Babywearing is the act of holding a baby close, particularly with a piece of fabric or specially made carrier. Often, mothers do not know about their options for babywearing after a cesarean, even if their cesarean was planned. The recovery can often be more difficult than expected, both physically and emotionally, making babywearing more difficult. The good news is that with minor adjustments, babywearing can be relatively simple and safe for mothers who have just had surgery.
The benefits of babywearing are numerous. Babywearing aids in bonding promotes breastfeeding and helps to free up caregivers’ hands for eating and drinking. In addition, those who have experienced cesareans relate that babywearing makes it easier to support themselves with their arms while changing positions, resulting in less abdominal strain.
Here are some tips for babywearing after a cesarean:
- It is generally a good idea to clear it with your medical provider before you attempt to wear your baby. You will want to wait until you are not taking narcotic pain medications so that your balance is not affected.
- Be aware of the basics of safe babywearing. Newborns (0-2 months) should always be worn tummy-to-tummy, following these TICKS guidelines:
T- tight (carrier should be snug, never loose)
I- in view (baby’s face should be visible so you can monitor breathing)
C- close enough to kiss (baby’s head should be high on your chest)
K- keep baby’s chin off of her chest (newborns have airways that need to be protected)
S- supported back (baby carriers should keep babies close to mom, never slumping)
- Carriers that may not be comfortable for several weeks after a cesarean include buckle carriers; such as an Ergo or Beco. While they are incredibly versatile carriers, the general consensus is that the stiff, thick waistband on these carriers can aggravate the incision. You might want to wait several weeks before trying to wear a baby in a buckle carrier.
- Generally speaking, these are the carriers that are considered more comfortable for after a cesarean-
All of these carriers have the capability of being uncomfortable if worn too tight or low on the waist. If a carrier doesn’t feel comfortable, try watching a video for more tips or get help from a local baby wearer. If you would like to find free babywearing help, look for a group near you at babywearinginternational.com.
With a little practice and persistence, most parents find a carrier to be an asset as they begin their journey as new parents. Savor those baby snuggles (it goes too quickly!), and happy babywearing! ~Sarah Lund