The next blog in our series of carrying babies and children with additional needs is written by Kirsty. I was lucky enough to meet Kirsty quite early on in her carrying journey as she visited the sling library for help and support. In 2014, her little girl was diagnosed with Juvenile Arthritis. Since Olivia’s diagnosis Kirsty has trained as a babywearing peer supporter with Born to Carry.
Juvenile Arthritis is an umbrella term that is used to describe “many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions or paediatric rheumatic diseases that can develop in children under the age of 16”(http://www.arthritis.org). Diagnosis can take several months.
In this blog Kirsty explains how babywearing has helped her care for Olivia as well as details of how she was diagnosed. Thank you for sharing your experiences Kirsty.
I will let Kirsty take over her story here:
“Olivia was carried from birth, first with a close baby carrier and quickly moved onto a buckle carrier. After using baby wearing a lot to help with colic, we started only using slings once a day while we were walking the dog. Olivia started walking just before 12 months old and was very confident quickly, refusing to be carried most of the time.
When she was 15 months old she developed a limp on her left leg. Her walking quickly deteriorated and, whilst waiting 3 months for a diagnosis, Olivia would ask to be carried most of the time. Our Connecta Baby Carrier was worn almost constantly!
At 18 months, Olivia was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis. She was flaring in her ankle, knee and left leg and was very swollen and inflamed. Baby wearing became part of our everyday lives, with Olivia often saying “sore, sore, sling mummy”.
Olivia is now 3, and in general doing very well. She has long periods of time where there’s no signs of active arthritis, and when it does come back it’s mild. There are still days when she is too sore to walk, and just wants to be held close. On those days, baby wearing saves the day, just like it did when she was tiny.”