Not so long ago, I had a consultation with new parents to a preemie baby. When I went to see them, they were just a few days out of hospital. Their beautiful daughter was still so tiny and loved to curl up with her legs up really high. But she was also very sleepy and content. The perfect baby for practising babywearing for the first time.
Which carrier can I use?
The carriers that are best suited for preemie babies are woven wraps and ring slings. Woven wraps can be tightened around your preemie just right so that there is no slumping in the carrier. A woven wrap also fits every size of baby and caregiver perfectly. A ring sling can also be tightened perfectly around a preemie baby and has the advantage of less fabric and easier use for preemies who are still attached to monitors.
Another type of carrier that may be suitable is the stretchy wrap. However, when using a stretchy wrap for a preemie it is important to tie the wrap really nice and snug, so that your baby will have the necessary support that they will need.
When can I start babywearing with my preemie?
You can start babywearing your preemie baby straight away, even in hospital, when they are still attached to tubes. However, you should either have experience in babywearing or you should get professional help from a babywearing consultant as you will need to take extra care with a preemie baby to carry them in a good position.
What are the benefits of babywearing my preemie?
Of course, all the usual benefits of babywearing apply to wearing a preemie baby as well: bonding with your child, keeping your baby close, having your hands free and having naps on the go.
Some of the more important benefits for preemie babies and their parents are:
- Protecting your mental health: keeping your baby close as much as possible and having lots of skin to skin contact is especially important with preemie babies who often can’t be with you for most of the time due to health issues. This will release the hormone oxytocin which helps you bond with your baby and will reduce the effects of the stress hormone cortisol.
- Regulation of your baby’s body: Your own body temperature helps your baby to regulate their own body temperature. Your breathing will help your baby to regulate their breathing. Your baby will be able to hear your heartbeat as they did when they were in your womb. They also won’t need to waste precious energy for crying to get their needs met as you will be able to pick up on your baby’s cues more easily.
Tips and tricks:
- Always go through your safety check (either HANDS or TICKS) to ensure you are wearing your preemie safely.
- Create a little neck roll with a washcloth to support your preemies head.
- Make sure your preemie is supported from knee to knee and stays in its natural froggy position when in the carrier. Your preemie’s feet should be out of the carrier to avoid any pressure.
- Tighten your carrier nice and snug around your preemie to avoid any slumping.
Have you worn your preemie baby?
Have you had a preemie baby and did you babywear? Please share any tips and tricks or benefits in the comments.
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