Have you ever wondered why wrapping a newborn is such an important part of their newborn photography session? Because it feels warm, and safe and very familiar. And this helps them stay calm and sleepy. When you think about the environment infants grow in before they are born, it's no wonder that wrapping them up, keeping the lights low, and the studio warm helps them stay comfortable during their photography session.The same can be said about babywearing. However, babywearing provides many more benefits for you and your baby, because of the closeness to each other. And, the oxytocin!
In 2014, when I was expecting our second baby, I was training as a postpartum doula through DONA International. Prior to my courses, I always kind of thought "babywearing" was something for trendy, crunchy moms who thought they were better than everyone else. What I learned was that closeness and skin to skin promotes brain growth, breastmilk production, better sleep, and gives caregivers a little bit of freedom from the constant need of their babies to be held. I learned that many cultures, all over the world, since pretty much the beginning of time, have found ways to carry their babies close. Babywearing is a parenting tool, not a statement or trend. After I had my second baby, I experienced a few hurdles, including depression and postpartum anxiety. I felt isolated, alone, and incompetent as a mother. I was constantly feeling overwhelmed. And I felt guilty about how the relationship between me and my first baby, (who was now 3), had changed. I needed to DO something to get up off the rocking chair and interact with the world again. This is when I decided being able to carry my needy 2 month old, but have my arms free was something that needed to happen. So I found a cheap, ugly $10 ring sling on a secondhand site and began my babywearing journey, including certifying as a Babywearing Educator. I will share some more about my own babywearing in future posts, but here I will share 5 reasons why babywearing is such an important and beneficial skill for your entire family. Babies are pretty much born to be worn.
So what IS babywearing? How do I do it? "Babywearing", is basically just using something to help you carry your baby close, while allowing your arms to be free. It doesn't matter what type of method or carrier you choose, if your baby is close to you, secured and supported, and your arms are generally free to move about, you are babywearing!
Why do babies like being carried so much? Because they're not "done" yet. Have you ever heard of the 4th Trimester? The 4th trimester refers to the 12 week period after your baby is born. It is the period of time that your baby adjusts to life outside of the womb. The term fourth trimester was coined in 2002 by pediatrician Harvey Karp, MD. He claimed that you should try to recreate the kind of environment that your baby had while still in the womb. What does that look like? It's warm and dark. They can hear your heartbeat and breathing. They feel gentle, rhythmic movements. They feel contained with a soft but secure boundary. It is safe, and familiar. It's like, they were born to be worn. Without learning to babywear, I truly believe I wouldn't have made it through that 4th trimester with my second. As soon as I got him wrapped up, close to me, I felt calmer, less anxious, competent and even confident that I could do it, and do it well. And the bonus benefit of babywearing? Community. There's a community of babywearers! Babywearing connected me with other parents going through similar situations, who craved connection, friendship and learning new skills. I now have lifelong friends, just because I chose to buy that ring sling.
< Here we are! Summer 2016. If you would like to learn more about babywearing and baby carriers, I'm happy to chat. Send me an email and I'll get you connected. And stay tuned for future posts, all about babywearing! Resource Links: https://www.carryingmatters.co.uk/ https://wrapyouinlove.com/ https://www.youtube.com/c/tandemtrouble https://www.llli.org/breastfeeding-info/baby-wearing/