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

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The Tired Mummy Chicken Pox Survival Kit

img_1877Isaac has Chicken Pox! It has been 3 years since the pox last hit our house. Henry had it in the summer so we basically lived in the garden for a week. Unfortunately, it is a tad too chilly in February to be spending our days in the garden. The pox has been at nursery for a few weeks but up to now Isaac had avoided it but not anymore! I got the phone all from nursery yesterday afternoon to say could I collect him. This morning it is very clear that it is Chicken Pox.

Henry took chicken pox in his stride. He was happy as long as he wore a long sleeved cricket top and a fleece jumper.

Isaac on the other hand is Isaac. Nothing is ever plain sailing. A 15 minute battle to put camomile lotion on is testament to that. I have a feeling it is going to be a very long day, especially as Henry and Daddy are off to watch the new Star Wars movie after school. Typically the pox has arrived when Martin and I had plans for the weekend – tickets for the Calcutta Cup (Scotland v England) in the Six Nations Rugby.

So here is my survival kit and how I intend to cope over the next few days: plenty of tea, antihistamine, infant paracetamol, calamine cream, slings (my Opitai and preschool Connecta Baby Carrier Solar), suck pads for the straps of the carriers, my Boba Hoodie and copious amounts of chocolate, oh and the TV/iPad.


The antihistamine, calamine cream and the infant paracetamol are to help treat the Isaac’s symptoms. The antihistamine and calamine cream to stop the itching, and the paracetamol to treat his temperature. The slings allow me to care for his needs and want to be held. When children are poorly they want and need comfort. The Opitai is a custom size wrap conversion and the Connecta is made from the lightweight Solar fabric. Both are soft and non-irritating on his already “scratchy mummy” skin. The Boba Hoodie allows us to walk the dog and get some fresh air (yes I am as tired as I look) while both staying warm. He is refusing to get dressed in anything other than the fleece pyjamas he got for Christmas. The chocolate and tea are for me (although he has already spied the chocolate). The iPad and TV are keeping him entertained and helping him to forgot that he wants to scratch. The car will probably be coming into use too so that I can get him to sleep (he is pretending in the photo of Boba Hoodie).

 

What is your top tip for coping with Chicken Pox? I’d love him to have an oat bath but so far the idea of him going in bath or shower is apparently abhorrent.

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”(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: Continue reading

Ohhhh, what do we have here? The Preschool Solar Connecta has arrived.

On Thursday lunchtime the door bell of my house rang and stood on step was Andy, the InterLink Express delivery driver who covers my area. He is quite a regular visitor, as he is the man who brings us our Connecta Baby Carrier orders. Connecta are by far the most hired slings in the North East Sling Library and were the most popular carrier in UK sling libraries in 2014. Here he was, once again bringing another package from Connecta HQ, but this time, it was not for the library but for me and Isaac, and something special for our summer holidays. 

Waiting for Isaac to open

 

The package Andy delivered was a preschool size Connecta Solar carrier. One of the first two in this size anywhere, although you can now buy yours online too for £80. I am a big fan of Connecta Baby Carriers. They are the slings which got me hooked on carrying when I first started.  It was delivered while Isaac was at nursery and the wait to try it/open it was never ending. I had told Isaac we were getting a new sling and he was excited to open it.

What’s in here Mummy?

   

My new big boy sling!


 
The Preschool range of Connecta Baby Carrier are tested to 24kg. Isaac at 16.5kg is well within the maximum weight limit, as is his 6 year old brother at 20.5kg.  They have a 20 inch seat allowing for comfortable knee to knee support for bigger children too.  

 

The preschool carriers were launched in 2014 and I was lucky enough to have one of the testers come and visit here. At present 24kg is the most the carriers can be factory tested to here currently and is roughly the weight of a 7 year old.

Seat width comparisons

 

Why do I want a preschool carrier? I would think many people want to know why I willingly carry a 3 almost 4 year old and on occasion his 6 year old brother. The answer is simple. Little legs get tired.  Isaac is also a pain to get to sleep (for naps or night time) and a sling is often used to get him to sleep. On holiday where sleep routines are even more disturbed I think our new sling will have a very important role. I will also be travelling on one trip without my Husband. Although I have other family with me, the sling will make the airport easier to negotiate. Our toddler size solar was worth its weight in gold last time I did this and the idea of not having a sling didn’t appeal. 

Toddler solar for a nap in the sun in 2014.

 

I spoke to Sarah, the owner of Connecta Baby Carrier in the summer of 2015, explaining how next year I was off to Malta and Majorca and wished they had a preschool size Solar Connecta. The Solar fabric is UVA and UVB protective (blocking between 95-99% of harmful rays), extremely light weight and folds so small it fits in my handbag. Limited travel luggage allowances mean I did not want to talk a bulky carrier. I am so excited that my wish came true. The fact it dries quickly, is breathable and has an integrated sun hood makes it perfect for the hot weather. I really can’t wait to try it properly. A full review will be written in August.

Our initial impressions are woo hoo. A brilliant carrier with a sleek design. Supportive enough for big kids but small enough that I can pack it away when not in use.  Isaac will want to walk on holiday but I know he will get tired. This way I know I will be able to carry him when he needs it. Thank you Connecta.

 

Reconnecting after a day at nursery.

  

Cuddles with Henry – couldn’t feel he was there.

 

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