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 Ergonomics of Postpartum Recovery: Nursing Support

Whether you're breastfeeding or bottle feeding, our posture is a factor. You have spent the last nine months supporting a completely different center of gravity, so our tendency to slouch is much greater now. There is an abundance of accessories on the market that you can get to help prop baby up closer to you. More specifically for breastfeeding people a handful of ways you can hold your baby while nursing. A newborn eats a lot, so you will find yourself seated many hours a day feeding your baby. Consider the state of your posture and set up a functional space to support you and your baby. 

 

Start with a decent chair, one with motion. A rocking chair or a glider are the common buy these days. They double as support during the feed, and then can facilitate soothing motion to help calm baby. The exercise ball you may have purchased prior to having baby. This encourages great posture, and is a great tool in soothing baby. The ball does all the work for you, rather than having to bounce your tired body. 

Start with a decent chair, one with motion. A rocking chair or a glider are the common buy these days. They double as support during the feed, and then can facilitate soothing motion to help calm baby. The exercise ball you may have purchased prior to having baby. This encourages great posture, and is a great tool in soothing baby. The ball does all the work for you, rather than having to bounce your tired body. 

A nursing pillow will help prop baby closer to you. These all can be used for both breast and bottle feeding. The Brestfriend has a clasp that you can adjust at any point on your torso, it also has a little pocket you can fit a water bottle, a pacifier, a nipple shield, really anything you have found helpful in your feeds. I included the Hiccapop because it is an awesome edition to propping baby higher, I personally use it on my lap under baby for bottle feeds. It allows for me to sit up straight and props up baby on an angle for feeds. This is really for pregnancy prior to baby's arrival, but I recommend as another full circle tool for both parent and baby. 

A nursing pillow will help prop baby closer to you. These all can be used for both breast and bottle feeding. The Brestfriend has a clasp that you can adjust at any point on your torso, it also has a little pocket you can fit a water bottle, a pacifier, a nipple shield, really anything you have found helpful in your feeds. I included the Hiccapop because it is an awesome edition to propping baby higher, I personally use it on my lap under baby for bottle feeds. It allows for me to sit up straight and props up baby on an angle for feeds. This is really for pregnancy prior to baby's arrival, but I recommend as another full circle tool for both parent and baby. 

Now for nursing positions. These positions above will be the more common holds taught immediately after baby's arrival. The football hold I recommend to larger breasted individuals, or with nipples that angle outwards. Breastfeeding will bring a whole host of new things to understand, and one of those things is the shape and placement of your nipples and how to best facilitate a feed with them.

Now for nursing positions. These positions above will be the more common holds taught immediately after baby's arrival. The football hold I recommend to larger breasted individuals, or with nipples that angle outwards. Breastfeeding will bring a whole host of new things to understand, and one of those things is the shape and placement of your nipples and how to best facilitate a feed with them.

These are some of the more advanced positions for nursing. I recommend the side lying position for parents that are comfortable with co-sleeping. It's a great night time nursing position, as it requires less effort in moving around. The laid back position I recommend to individuals with fast and heavy let down. When a let down is heavy it can cause some discomfort and frustration in feeding to baby. The laid back helps lesson the force of the let down and allows for baby to work the milk out at its own pace.  That twin hold is wonderful once mastered. Twins require an extra set of hands, so a helpful partner is essential in this position. Your nursing staff should be an excellent resource for you in postpartum recovery, but if you still feel like you need help, check out my blog series on   The Importance of Breastfeeding Support.

These are some of the more advanced positions for nursing. I recommend the side lying position for parents that are comfortable with co-sleeping. It's a great night time nursing position, as it requires less effort in moving around. The laid back position I recommend to individuals with fast and heavy let down. When a let down is heavy it can cause some discomfort and frustration in feeding to baby. The laid back helps lesson the force of the let down and allows for baby to work the milk out at its own pace.  That twin hold is wonderful once mastered. Twins require an extra set of hands, so a helpful partner is essential in this position. Your nursing staff should be an excellent resource for you in postpartum recovery, but if you still feel like you need help, check out my blog series on The Importance of Breastfeeding Support.

When it comes down to it, fed is best. There is nothing more natural than a baby communicating it's needs and receiving it. How you choose to nourish your little one is completely up to you, and you should never justify that to anyone.

Next blog I will present the different styles of baby carriers on the market, and how to choose what is best for you. I will also include some  helpful soothing techniques for baby.

The Ergonomics of Postpartum Recovery: Creating an accessible space.

Recovery! This is the operative word here. It is the 4th trimester after all, so giving yourself some grace throughout the early stages of recovery will help you tremendously. I will spend the next couple of weeks offering ways to help ease through your postpartum recovery. There are little things you can do around the house in order to make caring for both mother and baby more accessible.

Consider the layout of your home. Where will baby be sleeping? The American Academy of Pediatrics now recommends baby sleep in parents room for a full year. Where is your bed located in relation to baby’s needs. Diaper changes, sleeping area, nursing area. Maybe baby has a room upstairs and parent’s downstairs. Consider setting up changing stations around the home with a blanket/changing mat, and a little caddy with salves/wipes/diapers/hand sanitizer. In short, put things in arms reach. You will need to conserve your energy.

Below are some examples of products you can utilize in building a newborn savvy home. Next week I will be posting about Nursing support, and building your nursing stations.

 

Here are a few examples of a diaper caddies and changing mats, to build changing stations all over your home.

Here are a few examples of a diaper caddies and changing mats, to build changing stations all over your home.

A few examples of co-sleepers you can take in bed with you and your partner. This allows for baby to be close, but also garuntees safety perameters for baby to sleep in. 

A few examples of co-sleepers you can take in bed with you and your partner. This allows for baby to be close, but also garuntees safety perameters for baby to sleep in. 

These are also co-sleepers on a larger scale that will cater to a lengthy co-sleeping relationship.

These are also co-sleepers on a larger scale that will cater to a lengthy co-sleeping relationship.

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. 

The Importance of Breastfeeding Support, and How to Decide What Works for You

Preparing for a new baby can be exciting and daunting all at once. It’s hard not to hold yourself to a certain standard before baby even arrives. Luckily, there is a slew of information out there to help you prepare for this exciting change in your life. Take breastfeeding for example: the general consensus regarding breastfeeding is that it is the best and most natural way to feed your baby. While that may be true, we have lost sight of how challenging it can be. Over time, we have developed an entire industry to supporting breastfeeding mothers. I’m going to take you through the general facts of breastfeeding, how it can benefit both you and baby, and how to master it.

Unlike our animal counterparts, human babies are born physically and neurologically underdeveloped. Breastmilk has a highly nutritional blend that benefits both baby’s mental and physical growth. You will notice a change in your nipples during pregnancy. Those little bumps on your areola will swell a bit, those are the Montgomery Glands. These glands are highly important in the process of breastfeeding. They secrete an oil to keep the surface clean, in addition to tracking your baby’s digestion needs. When your baby’s saliva comes in contact with the Montgomery Glands, they send a message to your body to produce certain nutrients for baby. They even alert your body of your baby getting sick, sending a message to your white blood cells in order to produce antibodies for whatever illness your baby contracted. According to the Center for Disease Control, breastfed babies are less likely to develop diseases early in life.

Pretty wild huh?! Our bodies have all the right mechanics to support the health of our offspring. We even gain information biologically through kissing our babies on the forehead-that is a whole other blog topic. It really does offer another perspective on a mother's intuition. 

Next week I will cover coping with the first few days after delivery. I vow to stay diligent in posting, give or take the normal bumps in life's road. Thank you for participating, and I look forward to keeping the conversation going!!