When our children come into the world from the womb, they have spent their entire existence up until that point being held by you, so it makes perfect sense that they would protest at being put down, a Moses basket or bouncer is not warm like you, it doesn’t smell like you and it doesn’t move like you. The first 3 months after a baby is born or as it’s commonly called ‘the third trimester’, is the toughest transition for both parents and babies. New babies are built to want their caregiver, and there is no more proof than the way a baby will scream when put down but silence immediately when picked back up.
Before my daughter was born i made the decision that where ever possible i was going to hold my baby and keep her close to me. I am very lucky that my husband felt the same way and was only too happy to hold her to give me a break, let me eat or potter around the house.
Carrying my baby in-arms has really helped me to bond with her, read her cues and more importantly REST! While my pregnancy wasn’t the worst, i was very tired at the end, with that and birth, 4 other children and 2 hourly night wakings, i really needed to rest when i could. The cleaning and household chores could wait, the baby needed me now.
I had read a book in my last few weeks whilst pregnant called ‘The Continuum Concept’. I would highly recommend you read it. The long and short of the book was that babies have an evolutionary need that helps them achieve optimum physical, mental and emotional development and adaptability. Denying a child of this in their first few years of life can have profound effects on the child. Keeping a child close was one of the outlined needs of a child. Whilst of course its not specified that you must hold baby continuously like me, some of the case studies were compelling that where possible a child should be held.
There are times however, when we all need to get something done, an email, the dishes or get the kids dressed, this is when a sling comes in handy, pop baby in and off you go. Even as i write this i have a baby snoozing on me in a sling.
A sling has allowed me the freedom to continue keeping my child close AND carry on with life, after all 4 weeks in and even i am getting a bit fed up with being sedentary and need a bit more movement in my life.
So come into my home you wont see a bouncer, nor a swing or a baby bean bag, you will just see me or my husband holding baby and she is not protesting, she loves it, spending the majority of her time fast asleep. Her first developmental leap achieved with minimal fuss and her weight gaining day on day ( she hasn’t lost any yet). A contented baby having her needs met consistently and in the way nature intended.
Emotionally i haven’t had a low day and despite having suffered Post Natal Depression in the past, i feel contented, happy and emotionally stable, even on days when things are not going to plan.
Holding or wearing your child regularly, can help to balance hormones and build a bond with your child that is secure and can go a huge way to avoid or help Post Natal Depression. It will reduce the amount of crying any infant does and helps them to sleep more soundly.
Recently i had a health professional sneer at me for holding my baby constantly, like it was such an alien concept even when books like The Continuum Concept was written in 1975, before i was born. Consumerism plays a large role in the expectation that we should have the latest baby holding gadget. Sadly some even promoted to hold baby and rock like a parent would…..call me Scrooge but i can do that for free and i am sure my baby will prefer it.
I hold my baby to enforce my bond, make my life easier and ensure that they have the best chance in life, i want to be a role model for my kids, so they spawn a generation that buck the trend for consumerism and separating a baby from the parent, that have secure children and generation that have better mental health. Can holding your baby really do this? I really believe so.
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