Last month some dear friends of ours welcomed their son 7 weeks early. Yes, that was no typo – SEVEN weeks early. Baby R has been in the hospital since his birthday on August 11. He was 3 pounds, 3 ounces when he was delivered but has been steadily growing ever since.
Our great friend Momma C started getting sick in the weeks leading up to his emergency delivery and she found out she had HELPP Syndrome; it’s a scary condition that affects less than 1% of pregnancies and stands for Hemolysis; Elevated Liver enzymes; Low Platelet count. I had never heard of this disease before and I wanted to do some research so I checked it out on Wikipedia.
HELPP Syndrome usually develops in the third trimester and the mothers often do not appear to be sick at all. Heartburn-like feelings, high blood pressure, nausea and vomiting as well as a general feeling of “something’s just not right” are some of the symptoms expecting mothers may feel but when you’re a first time mother, those symptoms are so generic you would never think you’re harbouring a condition that less than 1% of expectant mothers get! In Momma C’s case, she was slowly dying and the only way to save her and Baby R was to get him out right NOW; delivery of the baby is currently the only proven treatment for the disease.
Naturally, because these three have had a rough go so far (Daddy B too) I wanted to get them something that was going to assist with bringing Baby R home. I immediately thought of a baby sling and how much it would benefit him to be in one and his new parents to be wearing one.
There’s many different kinds of carriers you can get for your kidlets but my preference in this situation is the ring sling. While it’s something I could have sewn myself, I haven’t had much time for that lately so I checked around and found exactly what I was looking for on Etsy at the Little Bunga shop, excellent price, shipping was fast and the pattern selections are beautiful! It’s easy to throw on, it’s easy to load Baby R into, and it will get him in really close contact with his parents which will help to strengthen his bond with them even more. It’s not easy being ripped from the warm, cozy confides of a uterus 49 days earlier than expected. Think about it, it’s like getting shoved out of bed in the middle of the night into a snowstorm. #instantshock.
Babies that are delivered early are robbed of the final months of development that take place in the last trimester of pregnancy. They have to finish those weeks outside the womb, usually in the NICU of a hospital, where they are put into a manufactured environment that closely resembles the human body but still comes nowhere close to the real thing.
When babies are “worn” close to the skin, they are receiving extra warmth, feelings of security, additional respiratory stimulation (by listening to their parents breathe), they learn facial expressions and body language, and they’re enticed to feed more often which helps to aid in weight gain and development. It’s also a great benefit to the parents because when babies are held close, it raises oxytocin levels which helps increase breastmilk production and lower the risk of postpartum depression in Momma and it also strengthens the maternal/paternal bond in Mom and Dad both. However, once you’ve left the hospital and have baby home, it’s not always feasible to sit in the recliner with baby to your chest. In a perfect world, it would be done all day long but most people require their hands for tasks and this is where babywearing comes into play.
When parents adorn themselves with a carrier, daily tasks become so much easier. Two hands are free for laundry, food prep, grocery shopping, and even simple tasks that are no longer simple when you’re a new parent like tooth-brushing and hair-combing (don’t laugh, it’s true). If breastfeeding is the chosen method of food for baby, it can also be done while in the sling which accustoms baby to their environment and prepares them for coming weeks of growth while still nurturing them with the feeling of the womb.
I’ve just touched on a few of the major benefits of baby wearing but there’s so many more out there. It’s been done in many countries around the world for decades already but in the last ten years it’s also taken off rapidly in North America and coming up from October 5-11 it is going to be International Babywearing Week where it’s celebrated around the world. This years’ theme is “Share the Adventure”.
It’s a week-long event used to showcase and celebrate the many benefits of babywearing. Babywearing International has a great deal of information on the event if you’d like to read more about it and find out how to get involved directly.
For now, I’ll leave you with a photo of Baby R almost one month after his surprise delivery into our lives. He’s had his feeding tube taken out and is doing incredibly well. He’s up over 4 pounds already and I believe he’s days away from being released from the hospital. I wish I wasn’t a province away so I could help and cuddle him more easily!
Watch your mail my dear friends, your sling is on its way. ALL our love to you and your beautiful new family, give Baby R a big smooch for us, ❤ Kim.