Friday, November 18, 2011

Falling In Love: An Adoption Story

Tomorrow is National Adoption Day!  Today we have a guest blogger to share with us some of the benefits of babywearing with an adopted child.

I use to be that mom.  The mom that would carry her infant around in a ridiculously heavy car seat, because for some reason in my mind it seemed easier than holding a tiny baby.  Looking back now, I realize the logic in that was missing.  But considering it was my first child I guess I still had a lot to learn.

With my oldest son after discovering the practical side of babywearing
When my next baby came along, it seemed I didn’t have enough hands anymore.  This led to my discovery of babywearing.  At this point I didn’t have a love for babywearing.  I had a NEED for it.  If I had one child strapped to me, that meant I had both hands free to wrangle my then 3 year old daughter.  Even better, I could strap my baby boy, Micah, to my back and even PICK UP my daughter.  It was a convenient easy option to keeping my kids safe and nearby.

Immediately after my son Micah was born, we started the process to adopt a baby boy from Korea.  We were told the adoption process would take about 2 years.  Well, God had other plans, because 10 months after our very first interview our teeny tiny 4 month old Korean baby was in our arms.  What a blessing.  But boy was my world about to be ROCKED!
Coming home with our new baby, a carrier in the background

During those 10 months of waiting, I did a LOT of reading, a lot of blog posting, and lots of question asking on adoption forums.  I learned all about bonding and attachment, and the importance of keeping your newly adopted baby as close as possible.  After all, I would be bringing home a baby who had never been near me or my family, had never seen “white” faces, and had never heard our language.  Everything around him would look, smell, sound, and taste different.  At this point, the need for babywearing changed drastically.

From the moment our new son Arie was placed in our arms, I kept him as close to me as possible.  If he wasn’t in my arms, he was strapped to my chest.  I no longer looked at babywearing as simply a way to make life easier.  Now it was a way to help me and my baby fall in love with each other.  With him on my chest, he could hear my heart beating, feel my breath, hear my voice, and smell my scent.  These were all things that my biological children were able to do while in my belly and immediately after birth.  But in Arie’s eyes, I was a stranger.  So we had a lot of bonding to catch up on.

Arie still likes to be worn as a big kid!
During the next two years, I became a pro at babywearing. Since my boys were only 12 months apart, I often had one strapped on my right hip, and the other popped up on my Left.  My boys would bicker over who would be in the carrier, and occasionally I would just tie them both to me!  Although Micah enjoyed it, Arie lived for it.  He would sleep, play, eat, and socialize with his siblings while I wore him.  Arie also has special needs, and one of his issues is sensory processing disorder.  He would get himself so worked up that he couldn’t calm down.  The only thing that would sooth him was to put him on me in a carrier.   The compression of the carrier, accompanied with the warmth and movement of being tied to my chest, would immediately relax him.  It was amazing.
Arie is a happy member of our family

Arie quickly became attached to both me and my husband.  Keeping him physically close helped our bond strengthen.  I loved having him near my heart, and he loved being there.  I have learned throughout the years that although babywearing is practical and convenient, it can also be magical.  It helped the love grow between us and our adopted son, and it brought us closer in more ways than one.  

Our first photo of our family of 6!

Arie is now a 32 pound 5 year old.  He still occasionally asks to be worn in the carrier, and I happily oblige (but only in the house!).  I have since had another baby, and this time around I was able to appreciate ALL the benefits of babywearing.  But I could still use a few more hands….

 Posted by Ryan

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Getting a "Good Seat"

Sorry, if you were hoping to find out how to get front row seats  for the next big show at the Kennedy Center, you've come to the wrong place.  However, if you have a baby and a carrier, I might just have the advice you need!

Recently I've helped several mamas at meeting with carriers they are not finding comfortable, and I make one minor adjustment and suddenly they say, "WOW, that fixed it!"  So, I'm going to show you how to make that adjustment yourself.

Your initial carry might be safe in that baby isn't falling out.  It might look something like this:

Notice the carrier is low on the baby's back, there is fabric bunched under baby's bottom.  This will eventually pull on your shoulders and make you uncomfortable.

There are a few things you can do to fix this. 

1. Instead of pulling the carrier over baby from the top, instead smooth the carrier up over baby's bottom before pulling the straps over your shoulders, like so:

2. Bounce the baby down while holding the straps STRAIGHT up.  This is harder to accomplish in an SSC, but notice I'm reaching over my shoulder and pulling up from there.  When I say bounce, I do mean bounce.  We aren't talking feet off the ground jump, but bounce like you mean it.

See the huge difference in how high the carrier comes on her back?  And how she is settled into the seat?  Those will make all of you more comfortable with your positioning.  Happy babywearing!