How Babywearing Can Help You Heal
Here at Sakura Bloom it's our goal to provide you with as much education and information as possible to ensure your babywearing journey is a beautiful one, and a safe one. Today, Dr. Stephanie Libs, DC, a Pediatric, Pregnancy and Family Specialist is sharing her best tips for utilizing babywearing to help you heal post partum.
I am an expert in the human body and how it functions. I’m Dr. Steph, I’m a mommy to Aubree who is almost 15 months (holy cow how did that happen?), wifey to my hubby Dean, and owner and operator of the Café of Life San Diego, a chiropractic office where we specialize in pediatrics, pregnancy and family care. So babywearing is a big deal to me and doing it ergonomically is an even bigger deal! Enter, Sakura Bloom.
IT’S ALL IN THE HIPS
The soft waistband of the Scout offers a gentle and broad contact around the hips that can move and contour to your body. Around six months after baby we have a significant drop in the hormone relaxin. Why is this important, you may ask? Relaxin is that hormone that makes our joints relaxed (hence the name relaxin) in order to open our hips and pelvis to fit a baby through them. That drop in relaxin can make our joints feel stiff so it’s extremely beneficial to keep them moving properly (which is one reason we recommend continuing chiropractic after baby). Pregnancy can lead to torsion in our sacrum and lower back, labor and birth can leave our hips and pelvic floor out of balance, and awkward breastfeeding positions can cause tension in the shoulders. This is why so many mamas need chiropractic care during pregnancy and after delivery.
The Scout and the Onbuhimo are both really great carriers that offer a balanced support while wearing your baby. The Scout can make it feel like your baby is still a part of your body, which is a really great transition from having the weight of the baby belly. Because it has no waistband, the Onbuhimo is awesome for someone whose hips and lower back are really sensitive after labor. If the lower back is really stiff then the Onbuhimo carrier wouldn’t contribute to any further damage to those joints.
THE FIRST EXERCISE
I typically recommend babywearing not only for all the benefits of connecting with baby but also as part of our post partum healing process. So many of us are quick to get “cleared” at our six week follow up and eagerly throw sneakers on and start running, working out, even stretching and it’s usually too soon. Babywearing is like a mini workout and it’s the simple act of carrying our baby that leads to a healthy recovery of our core and pelvic floor. Goodbye kegals! Did you know that just sitting on your couch, holding or wearing your baby and standing up has so much benefit to our pelvic floor? Kegals can overly tighten the tissue of your pelvic floor when it still needs time to heal. Your pelvic floor is made up of multiple muscles and those muscles are not usually fully functional after supporting a growing baby and uterus for forty weeks. Doing kegals to get your pelvic floor back is like doing a bicep curl with a torn bicep tendon. If it’s injured, it’s not a good idea to exercise it. Labor can wreak havoc on our pelvic floors and the more women I see the more evidence I have that this is a serious issue afflicting the majority of mamas.
Moms usually want to know how to fix it and what exercises they can do. So my answer is, if you can babywear for 20 minutes without peeing or bleeding, then you can move on to sitting and standing while babywearing. It’s super important to use your muscles, not your momentum when you’re doing this. It should be regarded like a squat workout but you’re at your couch and not the gym. If that doesn’t cause any pain or discomfort then the next step is to go for a 10-20 minute walk while babywearing. It’s essential that you’re able to safely walk while babywearing; it sets us up for a healthy journey through motherhood.
Doing a back carry, especially with the Onbuhimo is a really great way to counter balance your shoulders after nursing. When breastfeeding or bottle feeding it is really easy to round our shoulders forward and hunch over, so once babies are ready for a back carry it’s a great position for the wearer to open the shoulders and stretch them back out to improve posture. I love the Onbuhimo because it’s high up on your back so it really makes wearing easy and takes pressure off the lower back. Scout is great for this because the support is more broad and spread over the spine, shoulders and hips so it creates a really natural weight distribution.
Something I see often in my chiropractic practice is moms getting out of alignment in their midback and their ribs. Each rib is attached to two vertebrae in the midback and wraps around to the sternum or breast bone. Ribs need to move like bucket handles with each breath, and if they get stuck from poor posture from nursing it’s not comfortable. The back carry with a quality carrier will help keep the ribs moving properly so mama can breathe deeply and move well.
One of the most important reasons for babywearing is for neurodevelopment and brain function. Being in a capsule, car seat, bouncer, or other baby holding apparatuses, is not the same as being held by a living, breathing human. The missing element is touch. Touch helps to heal, grow and connect. Can you imagine being held in a perfectly cozy womb for forty weeks, 100% of the time, not just part of the time, then transitioning into the outside world and being placed in plastic capsules lined with cushion and cloth? Now I’m not saying that babies should never go in a car seat; we have to transport them safely, and that’s the safest option. But babywearing helps to smooth the transition from womb to world.
Their bodily functions are automatically regulated when in the womb, so babywearing is the next closest thing and according to Dr. William Sears, it acts like an outside womb. When baby places their ear against your chest to hear your heart, or feel your skin on their cheek it creates new experiences that wire the brain and create neural pathways all while feeling safe and secure. Baby’s brains and the nervous systems are rapidly growing. In fact, there is approximately 200% brain growth in the first two years of life. When your baby is “on your level” in a carrier they are able to experience some of the world you see, hear, feel, touch, etc. and in my opinion, worn babies are more adaptable to new experiences later in life.
A REFLECTION OF BEAUTY
Lastly, I recommend Sakura Bloom carriers because of the quality of the materials used. Using natural fabrics are so important to babies who have never been exposed to synthetics. The amount of eczema and skin issues that we see in children is astounding, so using high quality products is important to protect delicate baby skin.