Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Babywearing Triplets: Preemie Problems

Welcome to my first of many recurring blogs on babywearing triplets. My name is Carolyn and I gave birth to spontaneous triplets (!) recently. (Yes, that means they were totally natural and a big fat surprise). Oh yeah, and I also have a 5yr old and 2 year old. I’ve been a babywearer for many years and was sure I could handle this new challenge with lots of babywearing, but so far life has been more complicated than I’d hoped.
My babes (2 girls and a boy) were born at 34 weeks and because of that were in the NICU for a little while. I found out right away that there would be lots of obstacles between my babies and me. They could only nurse a little because they tired out too much. They were also attached to wires which made it difficult to maneuver with them. Lastly, of course, there were three of them, which had me rotating from baby to baby.

After 10 days we had S home, and 2 days later R was home. Great news! Unfortunately they were both on apnea monitors. This was wonderful for my sanity, because I knew they were breathing, but not great for babywearing. The leads pulled on the carriers and it was hard to carry around the monitor wherever I went and sort of defeated some of the purpose of babywearing (which is being able to get things done and play with the big kids.) I found myself putting my babies down much more than I ever thought I would. I held my first born all the time and wore my second child around the clock, so putting children down is strange to me.

I did find some opportunities to wear them, and even wore both girls in a Moby once. It was awkward, and they got too big for it quickly.  I found a ring sling great for wearing one and was able to tuck part of the monitor leads into the sling which kept it from pulling on the ring sling too much. Even at 4 pounds the ring sling was a perfect fit.
During really fussy times at night I did wear 2 in two separate mei tais. It looks like they are on top of each other in the picture, but really one is more on my left and one more on my right. Keep in mind that they are used to being pressed up against each other. I did have to put a receiving blanket in between the girls to make sure they didn’t bonk heads.

The best thing for us has been mei tais. My husband finds them easy to use and we are constantly switching which baby is being worn and which baby is in a swing or bouncy seat so a mei tai is good for quick ins and outs. I have also had a few requests to be worn from my 2 year old, and the mei tai is still perfect for him on my back.

So far, I have been a little disappointed that I haven’t worn them constantly, or worn two or even three, on a regular basis, but we have been plagued with unwieldy monitors, reflux, and other preemie problems. I have not been comfortable putting them on my back due to their small size and previous breathing problems. I look forward to them getting a little bigger and being off the monitors because we feel a bit trapped in one 10 foot radius these days.

Next blog: The girls are off the monitors and my determination to make Christmas normal

Friday, December 17, 2010

Winter Babywearing

The past few meetings, we've had a few questions about winter babywearing. One of the biggest questions is how to get baby in/out of the car when following the recommendation against wearing heavy coats. If you don't know why they shouldn't wear heavy coats/snowsuits in the carseat, read about it here. So, in this video, I give some examples of the kinds of clothes I dressed my newborn and now older baby in to keep her warm when going to/from the car. I often hear, "how do I wrap in the winter?" I show how to pre-wrap before leaving the house. Then your coat goes on over the whole thing and you can pop baby in and out. I show a woven wrap doing a Front Cross Carry (FCC). This same pre-tied technique can be done with a stretchy wrap using a pocket wrap cross carry (PWCC) or Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC). You could also do a front carry with a ring sling in this same way. Mei Tais and Soft Structure carriers generally don't lend themselves to this technique, however, I did have success doing it with a Beco Butterfly because of it's unique design.

In the video I demonstrate using a babywearing coat. There are many brands and styles of babywearing coat if you are interested in investing in one. If not, for front carries, a coat that is just too big for you will work. Some also find success with an add-on cover for the carrier. For back carries, a babywearing coat can be made using DIY instructions, or you could pick up a cheap oversized fleece coat from a thrift store and cut a hole for baby's head. A few members have gotten as far as investing in a babywearing coat, but then are stumped on how to put it on or take it off. Hopefully this video will help a bit with some of the logistics of winter wearing.

Enjoy babywearing with your little one this winter. It's a great way to keep BOTH of you warm.