Moms with pacemakers? Looking for advice for comfort when managing my LO

My Medtronic CRT-D is not submuscular unfortunately and I am quite petite framed, I have been struggling with holding my son during feedings or just carrying him as I get pains in my shoulder, and he keeps accidentally faceplanting onto my device (poor little guy). I also have a port under my skin on the opposite shoulder which he has accidentally bonked against during crying bouts.  I have resorted to wearing multiple layers and sweatshirts to help cushion him if he does faceplant on me, but it's not a great solution nor sustainable once summer hits.  Nor does it help with my shoulder pain.  Have any mother's been through this? Any creative ideas would be appreciated.  I was thinking of sewing some sort of cushion, even though it sounds ridiculous.  Edited to add that I am hoping to get a revision for the pocket when the do a lead revision but this could be a bit of a wait, crossing my fingers that I can get it done this year.


Wish I was there

by Lavender - 2023-03-16 09:02:41

I love lil boys and girls. Wish I could hold him and was there, but as we know, lil ones love momma best. Tough little guys do tend to be like little billy goats and bump bodies and mouths while wriggling around. 

Your pacemaker can take a bump without being hurt, but your skin won't like it. I'm not sure layers will help much. Can you explain to him about being careful with you and that you have a boo boo we have to watch out for? 

I was thinking of more like a frame from arm to arm that lifts above the chest from shoulder to shoulder(?)  Or a vest like umpires wear, or one bicyclists wear, hockey padding for goalies etc(?)

Go to a sports equipment store and see if they have anything lightweight you can wear. 


by Penguin - 2023-03-16 09:57:12

Having a young baby and a pacemaker implant simultaneously must be incredibly difficult for you to manage. I know I would have struggled. 

I've been thinking about how to manage the situation.  

Feeding - Sit down somewhere comfortable and place soft pillows underneath him on your lap to raise him up to a suitable height, whilst supporting his head and neck into a position that means he won't choke. This would mean that you don't have to support his weight when feeding.  You could express and do some feeds by bottle if this proves too difficult and if you don't mind doing this.  Your health visitor (medical professional for new Mums / babies) may have some good advice too.   Winding him afterwards can be done sitting down.

Carrying - Keep this to a minimum and pick up only if he becomes distressed.  Keep the attention up by placing him in a bouncy chair or car seat - stroking him, talking to him etc. if he gets distressed.  You can still spend time with him by spreading out a soft rug on your floor and lying down with him. You don't have to pick him up constantly. Touch, cuddling / body contact and the sound of your voice can all happen when lying down too and those are the sensory points of contact to concentrate on. 

I would speak to a health visitor if you can as this must be quite distressing for you and distress often feeds back to the baby and that causes more crying etc.  If you can manage to carry him around less and find time to relax with him on the floor or sofa or cushions this may benefit you both the most. 

I hope this helps a little. 

tough situation

by Tracey_E - 2023-03-16 10:19:24

I'm sorry you're dealing with this.

Can you get some physical therapy for your shoulder?

Revision will be ideal but a warning, you'll be more sore before it gets better. My device was submammary when both of my girls were babies so it was never an issue with feeding them, however replacements left me more sore than if it was subdermal so expect a good month or two to heal after revision. My girls are a year apart and I had a replacement when they were 1 and 2. I mostly sat on the floor with them during that time while I healed. It's a lot less lifting and no worries about having to make a fast grab to prevent a fall. 

Would a sling to hold him when he needs comfort take the stress off your shoulder? You might have to try several kinds to find one that neither sling nor baby hits tender spots but it's a handsfree way to cuddle.. 

Thanks for the advice, honestly more worried about his noggin!

by Asully333 - 2023-03-16 15:19:47

As uncomfortable as my shoulder is in positions and carrying I can deal, tough mama here.  But what drives me crazy is that he will whack his eyebrow or forehead hard on the edge of the device.  Poor lil guy got a bruise several times and I was mortified my newborn had what looked like a black eye.  He was born 6 weeks early at only 3lbs, so despite being 4.5 months he is only 12 lbs and his head control is somewhere around a 2-3 month old.  He wants to use it but when he's tired, angry, or just wiggly I have to watch for the faceplants.  I tried the ring sling, and have a soft form carrier but he hates both, to be fair he's still a little small for them.  I tried a Moby wrap when he was first home at 4lbs but he was just too tiny.  I have a Moby wrap coming in the mail today to try again now that he's bigger.  I am hoping wrapping will keep him more secure against my chest.  I have an awesome baby swing that he loves, thing was a lifesaver for colic.  But I already feel guilty about using it (I keep sessions short and mostly after a feed for reflux or when he needs soothing at night and my shoulder is killing me).  I am still hoping for that revision, I would rather do it now before he's bigger and harder to control LMAO.  I already struggle with swaddling and dressing and he is only 12lbs, I make dad do a lot of that stuff.  I want to mention this device has been in for almost two years so it's not sore due to a new placement, it just compresses my nerves in my shoulder area and muscles, it also tends to cut into some of my upper pectoral muscles and armpit area.  I am glad the headbutting is common!  FTM here and I was getting a little concerned 😂.

Football hold or other position for feeding?

by Persephone - 2023-03-16 21:53:52

Not PM related in my case, but I used the football hold for feeding as well as a supporting pillow, and this worked for me - puts a small baby's head lower than clavicle level depending on the physiology of you both. There are a number of other positions to try as well. I also knew moms who pumped and bottle fed.

I think your idea of sewing a pad is a good one - I got some "underboob sweat pads" recently on amazon and they are quite nice and plush and long in length - I imagine they could be adapted to be used in the clavicle area under bra/cami straps for some protection.

It's nice to hear from you ASully- your's is a familiar name from my early days here. Enjoy your time with your little one and take care.

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