Friday, February 27, 2015

Hold Me Like You'll Never Let Me Go

 The Babywearing Mindset 

Introduction - The "In-Arms"stage of a child

holding your child, dad, pop
Hey pops, I've heard about you!
The child passes through successive phases of development in which her surroundings have an important part to play. In none have they more importance than the "in-arms" phase, the period from birth to when the child begins sitting and then crawling by herself—generally this is at six to nine months of age.

(Major Papa Green Bean point) - The in-arms phase as part of a continuum can be descibed as a second nine month gestation period, giving the human baby an eighteen month period of full gestation, with the actual birth being the half way point. This is a remarkably insightful concept and, if understood for its implications, leads us as parents and childcare providers to a much more respectful and nurturing welcome for the newborn child onto our living world. 

Infant-centered (high touch), not parent-centered (high-tech)

The first of the newborn child's organs to begin functioning are her senses. Everything the child experiences from birth is new. First impressions become an internal part of her personality taking in the entire sensual experience as a whole. Although she cannot move coherently, she is by no means passive. Her eyes are bright and eager. An active seeker in her world, the child's impressions are so profound that a biological or psycho-chemical change takes place, and she becomes one with it.

The importance of the in-arms stage can not be over stated.   Jean Liedloff, who coined the term 'In-Arms', wrote the classic book The Continuum Concept. This was the precursor to the immensely popular (rightfully so) parenting philosophy, Attachment Parenting. Dr. William Sears, a leader in the attachment parenting movement has spread the benefits of "wearing" your baby. Here is a summary:

1. It's good for the baby

  • Parent's rhythmic walk and movements reminds baby of the womb experience. 
  • Parents heartbeat and breathing have a balancing effect on the infant's irregular rhythms. 
  • Baby achieves quicker regulation of adrenal hormones promoting night/day regulation. 
  • Parent's voice regulates baby's limb movements, and enhances speech development. 
  • Baby better learns a valuable conversational lesson early on... the ability to listen (ha!).
  • Babies vestibular system (balance from the inner ear) is kept highly sensitive. 
  • in-arms development
    Wow, this is a really cool ride!
  • The baby feels included and valuable boosting her self-esteem.

2. It makes life easier for the mother and father

  • By creating a womblike environment, babies fuss much less. 
  • Adults busy life-style is not slowed down. Home to your baby is wherever the parent is.
  • Babies show increased awake contentment time called quiet alertness, which is the optimal state of learning for a baby. This gives the parents a better opportunity to interact positively with their precious little one.
  • The baby becomes intimately involved in the baby wearer's world, humanizing a baby, which naturally enhances parent-infant bonding.  

Net effect of babywearing is a sense of harmony and competence within baby and parents

Doesn't every parent in every culture have these two simple desires - to make life easier and better for themselves and their loved ones?

Hey, Let's go for ice cream -
double scoop, please!

Bonding Properly During the In-Arms Stage of Life 

Young babies should be carried or worn, most of the time by parents or other caregivers, and put down only when sound asleep or when caregivers must attend to their own needs (for a short time). An excellent article from Baby Care Journals discuss how to play with your newborn. Another describes how the simplest methods of bonding with your baby become more natural as you keep your baby in touch with you throughout your daily routine.

Papa Green Bean Personal Insight

But, I consent, even the most conscientious parents need a break from dancing with our baby 24/7. So, my advice is to always leave your child within eye sight of you while you, for example, cook spinach lasagna, set the table, open a bottle of red wine, spin dry the lettuce, etc. Should the baby fuss, pick her up and give her a quick spin around the kitchen floor ballroom style (or bluegrass swagger). Often, the simple insights listed within bonding tips will work wonders, like eye-to-eye
contact with your little muffin or a simple belly rub while chopping onions if she tears up.

I often explained my way through a daily routine to my wide eyed watchful baby pony girl laying nearby. I'd converse my actions aloud like "Now I will brush my teeth. A little dab will do you on the brush. Hmmmm, that smells like peppermint... Anna, can you smell the lovely aroma (as I waft the toothbrush under her nose). I will commence to brush with vigor." She watches every action intently as her brain takes in the verbal cues matching Papa's actions.

Carry on!  Papa Green Bean

 Baby wearing - Baby Carriers and How to Wear Your baby

Choosing the right baby carrier is not my philosophical goal here at Papa Green Bean. But briefly, you want ones that are safe, comfortable, versatile, easy to use, and suitable for feeding. Sling-type carriers seem to be best. Each baby and parent will need to find their personal preference for positioning. There is the cradle hold, the snuggle hold, the kangaroo carry, the hip straddle (as your baby reaches four months of age you will become a 'hipster' - yeah, that's right), the neck nestle (fathers favorite) etc.