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The Benefits of Babywearing

Tuesday, December 13th, 2011

Practicality & Benefits of Babywearing

Babywearing allows the wearer to have two free hands to accomplish tasks such as laundry while caring for the baby’s need to be held or breastfed. Babywearing offers a safer alternative to placing a car seat on top of a shopping cart. It also allows children to be involved in social interactions and to see their surroundings as an adult would.
In general, when wearing a baby it is important to stay attentive to the baby’s interaction with the environment. Parents need a little more space to turn around to avoid bumping the baby into counters and doorways. Babies on the back may be able to reach things that the wearer cannot see. Carriers must be fit snugly and properly to avoid discomfort and promote safety and it is generally recommended with most carriers to avoid wearing an uncooperative child on the back. Babywearing can improve safety, especially in crowded areas such as airports, by keeping a child who might otherwise be able to run into a crowd safely attached to the parent. This also allows for you and your family to spend time in locations that might otherwise not be small child “friendly” and allows these younger ones to be exposed to a variety of learning experiences; for example, hiking or trail walking and crowded festivals or kids museums.

Many sling users have found that it is easier on the back and shoulders than carrying their infant in a car seat or pushing a stroller through uneven terrain or crowds as the weight of the child is spread more evenly across the upper body and no bending is required.

Several sources express concern that carriers which put all of a baby’s weight on a narrow band of fabric at the crotch may cause problems with spinal growth, and advocate carriers which disperse most of the infant’s weight between the hips and thighs so it is important to shop for options when finding a carrier. Several types of carriers allow for proper weight distribution such as wraps, “soft” carriers (ex: Ergo style or Asian style Carriers), or pouches. These types of carriers allow for the child’s knees and thighs to be used for additional weight distribution and security.

Researchers have found that the close physical contact with the parent can help to stabilize an infant’s heartbeat, temperature, and breathing. Especially, preterm infants often have difficulty coordinating their breathing and heart rate. Researchers also have found that mothers who use kangaroo care (carrying the infant close to the skin) often have more success with breastfeeding and improve their milk supply. Further, researchers have found that preterm infants who experience kangaroo care have longer periods of sleep, gain more weight, decrease their crying, have longer periods of alertness, an earlier hospital discharge.

Simple Safety Tips

• Practice before you begin. Try your baby carrier with a helper or large doll or baby-sized sack of potatoes and practice bending (bend your knees), moving through doorways (watch out for his “head”!), quick movements and getting the “baby” in and out.

• When you start wearing your baby, support her with your arm until you are confident.

• Learn to wear your baby carrier properly and get it really comfortable. This is important for your body and for your baby’s safety.

• Swap positions. Change positions or swap shoulders regularly (perhaps each time you wear your baby). The sooner you start doing this, the easier it will be. Your baby might appreciate changing positions, especially if you are wearing them for long periods and you will stay balanced.

• Continue to support your baby whenever you bend over and bend from the knees!

• Gradually build up your endurance. This happens naturally if your baby is still small. If you are starting out with an older baby, try a few short sessions each day rather than one long one. Gradually increase the duration as your muscles adjust.

• Check the seams, buckles and straps regularly.

• Beware of what you put in the carrier with the baby. This is particularly important while your baby is young: keys, wallets, handkerchiefs can become hazards when they jiggle around and end up near your baby’s face or poke into delicate flesh. Many baby carriers have built-in pockets to help contain these items.

Some Claimed benefits of Babywearing include:

• Mothers’ progesterone (the “mothering hormone”) is increased through physical contact with the infant, leading to a more intimate bond, and easier breastfeeding, thus lowering the incidence of postpartum depression.

• Infants who are carried tend to be calmer because all of their primal/survival needs are met. The caregiver can be seen, heard, smelled, touched, tasted, provide feeding and the motion necessary for continuing neural development, gastrointestinal and respiratory health and to establish vestibular balance and muscle tone is constant.

• Decreases risk of positional plagiocephaly (”flat head syndrome”) caused by extended time spent in a car seat and by sleeping on the back (supine position). Sleeping on the back is recommended to decrease the risk of SIDS. Concern over plagiocephaly has also led the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend that infants “should spend minimal time in car seats (when not a passenger in a vehicle) or other seating that maintains supine positioning. None of the babywearing positions require infants to lie supine while being carried

• Wearing your baby promotes their physical development. When your baby rides in a sling attached to your body, they are in tune with the rhythm of your breathing, the sound of your heartbeat, and the movements you make – walking, bending, and reaching. This stimulation helps them regulate their own physical responses, and also exercises their vestibular system, which controls balance. The sling is in essence a “transitional womb” for the new baby, who has difficulty controlling their bodily functions and movements. Premature babies who are touched and held gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who are not. Also carried babies are closer to people and can study facial expressions and be familiar with body language. Mechanical swings and other holding devices do not provide these same benefits.

This article provided by Donna Hedgepeth of Keystone Chiropractics. Donna specializes in pregnancy, babies, and children. Call her today for a consultation at 919-851-1010.

Donna will be at SmartMomma on January 31st at 12:30 pm for a FREE seminar on babywearing. Please sign up today to join us!

Copyright Keystone Chiropractic 2011

Motherhood, Pregnancy, and the Future

Wednesday, August 10th, 2011

Hello fellow moms and moms-to-be.  I haven’t blogged in a while, but I’ve been so busy running a store and being pregnant, I have forgotten to write.  So just wanted to share some late night thoughts and reflections about life, motherhood, and just being present.

So for those that don’t know, I have two boys, just turned 5 and 8.  Seems crazy to think I have an eight-year old.  I remember moving into this neighborhood when I was pregnant with Dillon.  The neighbors had children from 3 to 9, and I remember thinking how far apart we were in life.  Now I realize we were not so far apart at all.  After having children, your life speeds up exponentially.  Is it because you are busier, and thus time flies?  Or is it because you are older?  I think the former is true.

Once you are caught up in bathing, feeding, dressing, teaching, cleaning, and nurturing your child, the months just fly by.  The first sense of this comes the first time you have to put away your baby’s newborn clothes that he has outgrown, and you think, “Oh, he’s growing too fast.”  Before you know it, you have a second grader coming home to you, doing “armpit farts” and laughing hysterically at your “OMG” reaction.  Just wait!  It will happen to you sooner or later.

So after giving away all of our baby stuff, imagine our surprise when we find out we are pregnant again last April.  I must say that I was perhaps a bit pleasantly surprised.  I found myself excited and a bit apprehensive.  Will this one be a boy too?  Or dare I say a little girl that I have always wanted?

As time passed, I talked myself into thinking this was another boy, and surprisingly, I was very content with this possibility.  I love my boys dearly, and to me, there is nothing sweeter than another little baby boy.  So as the weeks have passed, we even picked out a name for our new son, “Luke”.  Funny enough, no girl names appealed to us.  My relatives told me I was going to have a girl, but I just laughed them off, and said, “No, no.  It will be another boy.”

So last week, we went to have the ultrasound done, and I brought my boys, DIllon, Peyton, and my husband BIll.  It took the tech about 15 minutes to get a clear shot, as we really have an active little one who did not want to stay still.  Finally, she said she got a clear shot.  She said, “Are you ready?” and I looked and knew already, but didn’t dare say it out loud.  There was something missing from this picture that I normally see, and my boys were not shy with their ultrasounds.  As soon as shy typed the “G”, tears sprang to my eyes.  “It’s a girl!”  I was so excited, as my dream nursery sprung to my mind.  Then the thoughts of all the future tea parties, barbie doll playing, dressing up and painting our nails together, going shopping, and just doing girl stuff popped in my mind.

As soon as the excitement wore off a little bit, that’s when I thought of all the responsibility being a mom to a girl will be.  I have to make sure she turns out to be a confident, smart, happy, and independent woman.  I am her role model.  I would rather her rescue the prince than be rescued.  Sure I’ll let her play princess, but I will always remind her that she must rescue herself.  She must take control of her own life to surely be happy.

Having a girl makes me nervous, but at least I don’t have to make the circumcision decision.  Am I right?

Smartmomma.com gives an overview of Pocket Diapers

Thursday, May 12th, 2011

Heather from Smartmomma goes gives an overview of Pocket Diapers. Rumparooz One Size Diapers, Fuzzi Bunz One Size Pocket Diapers, and bumGenius 4.0 One Size Cloth Diapers are discussed.

Heather from Smartmomma goes over All In One Cloth Diapers

Friday, April 29th, 2011

Heather talks about the features and benefits of All In One Cloth Diapers. Bum Genius Organic One Size All In One Diapers and Bummis Easy Fit Diapers are discussed.

Heather from Smartmomma reviews the Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack!

Thursday, April 28th, 2011

Heather goes over the various features of the Petunia Pickle Bottom Boxy Backpack diaper bag.

Heather talks about the secrets of Cloth Diapers and Poop

Friday, April 22nd, 2011

Heather from Smartmomma discusses the use of diaper liners and diaper sprayers, which make dealing with poop and cloth diapers much easier!

Caring for your Cloth Diapers

Thursday, April 21st, 2011

Heather from Smartmomma reviews how to care for your cloth diapers. Reusable pail liners, diaper sprayers, odor removers, and cloth diaper detergent are discussed.

Heather from Smartmomma talks about the Skip Hop Bento Ultimate Diaper Bag

Thursday, April 14th, 2011

Heather from Smartmomma reviews the new Skip Hop Bento Ultimate Diaper Bag!

Heather from Smartmomma gives an overview of the various types of Cloth Diapers

Tuesday, April 12th, 2011

Heather from Smartmomma gives an overview of the various types of cloth diapers, including all-in-one diapers, pocket diapers and prefold covers.

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