Wear your baby

Wear your baby


Wear your baby

Wearing your baby enhances your connect with the little one. Dr Prashanth Urs tells you how to get the technique right

A  woman experiences numerous changes in her mind and body when she becomes a mother. Unless aware about the best ways to connect with the baby, it becomes a tedious task for women to work towards a healthy motherhood. Many mothers worry about managing their babies when they cry or get restless when they are left alone on the bed. One of the easy solutions for this problem is babywearing.

Wearing your baby enhances your connect with the baby. It helps the mother get acquainted to her baby’s cues and signals and understand her child’s need. This builds a strong bond between the mother and the child. Being a mother, it’s very important to know everything that you need to do or choose to make your baby comfortable and happy, especially when it comes to babywearing.

Carrying your little one

Baby carriers, baby slings and baby backpacks are different types of equipment for carrying your baby on your chest or back. Baby carriers are soft padded carriers that you wear on your front. Some have adjustable options so you can wear your baby on your back or hip. Baby slings are usually worn across your front in various positions. Your baby can face in or out, or s/he can be in a peapod position, wrapped around or across your body.

Baby backpacks usually have rigid frames. You wear them only on your back. They’re suitable for older babies and toddlers who can hold up their heads.

Carrying your baby in a baby carrier, sling or backpack gives you the advantage of having your hands free and most babies like being able to see the world from up high. If you use them the right way, they’re safe and practical ways to get around with your baby.

Counting the benefits

* Baby tends to be calmer: When the baby is carried, s/he can feel the mother’s rhythmic walk which s/he has experienced in the mother’s womb.

Babies tend to cry less and stay calmas they can hear and concentrate on the mother’s heartbeats.

* Baby learns more: When babies are calm, their focus on the environment enhances and they tend to learn more. Sling babies are more in a state of quiet alertness. In such a behavioural state, they gain the ability to interact with their environment. They also gets a 180-degree view of their environment and start scanning the world and observe activities that interest them.

* Better emotional, intellectual and physiological functioning: When you wear your baby, the baby’s gestation period increases to 18 months – nine months inside the womb and another nine months outside. The environment in the womb automatically regulates the baby’s systems and once the baby is born, there is a disruption in this process. When the baby connects with the mother, it has an inherent urge to get in sync with the new environment. When the baby is left with his/her own resources, without the regulating presence of the mother, the infant may develop disorganised patterns such as colicky cries, jerky movements, self-rocking behaviours, anxious thumb sucking, irregular breathing and disturbed sleep. The infant who is forced to self-calm tends to waste valuable energy that could be used to grow and develop.

* Better observation towards the care -giver: Baby wearing improves the baby’s learning skills. Through this practice, the baby sees what the mother or father sees, listens to what they hear and in some way feels what they feel. Carried babies become more aware of their parents faces, walking rhythms and scents. They become aware and learn from all the subtle facial expressions, body language, voice inflections and tones, breathing patterns and emotions of the caregiver.

And when you’re choosing baby carriers, it’s important to look for one that:

* allows healthy hip positioning for your baby
* is safe to use
* is comfortable for you to wear.

Healthy hip positioning is important to encourage normal hip development in babies and reduce the risk of developmental dysplasia of the hip. Your baby’s hips should be allowed to spread apart, the thighs should be supported and the hips bent.

Babies can be at risk of suffocation if they’re not correctly put into baby slings. This is because young babies can’t move if they’re in a dangerous position that is blocking their airways. The two dangerous positions are when your baby is:

* lying in the sling with a curved back with chin resting on chest
* lying with his/her face pressed into your body or the fabric of the sling

Doing it right

Here’s how to safely position your baby in a sling, plus what not to do. The T.I.C.K.S. rule can help you remember how to get it right.

* Tight: The sling should be tight, with the baby positioned high and upright with head support. Any loose fabric might cause your baby to slump, which could restrict breathing.

* In view at all times: You should always be able to see your baby’s face by simply looking down. Ensure your baby’s face, nose and mouth remain uncovered by the sling and/or your body.

* Close enough to kiss: Your baby should be close enough to your chin that by tipping his head forward you can easily kiss his/her head.

* Keep chin off the chest: Ensure your baby’s chin is up and away from her body. Your baby should never be curled so that the chin is forced onto the chest. This can restrict breathing. Regularly check on your baby. Babies can be in distress without making any noise or movement.

* Supported back: Your baby’s back should be supported in a natural position with tummy and chest against you. When bending over, support your baby with one hand behind his/her back. Bend at the knees, not at the waist.  

 (The author is director, newborn and pediatric services, Apollo Cradle, Bengaluru)