During the last weekend of November 21 of us spent 4 days learning to teach babywearing. We had none other than the lovely Jay Mcmillin from Modern Babywearing who was brought by Soul Slings to Bangalore to teach us and the knowledge I gained personally as well as the lovely other educators I met left a lasting impression and was a meaningful few days.
I meet quite a few brand new moms thanks to my work. I can’t count the number of times that the tears start flowing when I talk to them about the power of touch, skin to skin, or give them the license to hold their babies as much as they can or doing something that comes naturally to them but have refrained from thanks to tons of counter intuitive advise.
Like everything to do with parenting, no babywearing is not THE solutions for ALL babies and all caregivers. There are exceptions to the rule. But by and by it can be a very important tool for the breastfeeding mother and the non-breastfeeding parent alike. It works like magic for many who have tried it. Babies calm down and sleep, babies remain in the quiet alert state for longer leading to optimal brain development, and babies right up there with the caregiver learn social nuances and language faster. Not to mention the sense of security ingrained into the very being of the baby in those formative months and years remain part of his psyche for a long time to come.
Case in point – my two boys.
Both are high needs and real mamma’s boys. With older son I tried doing things the ‘regular’ way. I tried to keep him in a separate sleeping space a lot. I tried feeding by the clock and not on demand, I tried not holding too much for not wanting to form ‘bad habits’. It led to a very insecure toddler and preschooler, the damage done in those first few months I have spent atleast two years undoing.
Of course there are very calm and happy babies that do not get very affected with being separated from their caregivers but some really do get distressed.
My second one now nearing two is very secure and very happy. He has been breastfed on demand, worn a lot and has never left my side in bed. He is so outgoing, social and friendly and has no reason whatsoever to believe that there is any bad or sad in the world as yet.
My first has spent the first few months expending energy on trying to get to me to be absolutely 100% secure in an evolutionary sense to his caregiver. At this point there are pathways being formed in the brain connecting neurons. It’s quite possible that wiring could have happened in his brain that isn’t quite that what a completely secure baby would be.
The second one spent his entire first two years (almost) being 100% secure that his mother is just a whimper away and wow! What sunshine he is!
Human babies are secondarily altricial animals or ‘parent clingers’. They are hard wired to want to be on their caregivers for most part of the day. Human milk is low in calorie and quickly digested which proves that mothers need to feed frequently -much more than the popular ‘every 2 hours’ diktat. This is impractical of course unless the baby is on you or with you all the time. This is where babywearing comes in.
By having the tools to keep the baby with them in a new parent’s toolbox, many find life becoming a lot easier. No longer are they getting upset that the baby is not sleeping the designated 2 hours and waking like an alarm clock for a feed, no longer are they tied up at home all the time and find a quick jaunt outside with the baby happily sleeping in a carrier is what they require the most, once feeding in a carrier has been discovered many parents are driven to a point of no return!
A babywearing consultant can help parents by making their existing carrier work for them or helping them find a perfect one for their family and showing them how to use it safely plus showing how to feed in it. I have been coupling my lactation consults with babywearing for awhile now and I am glad I am empowered with a lot more knowledge to teach!
I totally love the look on a mothers face or the pictures sent by proud dads when they discover babywearing or feeding in a carrier! I also love the sense of freedom and how confident a mother suddenly becomes!
Here are some pictures of the course and the lovely participants! Enjoy !