Monday, May 4, 2015

Wearing Through Chronic Pain

Over the last 3.5 years, I've lived with two conditions that have caused me quite a bit of pain. The
first, Hidradenitis Supperativa, caused me to have a wound under my arm for 3 years that just
wouldn't heal. I also suffered with chronic back pain and pelvic pain from my third pregnancy and
birth in three years. I have always worn my babies, but over the last year it got to be considerably
harder. I had to improvise a lot to find carries that were supportive enough for my back but
wouldn't put pressure on my underarms. Some people might say, “why not just use a stroller?”
There is nothing wrong with using a stroller. We do that, too! However, babies want to be close
to their parents, and their parents often want to keep them close. Keep in mind, too, that many of
us that have back pain have a harder time with holding our baby in arms than we do with using a
baby carrier.
These are a few of the things that I learned while wearing with chronic pain over the last few
years. Remember that every person's situation is different. What worked for me may not work for
1. There weren't very many wrap carries that didn't put pressure under my arms. I loved double
hammock for my back, but the ruck straps really hurt after a few minutes.
2. Every SSC fits differently. This was a really good thing for me. The thing that worked best for
me was to find SSCs that allowed the straps to cross. While these carriers were originally intended
to be worn with the strapped cross for a front carry, I found that I could do the same for a back
carry. Onya and O&A carriers are examples of SSCs with straight straps that are easily crossed. I
also really like Blue­Kangaroo. These SSCs have straps that are designed to rub your underarms
less than other SSCs.
3. Mei tais and half­buckles with wrap straps. I have a Bamberoo half­buckle with wrap straps.
The SSC waist supported the baby really well. I was able to cross the straps to minimize underarm
rub. The wrap straps gave me extra support since I wasn't able to tie tibetan, which is my favorite
way of tying mei tai straps. You don't have to spend an arm and a leg to get a mei tai or half
buckle with wrap straps, several wrap manufacturers make them these days.

4. It's okay to use a stroller or just sit down and enjoy your baby if the pain is too much. There
were some days when all I could do was just hold my baby in arms. That's okay!
If you have special situations like chronic pain, it's a great idea to reach out to your local
Babywearing International VBEs (Volunteer Babywearing Educators) to see if they have any
suggestions. Even if they don't have an answer right away, they have access to a large network of
babywearing educators that may be able to help you with your current situation. Remember:
sometimes you may not be able to wear your baby as much as you would like while you are in the
middle of a pain flare. It's okay to take breaks and hold your baby or do whatever you need to do
to make things work for your family.

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