Sunday, September 16, 2012

Wearing a Newborn

When T and I went to our Bradley classes for Devon, as soon as we heard about babywearing, we knew we wanted to do it. Especially when about half way through our classes, we found out he’d be leaving soon after birth. Our instructor loved the moby, but also insisted that there was something for everyone and to look up a local babywearing group. I found one on google, and started stalking their yahoo group and watching the meeting schedule. I hadn’t picked a carrier yet, but was given a pouch and one of the old infantino SSCs from a friend who tried them and didn’t like them. When Devon was born, T and my mom were able to wear her immediately, in the pouch, and while neither were huge fans of it, it worked for the time. It was too big for me, and we didn’t go to a local meeting until she was almost 6 weeks old, just because the first one was two weeks after she was born, and right after T and my mom left, so we just stayed home. Luckily for me, no one judged me that I brought my sleeping baby inside in a carseat, and one of the women there owns a shop, so she had a whole variety of things for me to try. I tried Devon in a RingSling, which was awesome, but really fell in love with a wrap. The first time I wrapped Devon by myself was right before our flight home, and she was 7 weeks old.
Which, while she was still tiny at that point (less than 10 lbs, probably 8-9?), was NOTHING like wrapping this:
Piper was 5’12 at birth, 18 inches long, and Devon was 6’11, 20.25 inches long. When we brought Piper home the first day, she was just barely over 5 lbs. Wrapping an itty bitty for the first time was a little intimidating, but awesome. I have worn Piper EVERY DAY since she was born. I’ve almost had to just to keep up with her big sister, but knowing what I do now I probably would have anyway. I’ve been amazed at how much wearing a newborn has improved our lives, and allowed for me to bond with Piper without having to sacrifice as much time with Devon. (To be honest, I think Dad is getting a little jealous :) I keep telling him he could wrap her, but he’s “not in to that”, and since she won’t fit in his ergo, he just holds and carries her a lot.) Devon has even learned to share some of her wraps!
Being able to wear Piper has helped a lot with more than just bonding, though. It was great for keeping her warm while in the hospital and giving her skin-to-skin time, which was a huge priority because she was so small and just barely past preemie status at 37+3. It has also helped with nursing, especially because newborns nurse a LOT, so being able to keep her close for easy and discreet access has been a life saver. I wore for her big sister’s birthday party the day we came home, and out for lunch at a restaurant the next day. It kept her warm, close to my heartbeat, and sheltered from the outside world while still letting me be up and in it.
At four days old I wore Piper to an interview and she slept through the whole thing. She stretched a few times though, and the physical therapist granting the interview was in absolute awe of her neck strength and head control. Wearing stimulates the vestibular system, helping the baby develop balance and trunk and head control. Because Piper was a little early, we’ve also had a little trouble with GI issues. Most have been cleared up by recognizing food allergies (which run in our family) but the leftover issues both during the transition and as a result of her being a little early are greatly improved by her being vertical during and after eating, and babywearing has made that possible.
The other bonus of babywearing a newborn that I wish I’d known about with my first daughter is water slings. I can wear Piper in the shower in a water proof wrap and help her younger sister shower, shower myself, and shower Piper without having to use a tub, a separate sink, or worry about her slipping or getting dropped. She is slowly moving from legs in to legs out, but I leave it up to her at this point.They can also be used for pools, the ocean, etc, but I didn’t get one for Devon until she was much bigger.
  It was definitely an adjustment after getting used to wearing two year old (ahh!) all the time, but we have loved every minute of it. Devon has even begged me to let her wear her sister, but we’ve had to tell her not yet. Maybe when they’re both bigger, or maybe the next one 
Posted by Kit

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