Tag Archives: babywearing

Silent Reflux & Tongue Tie – The Real Reason for Unhappy Babies?

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Why are the simplest solutions often kept hidden from us when we become mothers? With my firstborn (my son, Jackson) I did as I was told and have many regrets these days that I didn’t trust my instincts over the advice of health professionals, friends and family. In those days I had no one to tell me otherwise.

With Lola, things changed, although the journey was very tough. When she was two weeks old the babymoon ended abruptly and she became an unhappy baby. Unhappy, that is, when she wasn’t with me. Her latch became poor, she fed very very frequently, and she hated being laid down- I was either carrying her, or bouncing her to sleep in a bouncy chair- she couldn’t sleep in a basket etc. By 10 weeks old she was finally diagnosed as having Gastro Oesophageal Reflux (the “silent” type- not so-called because of a silent newborn, far from it. The silence refers to the fact that baby doesn’t actually vomit) and a posterior tongue-tie, and the medical advice I received (and took) was to give her infant Gaviscon for the reflux, and a tongue-tie release.

One dose of Gaviscon later, my poor baby was completely constipated and in distress. That was stopped immediately. I carried her about and rocked or fed her to sleep or just to calm her- all the stuff we’re not “meant” to do.

The tongue-tie release was done professionally and compassionately at a private hospital with a peaceful paediatric wing, on the NHS! Lolly fed immediately after, but I couldn’t say I noticed a difference in her latch. In fact, I think it “regrew” if anything- at nearly two (and still feeding) she still has it to a degree, even though the TTR was “successful”. I went to La Leche League, local breastfeeding counsellors and actually got great help from a couple of my peer supporter-trained Hypnobirthing clients, and so we continued- we plodded on, from one day to the next. I wasn’t going to quit whatever happened, but I wanted to try and make the whole thing easier on us both.

Lola was not that “good” baby people like to coo over and pat you on the back for. People called her “clingy” and “hard work”, unlike my “good” baby, Jackson- it made me very protective of her. She made my Hypnobirthing work a real trial, even though I worked from home! I had gone back to work a week after she was born, feeling fine in myself, but obviously knowing nothing about how to bed-in and set up good breastfeeding habits! At 11 weeks old we tried osteopathy- and for the first time, someone else calmed her. Sue, a wonderful osteo who I now refer all of my clients to, laid her hands gently and respectfully on Lola and did some gentle manipulation on her skull and diaphragm. It was truly miraculous, Sue explaining what she was doing (very refreshing after having various health professionals just manhandle my precious baby without a word of explanation) and Lola relaxing and sleeping on the treatment table- lying down! After one more treatment the reflux was vastly improved- Lola never liked traditional tummy time (BabyCalm have a solution for these babies!) but she could at least have her nappy changed without getting distressed!

And then, after finally cracking (my mother in law often commented on how patient she thought I was with Lola) and bursting into tears while on the phone to one of my previous Hypnobirthing clients who is also a peer supporter and a lovely friend, she suggested I brought Lola over to her house as she had an idea.

I’d heard about slings, but had no real idea what they would be used for other than maybe taking your baby hiking?! Chris had always wanted a carrier, so he’d bought a BabyBjorn when Jackson was a baby. I’d stopped him using it because I always thought it looked entirely wrong for a baby to be supported by his crotch! So I went to my friend’s house and she showed me her collection (a library in fact!) of wraps and soft carriers. I was worried I wouldn’t know how to put one on so she reassured me that a Close Carrier would be a good thing to try “babywearing” out with and wouldn’t get me in a muddle. So, feeling silly, I let her show me how to get myself into this odd, jersey cotton contraption with metal D-rings either side of my hips, and she showed me how to lower Lolly in (who was characteristically malhumoured by now) and tighten it. “That tight?”, “Yes, and close enough to kiss”…

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The Close Caboo Carrier

Just as she did in the osteopathic clinic, Lola was calmed, instantly. I moved around a little, she nestled in, feeling closer to me than ever before (hence the product name I guess) and actually, she seemed happier than when actually being held. It’s like she should have been supplied with a sling at birth! It was honestly the missing ingredient! Since then we really turned a corner. I knew a marvellous way of helping her sleep, helping her stay calm so she fed more efficiently and therefore less frequently, keeping her safe and being able to get time to brush my teeth without listening to a screaming fit, not to mention being so much more mobile- I like to travel light, never been a handbag girl, so being able to go shopping without a pram (getting all of that “isn’t she a good baby!”, “oh how cute is she!” that she’d previously missed out on!) simply changed our lives. We used a couple of other types and still have a Connecta for the odd times I want to back carry her, and for all the carrying and feeling safe, secure and close to her mother, Lola is a very happy, sociable little girl- very much braver than her big brother too!

I passed this amazing knowledge on to my wonderful Hypnobirthing parents who come from all different walks of life, and like me, some of them never would have known about how the right sling can transform your everyday life. In time I read more, learned more, passed more knowledge on, to the point where I needed to make it official. Having spoken to Sarah a couple of times for professional advice before, the subject of BabyCalm came up, and Sarah suggested I train up as a teacher and help her and the other brilliant BabyCalm teachers rev up the Maternal Revolution. So I did! And amongst all of the amazing things that BabyCalm is, and does, I look at what we do and think, “if only it was around for my little Jackson and Lola, we could have had access to easier and simpler solutions to the problems we faced in those early days of their babyhood”.

By Melissa Wadey – Mother and BabyCalm & ToddlerCalm Teacher in Kent

Find out more about Melissa and her baby and toddler classes HERE.

“Why don’t you ever put that poor baby down?” and How to Deal with Babywearing Negativity.

A huge thanks to Anne McEwan from Natural Mamas for this guest post:

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Carrying your child in a sling has many well documented benefits yet it often seems that society is still playing catch up. Parents using slings report negative reactions from friends, family and even complete strangers. Being told that a choice you are making for your child is wrong can be hard, especially if it is a choice that feels so right for you.

Why the negativity? 

When deciding how to deal with negativity to your choice to carry your child in a sling – or any parenting choice- it can be useful to consider why they feel the need to express the negativity in the first place. The vast majority of comments fall into these two categories:

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1) That is not what I did/would do and I feel judged by you or think you are crazy 
Regardless of whether you intend to judge someone else for not carrying their child, some people will allow their own insecurities to coax them into putting down your choice. Remarks from these people are often phrased in a ‘I could never do that’ or ‘It never harmed mine to go in a buggy’ way.

2) Lack of understanding 
Just very simply a lack of understanding as to why you would want to carry your child. Sometimes people react with ridicule to something that they have not encountered before as a way to hide their lack of knowledge. ‘Look at that woman with two heads’ or ‘can you not afford a pushchair’ are ways in which this can be expressed.

What can you do? 

The first thing you can do when you are approached in a way which feels negative to you is to examine whether it was meant to cause upset, is a misunderstanding or someone suffering from a case of foot in mouth syndrome.

It is possible for someone to say something which was meant in a very innocent way but which comes across as negative to you. By taking a step back and asking yourself whether you are being over sensitive you can gain an extra insight into the situation rather than going into defensive mode straight away.

If you have established that it was not merely an innocent remark you can then decide whether and how you want to respond. A teenager passing in the street may not be worthy of any response since it does not matter what they think of you, whilst a negative remark from a family member can have a much bigger impact.

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Tried and tested responses
These are some tried and tested responses to negative remarks. Choose the one that suits you and your situation best or have fun making up your own!

‘I love carrying him it makes both of us happy.’ 
The truth and nothing but the truth. So many reasons to carry but this is the most important of all and really it is also one that people should just be able to accept.

‘Carrying her is so easy. I wish slings like this had been as easily accessible when you had your babies.’ 
This one is great for those who you feel may have wished they had carried their children. It works in two ways. One, it gives an excellent non emotive reason for carrying and two, it empathises with them and expresses a wish that they would have been able to do the same.

‘I am sure carrying him has made him so much more confident, just look at how he loves to play with his train. Do you mind looking after him while I go and make a drink.’ 
If you feel that the person expressing the negativity is worried that they will not get to interact with your child in the way they had imagined, this can be a good way to redirect their attention. Please note that using this technique with a child who will scream when you leave their sight is probably counter productive…

‘Do you know I burn a lot more calories carrying her. It is great exercise and my back has never been stronger.’ 
A concern for the carriers back is often borne from an inability to understand how a soft sling distributes the weight evenly over your body. They imagine themselves carrying a child as heavy as yours and simply cannot imagine being able to do so.

‘Have you seen his latest trick? He can blow bubbles.’
Sometimes it is not worth your breath arguing or trying to explain. Focusing the attention on your gorgeous baby can then be the least confrontational way to move forward. After all, regardless of what they think, you are doing what you believe is best for your baby and as his parent you are in the ultimate position to make those decisions.

For some great independent advice on slings and babywearing see www.slingguide.co.uk 

Anne McEwan – Babywearing consultant and educator.
www.naturalmamas.co.uk The home of natural parenting.