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Friday, September 20, 2013

International Babywearing Month: What is Babywearing?

OCTOBER is International Babywearing Month! Yes, I know it's still September but I have to share this in preparation for an exciting month of random babywearing activities! I'm excited out of my mind, most especially since I have recently been addicted to it. S's been a real game changer on how active I am with regards to breastfeeding and now with babywearing. Yes, I know it's like the "new age mom activists" popping up.

What is Babywearing?
Simply put babywearing means "holding/carrying a baby or young child using a cloth baby carrier.

Holding babies is natural and universal; baby carriers make it easier and more comfortable, allowing parents and caregivers to hold or carry their children while attending to the daily tasks of living. Babywearing helps a new dad put a fussy newborn to sleep. It allows a new mom use both hands to make a sandwich. It lets an experienced parent or caregiver carry a baby on her back and wash the dishes, do the laundry, take a hike, or weed the garden, all while keeping the baby safe and content."
As in anything, babywearing is a skill that takes time to master and as you use it, the better you become. The manuals may say one particular way to do it but it is up to the user to find what is best for them. There are many baby carriers around like
A commercial baby carrier is not necessary for babywearing since there are many people use simple pieces of cloth to safely and comfortably carry their babies. Additionally, there is a learning curve with any baby product, including commercial baby carriers. Parents and caregivers often benefit from thinking of babywearing as a skill they can learn, rather than as the result of a product they can buy. Many babywearing techniques can be learned in just a few minutes. Some techniques, such as carrying a baby on your back, take more time and practice to master, but the extra effort is rewarded with liberation and increased comfort.
There are many benefits of babywearing that I can vouch for since I babyworn baby S:-
  • Bonding moments increased with babywearing and less dependencies in others. Scientific studies have shown that through babywearing - a mothers' oxytocin is increased through physical contact with her baby, leading to a more intimate maternal bond, easier breastfeeding and better care, thus lowering the incidence of postpartum depression and psychosomatic illness in the mother; similarly, the father carrying the baby has benefits for the paternal bond
  • Breastfeeding + Babywearing = Happy Baby and Mommy
    I liked the fact that I can breastfeed on demand, anytime and anywhere with just a sound from S. I do not have to worry about expressing milk to have someone at home give it to her when I go out or pickup my son from school.
    Where breastfeeding fails or is not possible, babywearing can aid attachment by encouraging closeness during bottle feeding and freeing at least one hand
  • The hands-free option of babywearing enabled me to not worry about having a maid with us while still being able to make sure the house is in order. I go out with S whenever the maid is on leave/vacation and I am not afraid/dreading it. It makes my relationship with my maid better and doesn't make anyone feel bad with regards to giving them space to themselves. Also, it enables me to multi-tasking with one free arm taking care of my toddler son while at the same time, ensure my daughter feeds in a secure manner.  A superwoman feat is correct!
  • Baby S, who's babyworn better than her brother, Big Brother C, are calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met. The caregiver can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, provide feeding and the motion necessary for continuing neural development, gastrointestinal and respiratory health and to establish balance (inner ear development) and muscle tone is constant. Parental rhythms (walking, heartbeat, etc.) have balancing and soothing effects on infants. Attachment between baby and parent is more secure.
  • Studies showed that babyworn babies developing socially earlier. They are closer to people and can study facial expressions, learn languages faster and be familiar with body language.  Evidence-based benefits for full term babies include improved state organization and motor system modulation; improved temperature regulation; and an analgesic effect, reduced crying, improved maternal responsiveness, and babies who were more securely attached. I can attest to this but it doesn't mean that Big Brother C is not affectionate. I had to show him affection and be sociable in a different way like encouraging to talk to other kids under supervision (since they might be total strangers, etc) and giving as much affection without seemingly smothering him. 
  • An interesting benefit I have read on Wikipedia is that babywearing decreases risk of positional plagiocephaly ("flat head syndrome") caused by extended time spent in a car seat and by sleeping on the back. Sleeping on the back is recommended to decrease the risk of SIDS. Cranial distortion resulting from non-vehicular time in car seats has shown to be more severe than in children who develop plagiocephaly from back-lying on a mattress.  Concern over plagiocephaly has also led the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend that infants “should spend minimal time in car seats (when not a passenger in a vehicle) or other seating that maintains supine positioning." None of the babywearing positions require infants to lie supine while being carried. Infants can even be worn while they sleep, also decreasing sleeping time spent in a supine position.
    Also, preterm babies have been shown to receive marked benefits from babywearing including shortened hospital stay, decreased illness, higher exclusive breastfeeding rates/longer breastfeeding duration, increased weight gain, improved temperature regulation, and improved maternal sense of competence.
More Babywearing entries as the days come around that I'm so excited about.
I will also try to update you all of any babywearing events around the Metro for the month. Exciting times again!!!

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