Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Why Babywearing is Essential to Breastfeeding

Babies are born expecting to be carried. They expect to be on, or very near to, their mothers body nearly constantly for the first year of life & to continue to be carried until they can walk independently.

Research into the impact of skin to skin care over the past 30-40 years has shown us how much of an effect the baby & mother’s bodies have on each other. The mother’s body develops a hot zone between her breasts immediately following birth, to warm the baby. As the baby reflexively pushes upwards, towards the breasts, his feet massage the uterus, causing it to contract back to the usual size.

Babies orient vertically- this means that when they are placed vertically, between the mothers’ breasts, the baby instinctively understands where he is & is able to move himself down to nurse well.

Dr Nils Bergman, a physician & researcher who has extensively studied the immensely beneficial practice of keeping babies in their habitat- vertically, between the mothers breasts, says: "The baby is in the right place and therefore has the right behaviour."

In addition, we are just beginning to understand the constant exchange of hormonal information mothers & babies engage in when they are together. Babies need to be able to smell & touch their mother most of the times in order for this to happen. This is easily done with babywearing.

For these reasons, it is obvious that carried babies are better able to breastfeed. By simply giving the baby what he expects, he is able to maximise his ability to nurse.

Carrying a baby constantly is impractical without something safe & comfortable with which to do it with. Mothers who use long-term babywearing (carrying a baby in a soft carrier) as a method of meeting the baby’s need to be in proximity will need a high quality baby carrier. Quality is determined by the carriers features, which must include the ability to correctly position the baby & to distribute weight in an ergonomic way. This is most closely met by woven wraps, whose double twill weave, carefully tied, supports both the baby & wearers bodies.

*This information is not intended to be medical diagnoses or advice & in no way replaces the need to see a health care professional.

The information in these posts will be basic information; if specific help is needed a consult can be booked with myself or another lactation consultant by calling 780-777-9525. We are non-medical professionals with a non-medical approach to resolving complex breastfeeding problems that works! You will be referred to seek medical care if you or your baby's needs are beyond our scope of practice.

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