The 4th Trimester
Your Baby's spend up to 43 weeks growing and developing in the womb. The environment is soft, warm, secure, relaxing, dark, baby's are lulled by muffled sounds of his mum's life, constantly accompanied by his mum's heartbeat, rocked by his mum's movement, he has a permanently full tummy. The perfect environment for them.
Then birth happens. It might be quick, it might be long, baby might go through the birth canal, or be born by Cesarean. But whatever way he'll be born, the change is huge.
The environment is now bright, loud, intense, overstimulating, overwhelming. No longer are they in constant touch contact with their mother, they are too warm, or too cold, and what's that awful feeling in their tummy? Hunger. Noises all around, but not all are calm and relaxing.
This is the world babies are born into. The transition is not smooth.
This is where the idea of the 4th trimester comes into play. The 4th trimester is all about smoothing out this transition. A huge part of this is realising that the mother's arms and chest are now the optimum environment for the baby. And that in the first year of life a baby's wants are a baby's needs.
For parents as well, the 4th trimester is a time to get to know their baby's cues, beginning their new life as mother's and father's. It can be so very positive but at certain times it can be overwhelming, tiring, confusing, emotional, feeling out of control, isolated.
Babywearing is an amazing tool for parents to help them in the 4th trimester.
Babywearing is the act of carrying your baby in a baby carrier/sling. There are 5 main types of slings- stretchy wrap, woven wrap, ring sling, mei tai and soft structured carrier. A sling meet or a one to one consultation with a qualified Babywearing Consultant is a great way to find out about slings, sling safety and what fits your family. Slings can be expensive, and just because a sling suits you friend it may not suit you and your baby.
Babywearing Ireland run Sling meets throughout Ireland to introduce parents to the different types of slings, meet other parents, try on slings and rent slings (usually €10 per month).
Myself and my sister in law facilitate the local BWI sling meet monthly on the 3rd Tuesday of the month in Colpe Cross Presbyterian Church. Details: https://www.facebook.com/EastMeathDroghedaBWI.
I offer Babywearing consultations in your home or mine (or currently online).
For more details on sling meets run throughout ireland and for consultants details see www.babywearingireland.ie
Another great source of info on slings is http://www.slingpages.co.uk/sling-advice-resources/
Some of the benefits of babywearing:
Stimulates the environment of the womb:
Motion of mum, same gait as when in the womb, helps calm baby
Baby can hear mum's heartbeat and voice
At birth babies can't regulate their own temperature. Mum's skin can regulates baby's temperature
Babies are again in constant touch contact with parent.
Close proximity means babies are breastfed more frequently and generally for longer term
Helps with bonding
Babywearing keeps baby close. It allows mum and dad to become familiar to baby's early feeding cues, hence reducing crying (the last indication of hungry/upset) and act more responsively to baby's needs
Babies cry less, thus reducing stress levels and conserving energy for growth
Baby's sleep more in environment they feel safe, calm and relaxed. Sling allows for longer, deeper daytime sleeps.
Babies learn to discern between night and day quicker- close skin contact is believed to help babies regulate their circadian rhythms.
During early weeks distance from parent to baby in sling is perfect for their focal length
Sling allows babies to retreat from overwhelming social environments.
Baby's become socialised earlier- easily able to hear parents voice and see and be involved in their social interactions
Symptoms of wind/ mild reflux are eased by carrying upright and continuous motion
Babies with excess wind/ reflux may not like to sleep lying flat, so sling can help parents meet this need.
When babies are carried in the natural physiological spread squat position, it can help prevent hip problems developing in children at risk of hip dysplasia.
Babies are less likely to develop flat head syndrome when carried in various positions rather than lying for large portions of the day and night.
Mum has her hands free- she can get some food, do housework, take care of herself and older siblings, perhaps do some paid work if required.
Mums are less likely to develop PND. “The sling brought us back to an almost pregnant-like state, with him a part of me, listening to one another’s cues. He was calmer for being close to me, which made me feel more confident, which brightened my mood. Leaving the house felt less daunting so I got more exercise and again increased my confidence. I talked to him more, whether he was awake or not, and he became my son rather than a tiny scary stranger.”
Parents can get out and socialise easier
Which Sling Blog Post? https://www.littleonesbabymassage.com/post/which-sling
Which Sling? https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PL6BrCHpkGW7GKcYyLSq1njpELQp9dvNf2