Skin-to-Skin


Meet Babywearing International of Tallahassee

In honor of International Babywearing Week, I interviewed my friends Ashley Anderson and Stephanie Lynn of Babywearing International’s Tallahassee Chapter. If you’d like to learn more about babywearing, there are regularly scheduled meetings, typically the First Friday and Third Saturdays each month, please visit the BWI of Tallahassee Facebook Group for current event details.

Babywearing International of Tallahassee

How did you ladies meet? We actually grew up about 30 miles from each other, but we never met until ICAN and Babywearing.

BWI TallahasseeWhat is your favorite part about Tallahassee? Ashley: I love the small town feel, even though it is much bigger than where I grew up! Stephanie: FSU football! It’s a big deal in our house and my husband bought me a wrap just because it reminded him of garnet and gold.

What is your favorite part about babywearing? Ashley: I love the closeness of babywearing and helping others experience that same closeness with their children. It was very natural for me to babywear, I was drawn to it immediately. Stephanie: I love wearing babies, mine or anyone else’s! I love the newborn snuggles, the infant who falls asleep from the motion while being worn. I love being able to contain the toddler-crazy, and being able to give my preschooler a ride when his legs have had too much walking.

BWI TallahasseeWho inspired you to become a Volunteer Babywearing Educator (VBE)? Ashley: Becky Lewis, the founder of the local BWI chapter, inspired me. She easily “tossed” babies on her back while continuing to calm them while teaching another mom to do the same thing was fascinating. Stephanie: Becky also inspired me to start babywearing and helped me figure out how I wanted to parent my children. It was never a talk that we had, it was just watching her with her kids (and other kids) that told me that was something I wanted to do. I enjoy helping families new to wearing find something that really works for their lifestyle. I became a VBE and helped establish BWI Tallahassee because I wanted to connect with other families in our area. That’s still true! I am thrilled to see returning families at our meetings and I hope it becomes a place where families can come enjoy time with other families, even if they don’t need babywearing help.

What is your favorite carry? Ashley: Lately, I’ve been loving the double hammock, but it changes frequently!   Stephanie: My favorite is the Pirate Carry (reinforced rear rebozo ruck), though we don’t get to use it much lately because leg straightening is my 14-month old’s new hobby.  

BWI TallahasseeNow for the fun questions! Where is one place you’d love to visit? Stephanie: I’d love to visit Bora Bora, but unless we hit the lottery it’ll never happen.

What’s your favorite holiday? Ashley: It is a tie between Thanksgiving and Christmas. I would gladly start Thanksgiving in July to have 3 full months of each. Haha! But fall is definitely my favorite time of year. The colors are amazing! Stephanie: My favorite holiday is Thanksgiving. It’s all the fun of Christmas without all the headache of shopping!

What’s your favorite animal? Stephanie: Kangaroo, of course because I’d we wearing my baby!

Most hated household chore? Ashley: I hate folding laundry! I’ve mastered the laundry mountain lately and somewhat miss its presence. Stephanie: I detest laundry and mopping. I do at least one load of laundry every day, but I make my husband do all the sweeping and mopping.Babywearing Tallahassee

Do you have any hidden talents? Stephanie:I have the entire carrier library memorized, including colors and most weight limits. I also easily remember number sequences.

What is your biggest moment? Ashley: Having my son Colin was my biggest moment. He is amazing. I sometimes have a hard time believe I had a hand in creating him.

 

 

 


Learning Early Breastfeeding Cues

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One of the absolutely MOST important things for a new parent is your learning your baby’s feeding cues.

A lot of people think a baby crying is the first sign of hunger but that’s actually one of the LAST cues.

When your sweet baby starts stirring, that is the very first sign that he’s ready for milk. His tummy is ready for a refill and is waking him up so he can get to it.

The more visible cues are the more physical ones: smacking or licking his lips, gnawing on his hands, rubbing his hands anywhere around his face, stretching, etc. Those are his way of saying, “Hey, if you put me near a breast, I’d be very happy to eat.”

If he has woken and has given all the other signs of readiness but nursing hasn’t begun, then he will pull out the big guns, telling you all about his displeasure at the lack of milk traveling to his belly.

 

Two real life scenarios:

Your baby is giving you the “I’m hungry” cues but also has a dirty diaper. Yes, another one. What do you do?!? Well, that’s your decision, but what I would suggest is that a full baby would probably tolerate a diaper change rather than a hungry one. Just a guess, though.

Your baby has given you all the signs, but for whatever reason, you have not been able to get to him fast enough (it happens, be gentle to yourself, please!). Now, he’s moved on and is doing his best impression of the babies on the bottom of the above chart… All three at once! What do you do now?!?!?!? The answer is NOT put him to the breast. I can tell you from personal experience that a baby yelling at the boob is one of the most stressful moments of a new mother’s life. No, instead, place your baby on your chest, give him time to reconnect with you skin-to-skin, for you both have a moment to find your calm, to take a collective breath and start over again together. Then, try to latch baby for the feeding.

 

A side note, but sometime to file away in the important parenting skills section of your sleep-deprived brain: Skin-to-skin can bring you both back to center, not just in these moments. File that away for the next rough moment with baby.

 

I joke with my clients that every time they think their baby is cute, they should probably assume he is also hungry. Babies need to be fed 8-12 times a day (which averages out to about every 2-3 hours). If he’s feeding more often than that (can be referred to as “cluster feeding”), it can be because of growth spurts, building your supply, or just because he needs to be near you, just as he has been for the last nine months or so.

 

If you’re interested in speaking with me more about breastfeeding and early cues, please contact me at Leslee@BoldBirth.org or (850) 597-2535.

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