Easing the Transition from Womb to World
After a new baby comes home from the hospital, there are certain things we love; when they’re sleeping quietly, when we’re bonding with them, or when we see their eyes flutter at their new surroundings. There are also the moments of panic, sleepless nights, raging hormones, aching body parts and the task of figuring out what in the heavens this new being needs to survive. We’re all thrown into this reality quite quickly. Alas, the miracle of life.
As hard as it is for new parents, can you imagine what it’s like for the little babe? These tiny humans have just spent (approximately) 270 days inside a womb feeling warm, snug, and safe to grow and develop. This tiny, heated space also comes with the complete audio-set of a heartbeat and the aroma of “loving human”. Suddenly, the child is evicted! They are taken from the only place they’ve ever known – talk about an abrupt start.
Luckily, there is an easy and natural way to soothe your baby from the moment they are born – skin-to-skin, followed by baby wearing. Skin-to-skin is as close as we can get to putting baby back in their natural habitat – on parent’s chest, where they can hear a heartbeat, feel body warmth, and smell the human scent. Bonus points if the baby has a feeling of snugness they’ve become accustomed to. Below, we’ve rounded up some of the best ways to make this act easy, comfortable, and safe.
Your personal guide to Skin-to-Skin at home
Did you know you can babywear from the moment your baby is born? This is where a skin-to-skin product like SleepBelt® makes a profound difference by comfortably, transitioning babies from womb to world. SleepBelt® is clinically proven to increase overall satisfaction for parents and baby by naturally mimicking a womb. Not to mention, it’s a complete life saver for wanting to enjoyably do anything ‘hands free’, while seated, for the entire fourth trimester. It’s quick and easy to use (because, after labour, who has energy for anything else?), takes the strain off your neck, shoulders and back, and has no knots, clips or buckles that might dig into sensitive body parts while you recover from childbirth.
How SleepBelt® works: Simply wrap the belt around your torso, with the Velcro at the front of your chest. Secure the Velcro, so it feels nice a snug, then shimmy the Velcro to your backside (for our bra-wearers, shimmy the Velcro your backside, like you would when you’re putting on a bra). With baby snuggled comfortably on your chest, you simply pull the belt up to the nape of baby’s neck – ensuring the back is supported. Voila! You have successfully given baby EVERYTHING they loved about being in your tummy – heat, heartbeat, smell, snugness – CHECK. For skin-to-skin in hospital, please see www.joeyband.com: a leading patented product for families to use in hospital.
Note: SleepBelt® is not for walking around. This is a product for that first month when you may want to be OFF your feet and recovering. It’s best to use SleepBelt® when you’re watching TV, on your laptop, on your phone, eating with your family, reading, and snuggling (can’t encourage this enough!) The product is ideal and allows for an easy transition into ambulatory (aka “walking around”) babywearing.
Babywearing & Carrying
Once you are looking to go ‘out and about’, while keeping your baby close, there are a multitude of options available for you to babywear and carry. From stretchy wraps, ring slings and buckle carriers – to woven wraps, pouch slings and Meh Dais, the options can be overwhelming. We recommend finding a local Babywearing Educator or group, who can help find the perfect product and fit for you and your lifestyle. There are some great online resources, as well; check out babywearinginternational.org, for helpful guidance. Once you find the carrier that’s just right for you, you and your baby can continue to reap the benefits you did with skin-to-skin – soothing warmth, smell, comfort and closeness, along with the added benefit of hands free mobility.
How do I know my baby is safe?
The primary concern of every new parent is, “how do I ensure my baby’s safety?” When it comes to skin-to-skin and babywearing, the emphasis is really on positioning. In order to keep it simple and memorable, the babywearing community has developed the acronym T.I.C.K.S.
When skin-to-skin or babywearing, ensure your baby is:
Tight – baby should be snug against you.
In View – you should be able to see your baby’s face at all times, and ensure that the nose/mouth isn’t blocked.
Close Enough to Kiss – keep that baby high! You should be able to tip your head and kiss the top of your baby’s head.
Keep Chin off Chest – This one is important – baby should be in “sniffing” position, with the neck elongated. Your baby’s airway is tiny – when the chin falls to their chest, there’s risk of it being pinched, and the airway being cut off.
Support the Back – If baby isn’t well supported, they may slump down into a perilous position – keep your little one upright, and well braced.
And remember, snuggling your baby is one of the best things you can do – for both you, and your babe. No amount of love is too much, and you really can’t spoil your baby by picking them up, cuddling, and carrying – if anything, you are creating the foundation for a well-adjusted, confident and loving human being… and that’s all we can hope for as parents.
By Hayley Mullins