The Ergonomics of Postpartum Recovery: Babywearing

If you are a returning reader, then you probably have seen my previous series on babywearing. I will be covering a few basics, but mostly focusing on newborn specific info. When we are talking about ergonomics, we are addressing one’s efficiency. So, when we are talking about babywearing in this context, we are looking at it as a tool in making you more efficient.

Babywearing has many benefits. The one that stands out here is the ability to be mobile and hands free. Newborns require a lot of attention. Unlike elephants, human infants rely heavily on their parents to survive the early stages in life. Just like a good swaddle, babies really respond to close knit comforts. If we consider their tiny spaced environment prior to being earth side, it makes sense. Knowing this, it should be no surprise that baby longs to be close to you. There are even greater physiological benefits you can read about in my piece on kangaroo care.

Babywearing has grown in popularity over the years, here in the states. Ancient civilizations have been and continue to practice this in their villages. One of the first things I ask my clients is, “what kind of baby carries did you get?” More times then not, they assemble a handful of carriers new/gently used, brought to them by friends that have seen the benefit in this practice.

Like with all things parenting, babywearing is a learned practice. There are handful of guidelines you should be aware of when deciding what works for you. It's important to remember that you are in recovery, so be sure to clarify any weight restrictions with your physician (this will effect c-section recovery the most). Always make sure to have a partner when trying out new carries. They will be helpful getting baby into your choice sling/carrier, spotting you assuring baby's safety, and then helping adjust the straps so you are comfortable. For more basic safety tips, visit my previous blog series.

 

These would be an example of a more structured carrier. These designs come with specific weight requirements established by the company. (Top Left/Right) Ergo Baby has a universal carrier that can hold between 12-33 lbs. When purchasing for long term use, you will have to purchase and infant insert designed to prop baby higher and closer to the adult. The weight requirements with the infant insert 7-12 lbs.(Bottom Left) Boba has designed a simpler carrier that doesn't require the extra insert, but it would require you to by a newer model as baby grows beyond it's 7-15 lbs weight limit. 

These would be an example of a more structured carrier. These designs come with specific weight requirements established by the company. (Top Left/Right) Ergo Baby has a universal carrier that can hold between 12-33 lbs. When purchasing for long term use, you will have to purchase and infant insert designed to prop baby higher and closer to the adult. The weight requirements with the infant insert 7-12 lbs.(Bottom Left) Boba has designed a simpler carrier that doesn't require the extra insert, but it would require you to by a newer model as baby grows beyond it's 7-15 lbs weight limit. 

Forgive me for the photo quality, it's usually dark quiet time when I have a baby in a sling. These are a few examples of wraps. These are more conducive to a newborns needs, as they facilitate a tight squeeze helping them to feel secure. (Top Left) This is also made by Boba, here I have baby in a cradle hold, giving baby the illusion of being held in someones arms. (Right) This is a Mobi wrap, baby here is in an upright position tummy flat on my chest. I recommend this hold for babies with upset tummies. I also like being able to utilize the soft fabric to brace baby's head in a restful position. (Bottom Left) This is a  Rebozo.  I utilize this as a tool in labor support as well as postpartum. Baby is in an upright hold here as well. These slings require a bit more practice and assistance from another. You will have to learn how wrap these properly on your body, and knot them so as to ensure the safety of your baby. 

Forgive me for the photo quality, it's usually dark quiet time when I have a baby in a sling. These are a few examples of wraps. These are more conducive to a newborns needs, as they facilitate a tight squeeze helping them to feel secure. (Top Left) This is also made by Boba, here I have baby in a cradle hold, giving baby the illusion of being held in someones arms. (Right) This is a Mobi wrap, baby here is in an upright position tummy flat on my chest. I recommend this hold for babies with upset tummies. I also like being able to utilize the soft fabric to brace baby's head in a restful position. (Bottom Left) This is a Rebozo. I utilize this as a tool in labor support as well as postpartum. Baby is in an upright hold here as well. These slings require a bit more practice and assistance from another. You will have to learn how wrap these properly on your body, and knot them so as to ensure the safety of your baby. 

That is all I have for you at this time. Try to be patient with this. Nothing comes easy especially in the early stages, so give yourself some grace. For direct resources on babywearing, visit my final blog entitled Safety Tips!!

The Benefits of Babywearing: For Everyone

 

Babywearing allows for a deeper connection between daddy and baby. Mommies get to wear baby inside for 9 months, so this gives daddy the opportunity to have such an influence on their new baby. This is also highly recommended for adoptive parents, as well as mothers enduring postpartum depression. Baby is able to get used to a parent’s voice, heartbeat, their facial expressions, and unique gestures.

Babywearing also allows for the more practical things in your life to take place. You can keep baby close, and still have your hands free. This allows for play time with the elder sibling, cleaning around the house, and prepping dinner. Imagine the freedom in a crowded neighborhood gathering. No need to push a stroller through large crowds of people, and you can go where a stroller can’t. This makes for nature hikes, and less complicated trips to and from airports.

So, what kind of baby carrier should you buy, and which one is best for you? Next week we discuss a few types of carriers and safety tips for wearing baby. 

The Benefits of Babywearing: Kangaroo Care

Last week we discussed the fundamentals of babywearing in your own home. Now, we will see it's benefits in a medical setting. The US has been fortunate enough to have the technology to support preterm infants. Other countries have had to come up with less costly ways to support these preemies in need. 

 Often referred to as Kangaroo Care (K-Care), hospitals with small budgets in areas like Guatemala have utilized K-Care in lieu of incubators. According to a study done by Susan Ludington at UCLA, having baby close allows mother’s body to regulate to baby’s needs. Preterm babies are placed between the mother’s breasts inside her clothing. This has shown proof of temperature regulation; it also improves respiratory function. Baby attunes to wearer’s heartbeat, breathing, and movement (walking, reaching, bending). This stimulation has proven faster weight gain, and k-cared babies prove to be healthier than babies who have not endured such stimulation. 

Amazing what the human body is capable of! Next week we continue our discussion on babywearing and how this practice can benefit both parents in the home.

The Benefits of Babywearing: The Basics

Babywearing is the practice of keeping your infant/toddler close to you while you go about your daily routine. This is a practice that was used throughout centuries of developing civilizations. Babywearing has developed over the years as a beneficial practice to understand your baby, facilitate their development, and their physical growth.

 Studies have shown babywearing facilitates a closer connection with your baby’s needs. By having baby close, you will better understand their cues before they feel the need to cry. This instills not only confidence in you as a parent, but confidence in your baby in knowing that they are well taken care of by both mom and dad. A study published by The Journal of Pediatrics shows that babywearing for 3 hours a day reduces crying by 43% overall, and by 53% in the evening hours. That is a huge shift in your baby’s demeanor, and you can see why this will help you be a confident parent. 

 Babywearing is a good tool for a baby that cries each night at the same time for hours at a time. Wearing baby close to you for a few hours a day could be just the thing that breaks the cycle. Next week we will discuss this practice in a medical setting. Babywearing, more commonly called Kangaroo care is all some premi babies have. 

Breastfeeding Support Resources

I hope you enjoyed my first blog series this month! Next week I will begin a blog series on Babywearing! We will be addressing the benefits for both mama and baby, it's use in a more clinical practice, as well as how to find the best carrier for your family. I have listed some resources for my previous blog series. I often find myself checking and re checking sources when I read informal blog topics, so to make it easier for those that do - here they are:

http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/pdf/strategy3-professional-support.pdf

http://www.cdc.gov/breastfeeding/promotion/

http://www.nrdc.org/breastmilk/benefits.asp

"Dr. Jack Newman's Guide to Breastfeeding" by Jack Newman, Teresa Pitman