Sling Possible: Who said you can’t carry a baby in a cast?

connie1This blog is another guest blog in our series on carrying babies with additional needs. It is written by Sarah and tells of her experiences of carrying her little girl both before and after a late diagnosis of Developmental Dysplasia of the Hip (DDH). DDH is typically identified in babies during their newborn and 6/8 week check but in some cases it is not identified until much later. For Sarah and Connie this diagnosis came on Connie’s first birthday. DDH is a developmental condition which means the hip joint is not fully formed, with the socket part of joint being too shallow. DDH is a controversial topic when it comes to slings as there are many who suggest that the use of narrow based High Street Carriers can cause it. This is not the case. You can read more about healthy hips and slings in this article by Sheffield Sling Surgery. Now let us allow Sarah to tell her story.

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Carrying and its role in Toby and Teddy’s lives

The next in our blog series on carrying children with additional needs is written by Rachel. She is a mum of two boys and lives in the North East. Her eldest son was diagnosed with Autism just after his second birthday. Autism is a spectrum disorder and those with the condition can vary in severity. Autistic Spectrum Disorders are a “condition that affects social interaction, communication, interests and behaviour”.  Difficulties in communication and social interaction can have a massive impact on families. Carrying Toby, and his younger brother Teddy, has allowed Rachel and her husband to adjust. I will let Rachel take over now. Continue reading

Gideon’s Story

This piece is the third installment of our series looking at how babywearing and carrying is more than just being about the sling and how it can help families who have babies and children with additional needs. It is written by Rae, a Mum of Three. I have ‘known’ Rae for the majority of my own carrying journey as we are both members of the Natural Mamas forum and we shared our own pregnancy journey’s on its pregnancy sub forum. Here Rae will explain how using a sling helped her care for and bond with her third son. When Gideon was born he was diagnosed with Prader-Willi Syndrome or (PWS). 

At birth babies with PWS are usually very floppy (hypotonia) and this means they often cannot suck properly, have a weak cry and often do not have a full range of movement. It is a genetic disorder that is typically not diagnosed until baby has been born, although lack of movement in utero can be associated with the condition. There have been research studies undertaken to investigate if fetal ultrasound scanning can be used to help diagnose the condition but currently 99% of cases are diagnosed via genetic testing.

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How carrying helped one child with Juvenile Arthritis.

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. born to carry.jpgSince 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”( 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: Continue reading

Carrying, when it means so much more than just the sling.

Babywearing sometimes gets a bad press. Comments from ‘helpful’ members of the public or family members with statements such as: “doesn’t it hurt” and “you’ll make a rod for you own back”, can make it extremely hard for parents to feel like they are making the correct decision. I have long since stopped listening but for new parents it can be hard. For many parents though, carrying their babies and toddlers is a matter of survival. Whether it simply allows them to meet the needs of their new baby and older children, gives them their hands back or just because it makes life easier. With a newborn with severe reflux and breathing difficulties, and a toddler to care for, slings saved my sanity.
Carrying our babies helps us to comfort them when they are upset, help us heal from traumatic birth experiences or postnatal depression, and build a closeness with our baby. The memories and shared experiences we gain while carrying our children create a bond that it would be difficult to replicate in any other way. This is why people often get emotionally attached to the slings that we use – they are not just a carrying device – they are memories too. There are families, though, where carrying their children has even more importance and significance, as their babies have additional needs. I am honoured that a number of them are willing to share their stories.
Each has a different journey, a child with a different need, but all find a place for a carrier in their lives. Our first guest writer is Emily. Emily is a mum of 3 beautiful boys from Sunderland and one of the women who inspired me to carry my first child. I was humbled when during her third pregnancy she contacted me for help after her baby was diagnosed with Unilateral Talipes. I will let Emily take over here:  Continue reading