Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Babywearing After the NICU

I went into premature labor at 29 weeks and gave birth to identical twin girls via emergency C-section at 30 weeks.  My daughters were in the NICU at St John for 89 days.  During that time my husband and I were only allowed to hold them for a maximum of 20 minutes every three hours, though there were many days that we held them less.  

I was very worried that my children would not have a bond with me and I was stressed about bringing unattached children home.  As a former educator, I knew the importance of building trust and attachment in infancy and was extremely worried that we had missed the critical window.  When the girls finally came home, they were miserable.  They cried almost every minute of every day.  I thought I was going to lose my mind.  

Luckily a friend of mine, Ann Bennett, introduced me to babywearing and even gave us a Moby wrap.  I was also able to purchase an Ergo soft structured carrier, and quickly fell in love with babywearing. 
First Time Babywearing

Although I had first thought babywearing sounded strange, I quickly realized that it was truly a life and sanity saver.   Babywearing gave my husband and me a chance to spend time skin to skin with our daughters.  Babywearing allowed us to build an attachment that we had missed out on in the NICU.  Babywearing helped improve our very tenuous breastfeeding relationship (which is still going strong at 15 months!).  Babywearing helped soothe my very colicky, very refluxy girls.  Having twins can be a difficult balance of tending to the needs of both children, who both always seem to need something at the same time.  By babywearing, I am able to meet the needs of both girls without sacrificing my own.  Babywearing made a big difference in making up for some of the losses in the NICU.

Katherine Conner works for Early Head Start and is pursuing a master’s degree in Social Work from the University of Oklahoma.  She and her husband live in Broken Arrow with their twin daughters and two dogs.  In her extremely rare free time, Katherine likes to run, read, and cook.

Babywearing on vacation in Hawaii

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