If you have been a reader of The Diaper Bag Confessions for a while, if you follow me on Instagram, or perhaps know me from my days as a babywearing group admin on Facebook — you know I am an avid babywearer. When you have five kids, you’ll do anything you can to free up a hand or two.. but especially when you have kids with special needs. I always wore my babies. It allowed me to shop easier, vacation simpler, and even do chores more efficiently. I really delved into it, though, when our 3rd baby was born and had physical impairments that delayed a lot of milestones. (He was hypotonic and had a muscle fatigue syndrome.) Babywearing became my “thing” very quickly. It is something I am passionate about, and it’s something I do well. (Have a fit question? Feel free to message me!)
With our two youngest kids, babywearing became a tool beyond just freeing up hands. It assisted with bonding in the most amazing way. Skin to skin time was crucial. One of the best ways to help a baby thrive early on is skin to skin time. Wrapping was my favorite way to facilitate this practice as much as possible. (The stretchy wrap pictured is the LÍLLÉbaby Tie-the-knot wrap) Even through the most basic activities. My woven ring sling was the best carrier when our baby was too small for other carriers. (Pictured is the Tekhni Wovens Adelphi Gothic Wrap Conversion Ring Sling) It allowed me to wear him close and safe. I will note.. I sought out the advice and safety opinions for wearing from the hospital staff before bringing our low birthweight baby home, as well as our pediatrician. This is important if you want to wear a baby that is small and especially if baby is a preemie. There are safety concerns you need to be mindful of.
Along with skin to skin, another benefit of wearing babies — especially newborns and medically fragile babies — comes the ability to help shield them from the affects of cold and flu season. I love the clip up neck support on the LÍLLÉbaby Complete (Pictured below! *aff link*) especially for this!! It puts a nice shield, of sorts, around baby’s head. This stops (most) people, especially strangers, from attempting to touch baby or get in their face. A nice little buffer. We almost always wear at the grocery store and the doctors office mostly for this reason!
Wearing baby also provides a safe space. It doesn’t take long for baby to realize the comfort and security of being worn against mom or dad’s body. Crowded places, loud and chaotic surroundings.. even family gatherings when you don’t want baby passed around. Baby is snuggled up to you and calmed from the chaos around them.
When doctors starting altering our baby’s diet, I found myself leaning on my carriers even more than I did before. Playing with his diet meant one huge thing for me — He was suddenly breastfeeding less than he was used to, and not nearly as much as I would have preferred. (It also resulted in an abrupt halt to our nursing journey in the end..) I longed for those snuggles. I found myself hooked up to a breast pump multiple times per day, mixing bottles frequently, and just getting frustrated. I wanted to feel that closeness that we had when we were nursing. Babywearing. Cheek to chest. Sleepy snuggles. Was it the same? No.. I can’t even pretend it was the same thing.. but I was something we were both needing. Craving, even. That bond never broke.
Then came our time in the hospital. I wore him throughout our stay. The staff was very supportive of it, complimenting me for my choice. One of the doctors even did her entire morning exam while he was in the carrier. As she walked in the room I said “Oh! I can take him out for you.” With a smile on her face she said “No. You leave him right there where he’s comfortable. There isn’t anything I need to do that requires him to be out, so you just leave him where he is.” Heart melted. You see, his world had just been rocked upside down. he now had a tube in his nose. His feedings were all clinical. It gave him what he was familiar with. He would lay his head down on my chest and quickly fall asleep. If you find yourself in the hospital with your infant or toddler, ask the staff if wearing is a possibility for you!
As the weeks with his tube progressed and our new normal began to shape, babywearing was our constant. His wraps. His SSC’s, his ring sling. His happy place. It also greatly helped me keep his graspy little fingers away from his tube. If you can’t reach it, you can’t pull it out.
Babywearing has given me so much. It has given me a passion, made my life easier as a mom of five, allowed me to continue the physical bond with my baby through his medical challenges, and helped keep my kids safe, healthy and comforted. For that, I feel blessed. I enjoy using my experience to help other parents. Embrace your circumstances and explore how wearing your baby can help you and your little one.