Wednesday 24 July 2013

Guest Post - Kerry on Babywearing

For today's blog post, I would like to introduce Kerry, mum to Edward who is 3 and half years. Kerry shares her passion for babywearing and tells us her journey on how she first started. As some of you might already know, I babywear Lottie; since she was diagnosed as reflux, I have found it invaluable to keep her upright, which also gives her the comfort she needs and allows me to crack on with jobs or things that need doing.

From the moment you see that little line appear on that little stick, your life changes. It ceases to be just you or you and your partner. There's another little life that you are very suddenly responsible for, are you prepared? Were you prepared? I certainly wasn't!

With so much to think about, and the world and his wife giving me every piece of advice you can think of you can forgive me for being so confused.

In the blink of an eye, 9 months had passed and I was returning home with my squishy little boy all fresh and pink. We muddled on day to day trusting our own instincts with our parenting methods – we knew we wanted to parent alternatively, we chose to breastfeed and to cloth nappy and eventually we'll home educate but we hadn't considered carrying or babywearing at all until our son was about 3 months old.

We are avid carboot fans and trundled off to one on a bright Sunday morning, complete with my monstrosity of a pram. As you can imagine, I struggled pushing it around, almost ran down a dozen browsers and in my exhaustion almost gave up and headed for the safety of the car. Then, I found my saviour.......a 3 way carrier for the princely sum of £3! I swiftly put it on and strapped Edward in, the pram was folded and taken back to the car and I got to bargain hunt. Amazing.

I thought it was the bees knees, I was thrilled to be able to transport Edward around without my huge pram – it was especially brilliant on the bus. I don't drive so I had suddenly found a new lease of life. I started to find other parents who also carried their babies and a this whole world of wraps, slings and carriers opened up to me. I fast found out that the bargain carrier I had been using wasn't that comfortable for me or my back, so I turned to my new friends for advice.

One friend let me try her carrier, a Mei Tai. I found it so much more comfortable as it distributed Edwards weight over both my shoulders and hips rather than just my shoulders. Edward looked much happier and actually slept in it! I started researching carriers, and the science behind them and discovered the reasons why he was happier.

With any carrier, positioning is optimum. Many carriers don't always give the best positioning for babies hips, which can make them uncomfortable and can lead to worse issues like hip dysplasia.

The best position for baby is what's known as the M position and to get this baby needs a good wide seat, with the fabric covering knee pit to knee pit and the knee's being higher than the bum.

I came across a cool acronym.......T.I.C.K.S

The T.I.C.K.S. Rule for Safe Babywearing

Tight – slings and carriers should be tight enough to hug your baby close to you as this will be most comfortable for you both. Any slack/loose fabric will allow your baby to slump down in the carrier which can hinder their breathing and pull on your back.

In view at all times – you should always be able to see your baby’s face by simply glancing down. The fabric of a sling or carrier should not close around them so you have to open it to check on them. In a cradle position your baby should face upwards not be turned in towards your body.

Close enough to kiss – your baby’s head should be as close to your chin as is comfortable. By tipping your head forward you should be able to kiss your baby on the head or forehead.

Keep the chin off the chest – a baby should never be curled so their chin is forced onto their chest as this can restrict their breathing. Ensure there is always a space of at least a finger width under your baby’s chin.

Supported straight back – in an upright carry a baby should be held comfortably close to the wearer so their back is supported in its natural position and their tummy and chest are against you. If a sling is too loose they can slump which can partially close their airway. (This can be tested by placing a hand on your baby’s back and pressing gently - they should not uncurl or move closer to you.) A baby in a cradle carry in a pouch or ring sling should be positioned carefully with their bottom in the deepest part so the sling does not fold them in half pressing their chin to their chest.

So that's how I carry now, Edward is now 3 and a half and I still carry him and love it! It's wonderful to feel him so close to me and hear him telling me how much he loves the cuddles. I'll let you into a little secret. So do I.

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