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Can I Continue to Wear My Baby While Pregnant?
Wise women know that pregnancy is not a time to add new physical activities to your life that may prove strenuous. However, if you are accustomed to carrying or wearing your child, a wrap will make it easier on your hard-working pregnant self, so YES, do yourself a favor and wrap your baby - just be sure to listen to your body's cues!
How can Pregnant Babywearing Make My Life Easier?
No one wants to increase the burden on pregnant mamas. This isn't a way to make you work harder, it is a way to give your pregnant body a break by letting the wrap do the work. Wearing a baby or toddler in a woven wrap is far more comfortable and less of a physical strain than holding that same baby or toddler in your arms (especially as your belly grows).
Wrapping will make your life easier if you use it when you would otherwise be holding or carrying your child. It will free you up to prepare the meals that you are eating to grow your baby, to do the nesting you want to do, to get your older baby to and from school or childcare and to get to your prenatal appointments. It can also save your having to lug a heavy stroller into or out of the house or car. And I hope that it will help you get to some wonderful relaxing places and moments that will contribute to an enjoyable pregnancy!
Getting wrapped up on mommy can also help to reassure your old baby that your love is as strong as ever while you prepare to meet your new baby. That security and comfort goes a long way towards paving a gentle introduction to older siblinghood.
How do I use a woven wrap while pregnant?
I made this video when I was 37 weeks pregnant, and my toddler was 15 months old. In it I demonstrate a Rucksack Carry (nice for when your toddler wants up and down frequently or will not be wrapped for an extended period) and a Double Hammock Carry (great for comfort over longer periods and when your kiddo will be napping on your back) and I show a few different ways to tie each one off so that you can find the one that works best for you:
Back carries: Most pregnant mamas prefer back carries. You can get away with wearing your child high on your front--above the baby bump--for a while, but eventually there won’t be room for the two of them. You might as well start learning back carries now! A back carry is most comfortable and as an added bonus helps a pregnant mama to feel evened out, so you're not front-heavy.
Getting child on back: You can lift your child onto your back, but if your child is old enough you can also squat down and let him or her climb up piggyback-style. Similarly, a child who is steady on his or her feet can be slid down your back to the ground when you are done wrapping.
Tying around your belly: When wrapping your child, make sure you don’t tie the wrap uncomfortably across your growing bump. Some moms find it most comfortable to tie above the bump, and some find it comfortable to tie below the bump. If you are eager to “show” you will be delighted to find that either of these arrangements will accentuate your more-womanly-than-ever figure.
To completely avoid tying around whatever passes for your waist these days, try a rucksack tied under baby’s bottom, or a Tibetan Carry. A Double Hammock Carry is a nice supportive carry that can be finished by tying at shoulder or tying under the bottom.
Pregnancy is often a time of random and unpredictable discomforts. Accordingly, utilize the famous versatility of your wrap to solve any less-than-perfect sensations. If rucksack straps pinch, try the same carry crossed in the front, try tying Tibetan to pull the straps inward, or experiment with a totally different carry. If the cross over your breasts is uncomfortable, try rucksack straps, or twisting or tying a knot in between your breasts. Or maybe a Double Hammock Carry with the broad band spread across your torso will be most comfortable. Any pinching could conceivably lead to plugged milk ducts, so do find a way to adjust the wrap until it lays comfortably.
Pay attention to your body and follow its cues. If you are getting winded or dizzy, or just tired, it’s time for a stay-at-home day and cuddle on the couch.
It is more important to find the best way to take care of everyone--yourself, your new baby, AND your older child--than it is to live up to some ideal, or zealously stick to some pre-conceived notion about what you ought to be able to do, or what will best help your child adjust to the new baby, or anything else.
What you “ought to be able to do” is follow your body’s cues and your child’s cues and brainstorm the best way to fill everybody’s needs. What will best help your child adjust is staying flexible and staying sane and loving. That could mean giving up on the plan to move him to his own bed before baby is born, or it could mean either increasing toddler-wearing time, OR introducing him to the concept of doing his own walking when you are out. There is no perfect solution for all families, only for your family, and if it means less stress, it’s probably the right choice!
Can I use my woven wrap as a birth aid?
Your wrap can serve not only to carry your toddler, and your new baby, but it can be used to increase your comfort during pregnancy, to help turn a breech baby, to help a baby become ideally positioned for the easiest birth, to ease the pain of contractions or back labor during labor, to support you in the ideal squatting birth position, to give you leverage for pushing, and after the birth as a post partum belly band to assist in regaining your pre-pregnancy health, fitness, and shape. I have outlined a lot of these functions (including some illustrations and videos) in this blog post about using wraps and rebozos in pregnancy and childbirth.
When baby comes, is there any way to wrap up my baby AND my toddler at the same time?
My tandem wrapping page contains information, suggestions, photos and videos about tandem wearing twins or other siblings in either one long wrap or two different wraps. With siblings of different sizes and ages, you should use two separate wraps.
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