Downs Syndrome: Chloe and Michelle’s story

Here at BCD blog, we’re all very much aware of the important benefits of babywearing for all babies. However, when babies need extra special care, babywearing can take on an extra dimension. Here, Michelle, Mum to Lucca (3) and Chloe (6 months), tells us about how babywearing has impacted her family.

My name is Michelle and we have Lucca (3yo) and Chloe (6Mo). I lived in a ring sling and a Mayan wrap for Lucca up until he was 2. Chloe has Downs Syndrome and I feel wearing is doubly important, particularly for bonding and also in enhancing neural and physical development. In their Baby Book, the Sears recommend wearing special needs bubs (one of their own kids has DS) particularly for attachment and to enhance breastfeeding success.

I currently use a Baby Bjorn a lot – even though I do not like it so much as I have worries about what it is doing to her hips. However having said this I have not come across any studies- does anyone know of any?* Nevertheless the Baby Bjorn does allow me to have Chloe up close, which is my aim. I have tried the Mayan wrap and the ring sling for Chloe but am unhappy with them as she does not sit very straight in either. I am unsure if this is because of her tone (slight ‘floppiness’) or if I am missing something!**

I feel that wearing has really helped me to breastfeed successfully – Lucca until he was 2 and a half, and Chloe so far. I am particularly stoked with feeding Chloe as only about 10% of bubs with Down Syndrom can feed, so I feel very lucky that she has been able to. It has been – and still is – a tough slog, but I have received fantastic support which has helped me enormously.

*BCD editor’s note: To date, BCD is not aware of any peer-reviewed, scientific studies regarding hip dysplasia and Baby Bjorn style carriers. Positioning a baby with knees above their bottom in a carrier such as a mei tai, SSC, ring sling or wrap is considered the most stable position for correct hip development.

**BCD editor’s note: Babies with low tone may benefit from wrapping in a woven wrap. For further information and support for wearing a child with special needs, the following resources may be helpful:

There are almost as many special needs as there are babies to be worn and each one will be slightly different. The experienced parents on both these forums are happy offer supportive advice and help troubleshooting. Do you have a child with special needs? Do you have special needs yourself? How do you cope from day to day and what babywearing tricks help you?

About Steph

Steph is a Mum of three with a passion for babywearing and some excellent skills with knots.
This entry was posted in Babywearing Info, Personal Stories, Special Needs Babywearing, Special Topics and tagged . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Downs Syndrome: Chloe and Michelle’s story

  1. Nicki Zieth says:

    The benefits of wearing a child with special needs is also very close to my heart, I also have a child with Down syndrome who shared a very special sling wearing relationship with me for many years(he is now 10), He even saw the USA from our now warn our ring sling.
    I have since gone on to care for several other children with special needs, including children with drug addiction at birth and several with multiple disabilities and medical conditions………we frankly couldn’t live without our sling collection. I have a sling for every child and occasion from wraps for stressed out and withdrawing newborns to Ergo’s for agitated toddlers overwhelmed by the world around them……..I have slings that support weak necks, and low tone, and slings just for fun and comfort……..I can’t imagine caring for these babies without our slings.
    Not enough can be said about the benefits of carrying children with special needs…….and as a experinced mum & fostercarer of special needs children, I can’t imagine life without them.

    • Shirl says:

      Niki, What are the best slings to use for a baby w/ Down Syndrome who has low tone? I’m worried about hurting my daughter…

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