The fourth trimester refers to the first 3 (or so) months after your baby’s birth where many of the physical, psychological, emotional, and social effects of being in utero should continue for the infant to ensure a smooth transition into this big wide world. Babywearing, safe co sleeping and demand breastfeeding are all tools that can assist caregivers in creating a fourth trimester and reduce the stress of common issues that parents usually face in the first few months.
Babywearing is the practice of keeping your infant, baby or toddler close and connected to you as you engage in daily activities through the use of one of a variety of types of baby carriers. It is a traditional practice in many cultures and has many benefits for both children and their caregivers. Newborn infants are classified as a “parent clinger” or tragling, which is basically an offspring that is not able to function without a caretaker and needs to be in close body contact with their caretaker to feel safe. Baby wearing helps modern day parents achieve the biological norm of keeping their baby close and can assist in the transition to extrauterine life by recreating a womb like environment.
|Dark||Light, colourful and bright||Can use hood to create darkness, and baby can turn away from stimuli and snuggle in if overwhelmed|
|Muffled sounds||Loud unfamiliar noise||Able to muffle sounds with hood|
|Constant warm temp||Fluctuating temp||Skin to skin- mother temp with adjust to regulate baby’s|
|Constant nutrition||Hunger and thirst felt||Easy access to breast, reduction of missed feeding cues, demand feeding possible|
|Confined space||Lots of space||Snug in wrap or carrier, reduction of moro reflex|
|Taste and smell of amniotic fluid||A lot of different smells||Can smell caregiver and milk|
|Constantly with mother||Reduced contact, left alone||Hands free cuddles, skin to skin contact|
|Surrounding is warm and soft||Many cold and hard surroundings||Warm and soft surroundings|
Benefits of Babywearing
- Babies are happier- a study found that 6-week-olds who were worn in a carrier/sling cried 43% less than other children!
- Convenient- Walk around freely without having to worry about negotiating elevators, escalators, steps, crowds or narrow aisles with a pram.
- Increase breastfeeding success- Able to be skin to skin easily which can increase milk supply. Ability to demand feed, which can maintain supply. A sling, wrap or carrier can block out excess stimuli for older babies who may be fussy when feeding and can even allow for ‘discreet’ nursing for those wanting it. Hands free, on the go feeding can also be perfect for subsequent baby’s, when there isn’t time for long leisurely feeds as there are other siblings to attend to.
- Great for travelling- Able to use on public transport, no need to take prams etc. as baby can sit, sleep and eat in the carrier.
- Hands free- for typing, writing, shopping, eating, and playing with siblings!!
- Promotes baby’s physical development- The stimulation experienced when being worn helps a baby to regulate their own physical responses to stimuli, they are able to see non verbal communication, have their cues read easier and it even exercises their vestibular system which controls balance. Baby wearing can also help prevent plagiocephaly (flat head syndrome).
- Healthy for you! You can easily exercise when baby wearing (walking, bush walking, kanga training, personal training) and loose any extra weight you may have put on during pregnancy. A happy baby also can improve your mood, increase your confidence and reduce the risk of developing PND.
- Helps you and your baby to bond and communicate with each other- Able to read babies cues, gestures and facial expressions.
- Other caregivers such as fathers and grandparents are also able to experience the baby wearing benefits.
- Safety- Baby wearing not only ensures physical safety of your baby (crowded or dangerous places, can monitor breathing etc.) but also emotional safety.
- Cost effective and environmentally friendly- there is a carrier or sling to suit any budget
Basic baby wearing options available:
- Check the integrity of your carrier, wrap, sling before you use it. Do not use if has any damage.
- Ensure that baby’s airway is not blocked. Ensure that baby’s head is facing to the side and that the chin is not tucked into the chest. Do not place blankets over your babies head, use only shade hood provided.
- Check baby’s temperature on the torso, not extremities. Remove some layers if baby is too hot or add some layers if baby is too cold. Remember that your carrier is considered a layer of clothing.
- Don’t do anything that would put your baby in danger while wearing her such a driving, cycling or drinking boiling hot drinks while wearing
- Ensure you are using an ergonomic carrier or sling to ensure healthy hip positioning – SMLHealthy hip positioning for all babies is recommended to encourage normal hip development. After birth, it takes several months for the hip joints to stretch out naturally. The International Hip Dysplasia Institute state that the healthiest position for development of the hips is for the hips to fall or spread (naturally) apart to the side, with the thighs supported and the hips and knees bent. This position if usually referred to as the ‘M’ position. Check out: http://hipdysplasia.org/developmental-dysplasia-of-the-hip/prevention/baby-carriers-seats-and-other-equipment/ for a great visual guide to positioning.
Ergobaby Adapt Review
The Ergobaby Adapt is an easy to use, 3 position, soft structured carrier that doesn’t require a newborn infant insert. It uses a unique Velcro tab system to alter both the width and height of the carrier to suit squishy newborns to toddlers who refuse to walk any further. The ability to set the seat width ensures your child is always in an ergonomic position (the M- shape) and they’ve even added a cushioned head and neck support that you can adjust to suit the baby’s age, stage and development. The waistband has added lumber support and the shoulder straps are appropriately padded without being bulky to ensure extreme comfort for the wearer, distributing the weight perfectly over the torso. Both are highly adjustable and you can even cross the straps, making sharing a carrier between caretakers super easy. The “cool air” addition has 3D-AirMesh panels, a moisture-wicking mesh lining and a wide SPF 50 + sun hood making it great for any adventure. I stayed cool on long walks, could cover baby from the elements (and prying fingers) and feed ‘discreetly’ on the go. The ergo Adapt enabled me to continue in all my toddlers daily activities (little kickers, gym, kindy drop off) hands free. I knew my baby was safe, I wouldn’t miss any feeding cues and I could still keep my toddler happy.. Ish most of the day. Retailing at $229 and with no need for an additional infant insert makes the carrier very cost effective.
Have a look at the ergo range at: http://www.babesinarms.com.au/ergobaby