Welcome to our new series: Babywearing Ages and Stages. We’re working with Babywearer’s Circle on this series. In it, we’ll take you through some of the ages and stages your little one will go through in your babywearing journey. We’ll let you know some of the problems that come up, which carriers work well and what to look out for. Babywearer’s Circle will tell you about some of the brands that work well for these tiny babies, where to find them and how to get started.
First up is the premature baby. These little ones need touch, but they are also some of the most delicate babies to wear.
The Advantages of Wearing your Premature Infant:
Kangaroo care fills a specific function in the growth and development of the preemie baby and its advantages are well-document: increased milk supply for Mum, improved temperature and respiration regulation for baby, better growth- better everything!
Once you leave the hospital with your baby, skin-to-skin contact is still enormously beneficial. You and your baby may have undergone a traumatic separation and carrying your baby close as often as you both desire may help you both bond and heal.
When you have a preemie baby, your life is put on hold. Babywearing helps you get back into life, gently- while still attending to your baby’s needs.
What Works Well:
A woven wrap works very well for a premature baby, cradling the baby in the best position possible. Certain manufacturers have speciality wraps which are narrower than usual to accommodate the premature baby. A ring sling is another excellent choice and is easier to learn than the woven wrap for an often-times overwhelmed new parent. Babywearer’s Circle is talking about specific brands and where you can get them.
Kangaroo care is very beneficial for premature infants and while in the hospital you may not need any particular carrier for skin-to-skin time.
What You Should Watch Out For:
Premature babies are often very delicate, and whilst in the hospital you should only wear your baby in the sling with the guidance of your baby’s caregivers. Once home, you’re making the decisions. Be aware of your baby’s airway and breathing at all times: your caregivers will tell you what to look for.
Premature babies often have difficulty regulating their temperature and wearing a beanie may be advisable. The premature baby may also have sensitive feet from many heel pricks whilst in NICU and socks may help!
Always be aware of the TICKS safe babywearing guidelines and carry your baby in an upright rather than cradled or reclined carry. Unless your caregiver advises otherwise, don’t back-carry your pre-term baby.
Take a look at our downloadable pamphlet on wearing newborns for lots of great pictures and information on how to wear your newborn.
Finding likeminded parents is also a great way to get help. Come check out Babywearing Buy Sell Swap or Baby Carriers Downunder for help and support. You’ll be able to find a local sling group who can give you hands out support and advice.
Have you worn your premature or pre-term baby? What were the challenges you faced? What were the advantages you found? Leave a comment and let us know!