As soon as I found out that I was pregnant, I was onto Amazon looking for books. I wanted to be prepared and like many new parents, I downloaded several pregnancy apps (What to expect when you’re expecting, Sprout to name a few) and became familiar with ‘what to expect’ now that I was expecting. Whilst in the Amazon store buying up lots of books about pregnancy, I stumbled across a book called the Happiest Baby on the Block by Harvey Karp. I hadn’t really thought much past the birth at this stage, but I knew I wanted my baby to be happy and to sleep – so the title caught my eye!
Each month in a childs’ development brings a new set of challenges, a new set of skills and a new set of frustrations for loving parents. We often assume we will have a good baby and don’t think about how or why our babies might cry or fuss in the first year before they develop language, let alone how we could quickly sooth their cries or stop their fussing. Starting your journey with great resources is about building confidence so that parents feel armed to tackle the new challenges as they continue to arise (and as I’m assured by older ladies in the supermarket, the challenges are still coming when your children are having their own children!). As your baby emerges from the first 3 months (or the 4th trimester as Harvey Karp and many paediatricians now refer to it), a whole new set of questions for parents emerge! I found that “How babies Think“, “Brain Rules for Baby” and “The Wonder Weeks” were all great resources that provide insight into your babies growing mind and helps to keep you in their teeny tiny shoes in these first all important years.
Here are DBL, like Harvey Karp, John Medina, Alison Gopnik, Frans Plooij and Hetty van de rijt, we want you to have the happiest and most content tiny human around. We want people to come up to you in the street and compliment you on your happy child, we believe that happy and confident parents breed happy and confident children, so a good set of resources to reference to build confidence are essential.
Dunstan baby advocates from across the globe believe that it is possible to quickly calm your fussing baby by tuning into their cries and listening to understand. We often get letters and emails from parents telling us that they love the system, they know that it works and ask; is there more? We even had one person ask if we could release dunstan baby for pets so that they could decode their cats meows! In short, we have more to share and we will be releasing more sounds in our app next year.
Using the DBL system helped me personally understand my baby and also feel like I had the answers, so as she grew older I knew that if I tuned into her, eventually I would work it out. At DBL, we believe that all parents have this special gift, the ability to connect with their child to understand their unique needs. We know that it can sometimes take time, so utilise the resources around you, ask questions, validate your gut feel and continue to be the wonderful parents that you are!
We’d love to hear what other resources (aside from DBL) were instrumental in helping you build confidence with your baby – please leave a comment!
If you want to be able to tune in to your baby and hear the Dunstan-words they say to communicate their needs, you need to be able to listen to what sounds your baby makes before they start crying. To be able to do this, you need to be close to your baby. Wearing your baby is great for this. Apart from being able to respond to their needs quickly and easily by hearing and seeing what they need, it comes with lots of added benefits.
Wearing your baby promotes bonding, for both mum and baby and increased touch can help keep post partum depression at bay for mums. Babywearing also reduces infant crying. That is not an opinion, it has been found through research that babies that are carried for at least three hours a day cry nearly half as much as babies that weren’t. And happy baby equals happy mum.
Babies thrive on touch. Kangaroo care is used for premature babies to help regulate their heartbeat and breathing. Premature babies that are held and touched gain weight faster and are healthier than babies who aren’t. That goes to show how important touch is to babies, it is in fact directly related to their health and wellbeing.
On top of that, slings are just so convenient. They make breastfeeding easier, not just because baby is close anyway, but it is great for discreet breastfeeding in public, taking away some of the nerves first time breastfeeding mums may have about it. I have no idea how mums of multiple children can do without. Slings saved my life when my second baby came along. I could get active with my toddler and have my baby close.
However, it’s not just the carrying that is important. It’s also the way they are carried. So make sure you invest in an ergonomical carrier for your baby that allows your baby to sit in a froglike position promoting optimal hip positioning, rather than a harness where their legs are straight.
There is a great variety of slings available to suit everyone’s needs. There are long pieces of cloth you can learn to tie, slings with rings, carriers with buckles and everything in between in all shapes, colours and designs you can dream of. How do you pick one? Look around for a local sling library and try before you buy!
An example of the type of slings we LOVE here at DBL include the ErgoBaby – You can buy them at www.bellaslittleones.com.au
Notes:Pelaez-Nogueras M, Field TM, Hossain Z, Pickens J. (1996). Depressed mothers’ touching increases infants’ positive affect and attention in still-face interactions. Child Development, 67, 1780-92. Hunziker UA, Garr RG. (1986) Increased carrying reduces infant crying: A random-ized controlled trial. Pediatrics 77:641-648 Current knowledge about skin-to-skin (kangaroo) care for pre-term infants”. J Perinatol. 1991 Sep;11(3):216-26. The Benefits of Babywearing, http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb/nbnovdec04p204.html, 30/09/2013 Healthy hips – busting some myths, http://sheffieldslingsurgery.wordpress.com/2013/09/19/healthy-hips-busting-some-myths/ http://ukslinglibraries.wordpress.com/find-a-sling-library-near-you/