Does Babywearing Really Reduce Crying?

In 1986, a study was published concluding that three hours of “supplemental” carrying reduced crying in newborns. The results sound impressive: infants in the supplemental carrying group cried 43% less overall and 51% less during the evening hours than infants who were not given supplemental carrying. Contemporary babywearers often share these statistics to encourage people to try using infant carriers.

But is that really accurate? What does the article really say? What has subsequent research shown? Why is crying such a big deal? If babywearing doesn’t reduce crying, is it worth it to try it? Continue reading

Babywearing & Cerebral Palsy

This post includes excerpts from my post on the Iowa City Babywearers website in Feb. 2018. In the full post, I describe a specific case and how ICBW assisted a mother who wanted to safely “wear” her CP toddler, click here to read. 

About Cerebral Palsy

There is no cure for cerebral palsy. While symptoms become more noticeable with age the disease is not progressive. Preterm births, twins, and infants who experience difficult births, or head trauma during or after birth are most likely to have cerebral palsy. In some cases, it is caused by infection or environmental toxins during pregnancy and in very rare (2%) of cases, the cause is genetic. Nearly 80% of people with cerebral palsy have structural problems in the area of the brain that control movement, balance, and posture; and some will experience seizures. Continue reading

A Few Billion Years of Evolution

Are you curious about how life evolved on planet Earth? Well, grab a snack and a beverage and settle in for a few billion years. Here in part one, I am going to cover earth’s history from the start of life to the evolution of our hominin ancestors, from 4.6 billion years ago to around six million years ago. For some, this will be all new information and for others a bit of a refresher; for everyone, if you have questions, please don’t hesitate to ask.   Continue reading

The Pope’s Photo

DSUjCNPW4AYTc1CThe Pope has been handing out a photo called “the fruits of war” taken in 1945 after the bombing of Nagasaki by  Joe O’Donnell, a photographer for the U.S. Marines. The story is that the boy was standing in line at a crematorium with his dead baby brother on his back. Combined with the backstory it is an incredibly poignant testament to the destruction of war. And I hate to interfere with efforts to warn against war…

However.

I don’t think that baby is dead. Continue reading

Babywearing in Hogarth’s London

hogarth mach of the guards 1750
The original painting hung at the Foundling Museum in London.

In honor of William Hogarth’s birthday, November 10th, I would like to analyze the babywearing featured in his March of the Guards to Finchley, painted in 1750. During the summer of 2017, I was fortunate to visit the Foundling Museum in London and see it in person.

It is important to note that babywearing is a very recent term associated with concepts, like attachment parenting, that was unheard of in the 18th century– I use the term here as a verb to describe “use of an infant carrier”.

Hogarth is one of my favorite artists. The level of detail, the characterization, and subject matter of his paintings and etchings keep me coming back again and again to find something new. Hogarth revolutionized the public’s consumption of art with mass-produced etchings of his painting sold on subscription. He is well known for his moralistic series of The Rake’s Progress and The Harlot’s Progress (the latter of which was made into a miniseries). His style combines realism and the satirical, the serious with the bawdy. Continue reading

Transport Response

Anyone who has cared for a newborn as been there. That moment when you feel like you have tried everything to soothe your crying baby and you just want to sit down and cry yourself. But what if there was some magic trick that would calm your baby and brighten your own mood? According to science there just might be some magic in taking a walk with your baby– but you’ll need to carry them for the full benefit. Continue reading

Baby Feet

When a chimpanzee is born, they are able to grasp their mother’s fur with their hands and feet and cling on effectively within weeks. A human newborn is not as strong or directed in their efforts though they still retain some of the so-called primitive reflexes from our common primate ancestor which fade as a human baby gets older. Newborn humans can strongly grasp with their hands (palmar grasp reflex) and they can flex their toes (plantar reflex)  but due to their foot morphology, which lacks an opposable hallux (a big toe that looks more like a thumb) they cannot grasp with their feet as they do with their hands.

This is a problem for a species of “riders“, mammals whose breastmilk composition requires them to carry their baby with them for frequent feedings, unlike “parkers” whose offspring can be left for long stretches while their mother hunts or forages (or goes to the bathroom by herself for crying out loud!) If a baby cannot cling to it’s unlikely to survive, most rider mothers cannot afford the extra energy (literally in the form of calories) to carry their infant and it would certainly slow her down in the face of danger. Even if the mother did everything in her power to carry and protect her baby, the odds are against their survival and so that babies trait, the trait for not being able to cling on, wouldn’t get passed on. Unless of course, the mother was clever enough to make a technological adaptation for easier carrying… (you see where I am going here). Continue reading