position and using your larger joints/muscles to create the motion required to secure them. So, the recommendation for using velcro/zippers over snaps falls under the joint protection strategy of “always use bigger/more joints when possible rather than requiring your tiny hand joints to absorb the main force of an action.”

I recommend that if you have outfits with snaps, consider just snapping the middle of the 3 snaps to save some stress on your joints. Additionally, not all snaps are created equal; some are easier to snap and unsnap than others, so test them out before selecting clothes for your little one. I completely avoid items with buttons with the exception of special occasion clothing, since they can be so cumbersome to secure.

The only downside to zippers is that they tend to expose the baby’s trunk during a diaper change, since most zippers start at the top. In this case, I recommend you simply put a blanket on their tummy to help them maintain a cozy body temperature as you change them.

Swaddles:  I found the pre-formed ones with zippers or velcro (such as Summer Infant SwaddleMe, Halo Sleep Sack or the Woombie) to be by far the easiest to close and open. As with other clothing items, consider the stretchiness of the material as you select a swaddle.

One of our cute velcro bibs.

One of our cute velcro bibs.

Bibs: Consider using bibs with Velcro rather than snaps for as long as possible as Velcro produces less direct strain to your thumb joints. Once the baby starts ripping off the bib, you might have to change to snaps as they tend to be harder for babies to take off. We really like the Tommy Tippee Velcro bibs and the Zippy bandana bibs, which have relatively easy snaps.

One piece outfits versus 2+ piece outfits: I’ve definitely come to prefer one piece outfits (usually marketed as “pajamas”), as they require you to put on just one item of clothing and many come with zippers. However, it might be easier to put two loose/stretchy items onto a squirmy baby, so I recommend doing some trial and error with your babe and seeing which is easiest.

Additional tips: I would recommend minimizing the total amount of clothing changes you attempt/do in a day. Does your child really understand or care about the concept of “daytime” clothes versus “pajamas?” Unless there is a temperature, cleanliness or safety related reason for them to wear a separate outfit, I avoid changing just for the sake of it being a certain time of day. The exception is safety related to sleep: as mentioned earlier, it is not recommended for babies to sleep in hats, hoodies or other loose clothing, for the same reason it’s not recommended to sleep with blankets – there’s a risk of entrapment and thus suffocation. My overall recommendation is to conserve your energy and joint expenditure and minimize clothing changes when possible, as long as that is safe for baby!

Diapering & Changing stations

Since you will be changing 10-15 diapers a day in the early days, it’s important to consider how easy the diaper is to put on and take off and the ergonomics of where and how you will be changing them.

Diaper's on, mama, time to play now!

Diaper’s on, mama, time to play now!

1) Diaper Characteristics: Your main options are cloth diapers versus disposable. I don’t have any personal experience with cloth diapers, but I know that they come in two main options: snap versus Velcro. This post provides a comprehensive overview of the two options, and you might not be surprised after reading the clothing section that Velcro is reported to be the easiest on the joints (however it is less durable).

Most disposable diapers have similar closures that are as easy as Velcro, but you might want to try a few brands to see what is easiest on your body. I have used Pampers and Huggies with similar ease, and found the Honest Company brand diapers to provide slightly more resistance and thus require a little more force/strain on the fingers than Pampers or Huggies.  The same concept of “stretchiness” from above applies: the stretchier the diaper material, the easier it is to stretch the closure around the baby’s body and thus less force required on your joints when you are going to change them.

2) Set-up of changing area & body mechanics: I encourage you to consider the ergonomics of your changing area(s). Your main options are: buy a special changing table, use the changing table extension on a crib item such as the Pack ‘N Play, and/or use a travel changing pad on whatever surface is nearest you (such as a counter, couch or floor).

You don’t want to have to bend down too far to reach the baby – image credit to http://www.sheknows.com/parenting/articles/817289/The-dos-and-don-ts-of-diapers.

Regardless of what you choose, it’s generally advised to change the baby on a surface that is slightly below the level of your elbows so that you don’t have to reach up or bend down excessively (which can cause strain on the back and/or knees). This article provides a nice overview of how to set up a changing table, and I will echo their suggestion that you make sure all your important items are nearby (wipes, clean diaper, cream, hand sanitizer, etc) so you won’t be tempted to leave the baby to grab something quickly and you can avoid excessive bending/lifting/carrying of items.

3) Location of changing area: As mentioned in my previous post on caring for the caregiver in the early days, consider having multiple diaper changing areas so that one is convenient to you. This allows you to save energy and minimizes the distance you have to carry the baby; little changes can add up quickly, especially if you are experiencing pain and inflammation.

Feeding related items

Yes, babies mostly “eat, sleep and poop” in the early days, so we’re covering these items first! Your main options for feeding in the first 6 months are breastfeeding, bottle feeding, or “combo feeding,” which involves a combination of breast and bottle feeding. This area is hugely complex, and I am just going to focus on areas that are specifically relevant to protecting tender joints and preventing repetitive stress injuries.

I have a pillow under my right arm here and am attempting to keep my left hand in a neutral position to minimize strain on my body while feeding Charlie.

I have a pillow under my right arm here and am attempting to keep my left hand in a neutral position to minimize strain on my body while feeding Charlie.

 1) Body mechanics: Whether breast or bottle feeding, be aware of your body position and try to assume positions that result in the least amount of stress/strain on your body. This sounds obvious, but trust me, for many people getting the hang of feeding will require an intense amount of focus on the baby and it will be easy to forget to protect yourself during this process. This article provides a fabulous and comprehensive set of instructions for the ergonomics of feeding and includes some really great pictures, so I encourage you to check it out.

Being aware of proper body mechanics while feeding is very important because you will typically be feeding at least 8 times a day during the first 3 months, usually down to 5-6 by 4-5 months. Most people use pillows such as the Boppy or My Breast Friend whether bottle or breastfeeding, as the pillows support the baby’s body weight and thus minimize potential shoulder strain. Also consider your wrist position as you hold the bottle, breast or baby; it’s best to avoid extreme or awkward angles. Take care to remain as upright as possible, rather than slumping downward towards the baby (easier said than done!).

2) Breastfeeding specific items:       

Me in one of my many robes, which I found super useful while breastfeeding.

Me in one of my many robes, which I found super useful while breastfeeding.

 Clothing items: Consider avoiding “nursing tanks” or bras if possible, as these often require weird/awkward wrist and finger positions to get them on and off, from my experience. I found it easiest to live in simple loose robes for the first 8-10 weeks of Charlie’s life. If you do need to use special nursing bras, tanks and other clothes, be sure to test out the closures beforehand to make sure they are as easy to open and close as possible.

 Breast pumping: I highly recommend getting a bra that allows you to be “hands free” to minimize stress on finger joints and awkward wrist angles required to hold the bottles otherwise. As a  bonus, most of these bras zip up the front, which is easier on the shoulder joints than “regular” bras which typically are secured in the back!

3) Bottle feeding: Your decisions around what bottle type to choose will likely be affected by your baby’s specific preference in addition to what is easiest on your joints. Most people have to try a lot of different brands before finding a good fit, so be patient during this process!  I recommend considering the following as you select a bottle type/brand in order to minimize stress on the joints:

    • Bottle parts everywhere!

      Bottle parts everywhere!

      How many little parts are there, and how easy are the parts to put together/take off? These two are related, as you can probably deal with a brand with lots of little parts as long as they are easy to put together/take apart.  I only have experience with the Dr. Brown’s brand, and most of the parts are easy with the exception of the vent tube (cylindrical shaped object) and vent insert (or as my husband and I call it, the “white thing”). I would recommend testing out friends’ bottles and brands before making a choice!

    • How will you clean the bottle parts? Since most bottles have lots of little parts, cleaning them can be a big job. I found the medical advice on how to wash/sterilize bottles to be confusing, and I encourage you to ask your pediatrician or nurse if you have questions. Your general options are to wash by hand or in the dishwasher, the latter of which is obviously easier on the joints! To sterilize parts, you can boil the parts or purchase a microwave steam bag, both of which are relatively easy on the joints.
    • Ready to feed formula bottle option: If you are formula feeding it is recommended to use “ready to feed” bottles for the early days (again, precisely how that is defined varies depending on whom you ask). These bottles are by far the easiest on your joints as they come pre-mixed and assembled, however they are also the most expensive by a very wide margin as compared to powdered or liquid formula.

Movement items: Baby Carriers, Strollers, Car Seats

8 carrier

Things I love that are captured in this photo: 1) my baby, 2) my Moby wrap, 3) CHOCOLATE.

1) Baby carriers. Baby carriers are a great way to minimize stress on the hand joints…once you have them on! When designed and fitted correctly, carriers can keep the baby close to the center of your body so the baby’s weight is distributed and supported by your large joints rather than your small wrist/hand joints when you are carrying them.

There are many different resources to help you decide on the best and safest carrier(s) for you and your baby, and most major cities have “Baby wearing” groups where volunteers let you try on different carriers and help you decide between the overwhelming options. I am not an expert in this area, but from my experience I will highlight aspects of baby carriers that are particularly relevant for people with arthritis or related joint issues. I recommend considering the following as you decide on a carrier:

    • How easy it is to take on and off? Specific items to consider include:
        1. The Pikolo has nice adjustment straps on both sides.

          The Pikolo has nice adjustment straps on both sides.

          Closures and adjustment mechanisms: Does the carrier require lots of pinching or pulling in order to secure or tighten it? If you have thumb pain (as I do), this is particularly important as many of the closures require pinching with the thumb joint. Are the straps easy to tighten and loosen? Are they located on both sides or just one side? For example, I like that the Pikkolo has strap adjustment areas on the left and right side of the bottom part of the carrier (as opposed to the Ergo, which has just one), so that I can choose to tighten/loosen the side with the hand that is experiencing the least pain in the moment. A general principle of joint protection which I alluded to earlier is that you want to spread the force across multiple joints rather than requiring one joint to absorb all the force for an action (and on a related note, for the kind of arthritis I have that affects the small hand joints most, you want the force to be absorbed by bigger joints when possible).

        2. The K'Tan is conceptually easy but since it's tighter fitting, it caused more stress on my joints than the Moby.

          The K’Tan is conceptually easy but since it’s tighter fitting, it caused more stress on my joints than the Moby.

          Resistance the material provides as you put it on or have to put baby in it: Soft carriers such as the Moby and K’Tan are really comfortable for the baby, but they differ in how much force is required to put them on. For example: the K’Tan eliminates the sometimes confusing process of getting the wrap onto your body, but since it is “fitted” to your body size (it comes in specific sizes as opposed to the one size fits all Moby), I found it required more force to open the fabric wide enough to get the baby in than the Ergo or Moby.

        3. How does this product support the baby’s weight so that you don’t have a lot of stress on your back or other tender areas? In my personal experience, the carriers that require closures such as the Ergo and Pikolo seem to distribute the weight of a heavier baby a lot better than soft carriers such as the Moby. Again, a lot will depend on your own body mechanics and the size/shape of your little one.
        4. The Ergo fits myself and my husband equally well!

          The Ergo fits myself and my husband equally well!

          Versatility of wearer: can this item be used easily by a partner/friend so they can take some of the load off you (literally)? The Ergo and Moby were great in this regard, and the K’Tan is not as versatile in this way.

        5. General advice: I recommend having a few different carriers or using one carrier with a few different “holds” so that you don’t cause repetitive stress on one area of your body. Look at your carrier’s guidelines for what ages / stages are linked to different holds; it can be confusing because keep in mind that babies reach stages at different ages.

2) Car seats: I highly recommend you utilize resources such as The Car Seat Lady as you make a car seat decision. The main items relevant to protecting the caregiver’s joints are as follows: seat weight, buckles/closures/straps (how easy are they to secure and tighten/loosen), seat design (infant versus convertible), and how easy it is to put in and take out of the car.

        • My husband holds the Chicco infant car seat with ease on Charlie's first day home.

          My husband holds the Chicco infant car seat with ease on Charlie’s first day home.

          How heavy is the car seat? Weight is important if you are using an infant seat and plan on taking the baby in/out of the car while in the seat, but it may not be as important when you get to the convertible or booster stage when you will likely not be moving the seat in and out of the car as often. I used the Chicco Key Fit 30 infant seat, which is one of the lightest yet safest options, and we really loved it – no complaints at all! I “hooked” it in my elbow and tucked my elbow close to my body when I carried it, which helped minimize strain on my hands.

        • How easy it is to put the car seat into and out of the car? You will want to try this yourself because the ease will depend on your specific issues and the size/shape of your car and the seat in question. Regardless of your car set-up, remember to follow basic joint protection strategies and carry the car seat close to your body with your larger joints as much as possible, to minimize stress on your fingers.
        • Most car seats have 2 kinds of buckles (one near the pelvis, in red here, and one on the chest, in black). They are tightened/loosened by simultaneously pulling on the thing at the end (past the orange blob) and pulling on the straps (in gray).

          Most car seats have 2 kinds of buckles (one near the pelvis, in red here, and one on the chest, in black). They are loosened by simultaneously pulling on the gray strap near baby’s foot(past the orange blob) and pulling on the straps (in gray), and tightened by pulling just on the gray strap at the bottom (phew!).

          How easy is it to tighten/loosen harness/straps? Keep in mind that this will be important as you will be loosening the straps every time you get the child out of the car, and tightening them each time you put them into the car seat. In most car seats, you tighten the harness by pulling up on a strap at the bottom, which can definitely be hard on the hand joints.

        • How easy are the buckles to clasp and unclasp? Unfortunately for caregivers with tender joints, car seat buckles seem to be difficult to manipulate as they have to be resistant enough to prevent a child from successfully unbuckling themselves. Again, be sure to try this aspect before you purchase a seat. I found our infant buckles were way easier on my thumbs than our convertible seat’s buckles.

3) Strollers

Strollers vary widely in weight, ease of pushing, ease of folding up/securing, ease of getting baby in and out and resistance/ease of closures. The the same concepts from baby carriers and car seats apply to strollers regarding harness straps and buckles. In addition, I found it important to consider:

        • Gabe rocks the lightweight Snap 'N Go.

          Gabe rocks the lightweight Snap ‘N Go.

          How easy is the stroller to fold and unfold? I have a Snap ‘N Go (which only works for my infant car seat), BOB Revolution for working out and longer/bumpier walks and the City Mini Baby Jogger (which specifically states in it’s instruction manual that it is NOT a jogging stroller!) for shorter trips.  They both fold super easily (video for City Mini here, and BOB Revloution here), but the City Mini is much lighter and more compact and thus easier to put in and take out of the car.

        • How easy it is to put the baby in and out of safely? The same buckle/strap issues apply from the car seat section. In terms of initially getting the baby in and out of the stroller, however, strollers allow more wiggle room than car seats. With a car seat you have to work within the confines of the relatively small door opening, whereas with a stroller you can move your body around either side of the stroller or stand directly in front of it to put the baby in comfortably, depending on how you are feeling.
        • The BOB Revolution is great for uneven surfaces and even works on sandy beaches!

          The BOB Revolution is great for uneven surfaces and even works on sandy beaches!

          How easy is it to push over the types of terrain you expect to traverse? Here’s a classic example of a tradeoff; the BOB is heavy to lift and put into and out of the car, but it is extremely light and easy to push over a wide variety of terrains. The Snap ‘N Go is extremely light and easy to fold/unfold and put into and out of the car, however it requires more force/stress on the hand joints to push, particularly over any terrain that is not entirely flat. So, keep that in mind as you make stroller decisions!

        • General recommendation: Remember to pay attention to your body mechanics as you fold/unfold and put the stroller into and out of various places (“lift with the legs, not the arms!” and keep the stroller close to your body).  Think about “activity conservation” and try to minimize the amount of times you have to take the stroller into and out of places; for example, I try to really consolidate my errands and social activities so I’m not constantly battling the stroller and car seat.

Cribs, bassinets and other sleep items

The baby will be sleeping a lot in the early days, and it is advised to practice good body mechanics as you lift baby into and out of the crib in order to avoid excess stress on your body. In the early days I found it useful to utilize portable cribs, however once our baby could roll over and sit up independently, options became more limited and we ended up using the crib almost exclusively (although he does still take some naps on me in the Ergo baby carrier, which is like a wonderful, heavy, warm hug!). I recommend that you consider the following:

Charlie in his 4 in one crib, which has a higher setting for infants, lower setting for standers, and can be used as a toddler and big kid bed.

Charlie in his 4 in one crib, which has a higher setting for infants, lower setting for standers, and can be used as a toddler and big kid bed.

For immobile cribs: Does it have a higher up option for infants? This is really helpful for the early days to prevent excessive lifting/bending. Since “drop down cribs” have been ruled unsafe for babies, you will have to do some level of bending in order to get the baby in and out, but the higher up infant setting minimizes the amount of bending down you have to do. Most cribs marketed as “4 in 1” will have that option.

For portable cribs: There are 3 elements to consider for your joint protection when it comes to portable cribs: how easy are they to fold up and take down, how easy are they to transport, and how easy are they to place the child into and out of?

Charlie snoozes in the flat Rock 'N Play.

Charlie snoozes in the flat Rock ‘N Play.

Some of the folding ones such as the Rock ‘N Play portable bassinet place the baby higher up than others and thus require less bending when you put them in and lift them out, which is a nice bonus.

There are also semi-portable options such as the “Arm’s Reach Co-Sleeper” which can be really helpful as it attaches to your bed so that you theoretically can just roll over and attend to the baby’s needs rather than having to get up and then bend down and pick up the baby, yet it keeps baby away from potentially unsafe hazards such as soft bedding and blankets.

Final recommendation: Seek help if you are in pain

If you feel a degree of pain that prevents you from performing basic or essential tasks to care for your child, seek help from a medical professional! On a few parenting message boards/Facebook groups, I’ve heard stories from mothers who have waited too long to get help because they were embarrassed or felt silly for feeling pain over something “so basic” as caring for a child. Please know that caring for a child is a very physical job, and medical professionals can provide many options for minimizing current pain and prevent future pain.

My hard splint made of thermoplastic helps keep my wrist and thumb protected as I lift and carry Charlie.

My hard splint made of thermoplastic helps keep my wrist and thumb protected as I lift and carry Charlie.

For example, I have a total of 4 splints to address wrist and thumb pain from caring for Charlie and my job as a pediatric occupational therapist; they hold my wrist and thumbs in place to help as I pick him up and put him down. The harder splints really help support Charlie’s weight and I’m so glad I was proactive in getting a referral to a Certified Hand Therapist before the pain progressed further. Splinting can help support your joints and minimize additional pain and inflammation from performing daily activities.

Conclusion

In conclusion, I simply recommend that when selecting baby items, you consider the stress the items may cause on your body. Preparing for a baby can be very overwhelming, and it’s easy to focus so much on the baby that you forget to consider what might be best or most appropriate for the caregiver. Long term, the baby will be best served by a caregiver who can use their body to the maximum of it’s potential, so you’re doing both your baby and yourself a favor by protecting your joints!

19 holding charlie

Here, I am holding charlie in a way that minimizes stress to my small hand joints; his bottom rests on my right forearm and I am securing him to my chest with my left forearm with my thumb close to my pointer finger.

20 holding charle

In this picture I’m holding Charlie in a way that causes much more stress on my thumb and small hand joints than in the picture on the left. This hold is definitely not ideal, although at times it’s hard to resist!

 On a final note, while it’s super fun to discuss and list what products to buy, please keep in mind that the way in which you interact with the items will likely play the largest role in how you are able to minimize joint pain and prevent repetitive stress injuries.

There are many more items I did not cover, for fear this post would become even longer and more unweildy. These items include: bathing related items, toys, and older baby feeding items such as high chairs, spoons, cups, etc. However, as you’ve seen, the same principles apply across a wide variety of items. Please let me know if you have any additional thoughts/recommendations in the comments section, especially those with joint pain (either chronic or caused by repetitive stress during child rearing)! Do you have any additional tips/suggestions? Let me know in the comments section!

*The information contained on this blog should not be used as a substitute for the medical care and advice of your doctor and your child’s pediatrician.

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About Cheryl Crow

My punctuation mark of preference is, without a doubt, the exclamation point! Join me as I explore the wonderful worlds of: studying Occupational Therapy, gluten-free cooking/baking, swing dancing, photography, and living a full life with Rheumatoid Arthritis. There will be parenthetical tangents, there will be cake, there will be almost unbearable amounts of cuteness, but most of all…there will be enthusiasm. (!)
This entry was posted in baby, Occupational Therapy, parenting, Rheumatoid Arthritis and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

9 Responses to Bringing Home Baby Without Breaking Your Body (or, “Shopping With Arthritis: Baby Care Items and Strategies”)

  1. Thanks for the recommendation to check out our website! What a great piece you have written here. For those who are struggling to undo the crotch buckle on the child’s car seat, you may want to try the following: 1. unbuckle the crotch buckle BEFORE you loosen the harness straps – this way the tension in the harness will help you unbuckle (put your hand behind the crotch buckle, stack your thumbs on top of each other on the red button, push the button in and pull downwards to pull the silver tongues out of the buckled. 2. Try the Buckle Bopper – http://www.bucklebopper.com/Home.html

    Another lightweight infant seat that we love is the Cybex Aton2 – which we find is easier to get out of the base than the Chicco as you don’t have to lift up as much – and you don’t have to squeeze anything on the back of the carrier (the release is on the base).

    • Cheryl Crow says:

      Thank you SO much, Car Seat Lady – I have been implementing your suggestion of unbuckling when the straps are still tight and it’s made a HUGE difference! I also purchased a Buckle Bopper and am excited to try it out. Thanks for the tip about the Cybex Anton2! I ended up getting the Britax Click Tight convertible seat (I can’t even remember which model – I think the Boulevard?) and it’s definitely a lot harder than the infant seat but it’s fairly easy to get it in and out of different cars, which is really nice! Thanks again!

  2. Cheryl,
    This is an amazing resource!! As a fellow pediatric occupational therapist and a a future mom with JRA (one day!), this is fabulous! Would you mind if I shared it on my own blog as a resource? I recently started my own blog about being a young adult with JRA with a little bit of occupational therapy posts thrown in there! I look forward to reading more about your story and learning from your resources and experiences.

    Stefanie
    http://www.allgrownupwithJRA.blogspot.com

    • Cheryl Crow says:

      Wow, thank you SO much for commenting, Stefanie – I love it when my worlds collide, and it’s wonderful to meet another pediatric OT with a form of autoimmune arthritis (although I wish you didn’t have it, sorry!). PLEASE share my post and any others that you think might be helpful on your blog, I would be honored! I look forward to staying in touch with you as well! – Cheryl

    • Cheryl Crow says:

      PS. Are you going to AOTA in Nashville? Let me know!

      • Stefanie says:

        Hey Cheryl,
        I am unfortunately not! I have too much going on this year. I have a few coworkers who are though and I’m jealous of some of the sessions they’ve been reading about. It sounds like it should be great! However, If you’re ever in the New England area, let me know!
        What setting do you work in again?

        Stefanie

      • Cheryl Crow says:

        I LOVE going to AOTA, have gone every year except last year when I was just a couple weeks postpartum, but I totally understand it’s hard to fit it in! I love the New England area, and let me know if you’re ever in the Seattle area! I work at a private clinic with kids 3-13 who have a range of developmental disabilities and/or fine motor/handwriting difficulties, it’s called Stepping Stones and you can read more here: http://www.steppingstones-ot.com/ Where do you work? So glad to have “met” you virtually!

  3. NiekaNaik says:

    Thank you so much for giving me hope with the consideration of having a baby. I have had JRA since I was 16 an am now 23 and engaged. Can’t wait to share this helpful information with my fiance. It’s great to know the perks and being able to continue a semi-normal life. Your experience is inspiring!

  4. Pingback: Parenting Without Pain: Dressing and Clothing Life Hacks - CreakyJoints

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