Monday, August 20, 2012

Babywearing During Pregnancy Part 1: A Wrapper's Perspective

I was in Taco Bell a couple of weeks ago—hey, I embrace my pregnancy cravings—and put my

18-month old son up on my back to ease his temper tantrum when I noticed the eyes of every person in the place on me. Awkward! I was trying really hard to make us not a spectacle, but apparently failed miserably. It was only later that I realized that maybe a 9-month pregnant lady strapping a toddler to her back actually might be spectacle-worthy. I suppose that it isn’t something people see very often in our culture.  After all, at 37 weeks of pregnancy most women are feeling big, moving is hard, and aches are abundant. Why and how would a very pregnant mom even do such a thing?

As a mom about to enter the world of two-under-two parenting, the reality is that I am a mom of two babies. Yes, my son walks. But, he still needs lots of cuddles, holding, comforting, etc. My lap is pretty full of belly these days and playing on the floor isn’t the most comfortable thing. So, if we can get in snuggles while I am standing—great! And, all the better if I can do that while on-the go, since I have a busy toddler who wants to go, go, go while being close to mama. Babywearing allows my son to still be the baby that he is while allowing me to do the things I need to do even with a big belly (and soon with a newborn).

Wearing throughout the pregnancy has allowed me to build my strength gradually which means I can wear both now in the late third trimester and will have the strength to tandem wear both kids when after new baby is born. It’s like how when you lift weights, you start small and then get stronger and stronger. Nature and time have increased the poundage of my two precious “weights” over the past nine months allowing me to grow stronger.

Walking is one of my favorite ways to stay in shape, is well suited to pregnancy, and is the perfect babywearing activity. As with all exercise during pregnancy—heed what your body says and expect to only do about 80% for what you could pre-pregnancy, at most. I wear my son much less than I could two months ago. He weighs more each passing week and my body is working harder each passing week.
Rucksack in the Early Third Trimester

Now let’s move on to the how of wearing with a belly. I only wear using woven wraps—pregnant or not— and what I’ve learned about which carries work during pregnancy is that heeding the cues of my body is better than any particular rules. If it doesn’t feel good, don’t do it. Your body will tell you when a front carries are no longer a fit and it is time for just back carries. That might be four months in for some women, seven months for others, and sooner or later for still others.

Here are some of my preferences for back wrapping:  a rucksack carry works well because it means there is no fabric across my belly, save for the knot, which I like to tie above my bump. I don’t find tying tietbetan comfortable, but other moms find that a great way to avoid uncomfortable pressure across the belly and to keep the knot away from the belly. I go with trying in the back or on the side to keep the knot from irritating me. Jordan’s Back Carry is another one that has ruck straps and avoids any pressure on the belly. My feelings on the double-hammock (DH) have varied. When I was nauseous, I couldn’t stand the pass that comes across the front and I stopped using the DH. At other times, I loved the supportiveness of the DH for my back, but loathed the way it felt across my belly, so I would place the front pass just across my chest versus over my whole torso. Very late in pregnancy, some days I really like for that front pass to go spread from top of my chest to bottom of my belly because it gives the belly a bit of snug support.

Each day, each wear, I go into wrapping ready to listen to my body—that goes for both picking a way to carry plus how long I will keep my son wrapped. Now that I am mere days from 40 weeks of pregnancy, I can only manage wearing my son for a few minutes at a time. But, I love that my months of “endurance training” have rendered me strong enough to respond when he asks to get on mommy’s back.  He may not be the youngest baby anymore, but he is still my baby. Through these moments, I can keep relating to my son in a way that has been treasured by us both since he was born.

Posted by Pamm

1 comment:

  1. Amazing useful post! A book you might want to look into is The No Cry Sleep Solution by Elizabeth Pantly. It is very balanced and gentle and there is plenty of room to adapt it to your own personal needs and preferences. You can read more about it here . Thanks!