I’ve been trying to write our story about babywearing and reflux for a while. I have found it difficult.
I was pregnant with my daughter when I trained as a babywearing consultant. I had this idyllic vision of using lots of beautiful woven wraps and fancy finishes, a great supply of Insta-worthy pictures. Real life was slightly different.
Her birth went okay and we went home the same day. The plan had always been to use the wraps and carriers. We live in a first floor flat with an awkward door, so our pushchair had to be precariously balanced on the stairs when trying to get in or out. Not ideal. Plus I already had a toddler to add into the mix. Wearing my youngest just made sense.
However, I quickly realised that my baby was crying a lot and she needed carrying around the flat, too. But unlike most babies, she didn’t just cry sometimes to show discomfort or hunger. She screamed and screamed in such a way that she could only be in pain. Sometimes she was inconsolable, angry, in pain for a few minutes. Sometimes it went on for hours.
It was so hard to know what to do. The only thing I could do was carry her, so at least she was close to me. The upright position brought her comfort and as she grew bigger and start arching her back it would help me hold her physically. By the time she was 4 months, I was exhausted and she was finally diagnosed with reflux.
For many babies, a big sign of reflux can be bringing up large quantities of milk, but she had a type called silent reflux. She was just screaming and we could hear her gulping at night but she was never sick. We didn’t give her any medication as our paediatrician kept reassuring us that she would grow out of it soon.
For most babies reflux eases and often disappears once they start eating, walking etc. But for us it lasted longer. So we carried on carrying. I was coping. When she turned one I went back to work. Then she caught a virus and she went back to waking up several times at night. It was now time for us to start medication.
Now my daughter is 2, thankfully her reflux is under control, and we are now able to use our carriers and wraps for fun adventures. I am in no way saying that babywearing made our life all rosy. In the case of reflux it doesn’t replace medication if that’s what is actually needed. But it can make a big difference.
Babywearing has allowed me to cope and to get out and about with my toddler. Life was hard and tiring for a long while. My daughter was in pain but we bonded, kept close, made memories. If she had been laid down in a pram every day she would have been screaming in pain and family trips to the playground or shops would have felt impossible.
It was hard physically and I made my relationship to babywearing a bit ambiguous. If I am honest there were days I didn’t feel like wearing her, but if I didn’t we wouldn’t function. I would sometimes have wanted to have my space and calm her in a different way. But babywearing was not all fun and fancy photos this time around. It was our solution, a necessity in our life. And I am very thankful for it.
Sonia Pinson is a Wear My Baby Consultant, based in Greenwich. She runs monthly drop-in events and offers one-to-one babywearing consultations in south east London. Follow Sonia on Facebook and Instagram.
Associate Consultant at Wear My Baby
Sonia has been babywearing since her first child was born in 2014. She loves sharing the benefits of carrying with other families and helping them, whatever reasons they have to carry. Sonia is based in Greenwich and covers surrounding areas in south-east and central London.