Monday, March 12, 2012

Wearing Baby and Sensory Integration-part 5-the conclusion

Side note:
I think next time I'll write the whole article split it into parts and publish it one after another.  This was difficult to write separately and I feel terrible that so much time passed between posts!  I hope you will be patient with me as I figure out how best to share information.  If you have any suggestions, please let me know!  I would love to hear from you at astrokeofot@gmail.com!

I've re-read part 1 through 4 and I wanted to add a few more things that were helpful to me.  In case you haven't read them yet...part 1, part 2, part 3, and part 4.

I also decided to do a completely new series about vestibular (movement) based treatment, where I'll share the story about the boy whose life changed with that treatment. 

In Balboa at 1 month old

1.  Use music

I am not an expert on therapeutic listening, but I know that music has a powerful effect on all of us.  I also know that it affects the same area as movement, the inner ear.  The place where we learn balance and a general sense of where our body is in space, is right next to where we hear.  In fact, as we listen to music, it activates our eardrum and moves the little hairs in our cochlea, our balance center.

For this reason, having the right music on while wearing baby around the house can also have a therapeutic effect.  It can work in concert with your body movement to provide the maximum therapeutic effect.  I usually choose music without vocals that have a heavy regular beat.  I organize a playlist that starts with a fast beat (think babies current heart rate) and each subsequent song is a slower beat (leading to mom's resting heart rate). 

Baba likes the following CD's: Jazz meets Cuba, Classic meets Cuba, Dreamcatcher by Secret Garden, Jewel's Lullaby CD, and Enya

So turn up the sound and dance with your baby!  The movement and music will help them fall asleep too! 


2.  Keep air flowing

Make sure your baby is not squished against your body without air.  Frequently check baby for comfort and safety.  When using a sling type carrier, always use your non-dominant hand to support baby.  This is especially important when you're getting things done.


3.  It takes time

It takes time to get used to wearing baby, but it can be very rewarding.  It may really help you bond with your baby and read your baby's signals.  You may find yourself knowing when your baby is hungry or uncomfortable.  Your ability to read your baby and your baby's increasing ability to modulate their sensory needs may drastically reduce crying.

4.  If you're breastfeeding...

Both the Ergo and the sling are perfect for discreet breastfeeding.  It takes a little practice to find your groove, but once you do, it's great!  I can breastfeed anywhere!

5.  When to wear baby

I try to time wearing Baba before nap time.  The movement relaxes him and by the time I breastfeed he's ready to nap or sleep.  When he wakes up, he's refreshed and ready to learn.  I also wear him when he doesn't feel well or he needs help to modulate. 

Newborns get overwhelmed easily by all the sensory stimulation, but babies with sensory issues have an even harder time.  So I use the expensive stroller to carry the diaper bag.  I usually wear him to all our outings, especially if I think it might be too stimulating.  When I'm too tired, Auntie takes over. 

I usually wear him when we go for our daily walks.  This is definitely a great way to lose the baby weight and get in shape!  It also helps boost my mood. 

If you're a working mom, just wear baby as you do chores before and after work, except when you're cooking.

In Bjorn with Auntie at around 4 months


6.  Who can wear baby

This is a great way for the father/partner to bond with your baby.  I know my son has a close relationship with his aunt because she frequently wears him.  So even though, he still prefers mom at this stage, he is happy to be worn by his auntie.

If possible, your baby can also be worn by the nanny/babysitter.  This will ensure that baby continues to get the therapeutic benefits of being worn.

7.  Interaction

I frequently interact with Baba while I wear him.  I showed him the leaves on the trees, I played with the lights around the house, I moved objects up/down/upside down, I sang, I taught him vocabulary, taught him about art, encouraged him to touch things, and I asked him questions...which I answered for him. 

I didn't always talk because that can be over stimulating, so I used exaggerated facial expressions and gestures too.  I also stayed quiet when he seemed to be trying to figure things out, so he could try to problem solve himself.  All this interaction can really increase brain activity to make more connections.  Of course that's really important for a child whose brain is compromised.

8.  Bonding

Most importantly, it's a great way to bond with your baby and get to know him.  When your child suffers a stroke, you might suffer from the trauma too.  The experience of finding out your child is ill and all the anxiety associated with that time, may leave you feeling less joy and more depressed.  It can interfere with bonding, especially with prolonged periods in the NICU.

I feel like I'm still healing 11 months later.  However, the time I spent wearing my baby, helped me see him...not a damaged child, but my little guy.  I got to know his personality and I was able to help him meet his needs because I was able to read him.  This made me feel good about my ability to care for him and also boosted my confidence...something we need after such a trauma.

In Ergo with Auntie at 10 months

More than anything, enjoy your time wearing your baby.  He won't be little for long.  I know that this time in my memory will be filled with our togetherness and happiness more than the worry and trauma of what's happened because we've spent so much time just hanging out.  When I wear him, I try to breath and focus on the present.  This has helped me tremendously.  It's so therapeutic for the both of us.  It's also an easy "therapy at home activity"...no thinking involved. 



2 comments:

  1. Hi Bea,I've enjoy a lot reading this beautiful post,these are very interesting suggests!Thank you!I also want to thank you for your kind comments on my blog,you're very lovely!
    Hug for you and your gorgeous little prince!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you, Clau! You are so sweet!

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