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Babywearing, Bonding and Postnatal Depression

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Rose Pride

on 23 October 2013

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Transcript of Babywearing, Bonding and Postnatal Depression

Babywearing, Bonding, Postnatal Depression and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
What if you don't feel like Babywearing?
"One of the benefits of babywearing (and this is going to sound a bit odd) is that you don’t have to look at your baby.
When I say that’s a benefit, I mean to mums with PND, as I’ll explain.

When your baby isn’t in contact with your body, it needs to reassure itself in other ways that it hasn’t been (and isn’t going to be) abandoned. So the baby tries to make eye contact with you and tries to get you to interact with it.

For mums with PND, it can sometimes be very hard to make encouraging eye contact with a baby in this way and if the baby is met with a blank or indifferent face that is a problem.

If, however, you are holding or wearing your baby, the baby is already reassured that everything is OK and doesn’t need to rely on your smiling face

As a result, the baby continues to form a good attachment with you, even at times when you perhaps couldn’t care less about the baby, so once the PND has subsided the baby hasn’t been harmed and you can get on with enjoying one another."


"Lisas" Story.....

"I had never felt so alone, isolated or depressed as I was after my son was born.

As the weeks went on, and the birth of my son began to sink in the loneliness continued to grow,

The darkness got worse. My son only slept when he was on me, attached in some way.
This sling was one of the small comforts I had during the early days.

No sleep clinic, breastfeeding advice or well meaning person could help much more than this clever piece of fabric did.

Night time was the worst - every 45 minutes i was up settling, feeding, trying to scrunch up this screaming, stiff and jerky baby. It took me 18 months before I started to come through the other side. At the time though, BW pathed the way towards the real world again. I could exercise - hiking, getting out, just living again!
'Chris' Story

"It became pretty clear H was not going to be an easy baby-he was unsettled from day 1. He only liked to be upright, was feeding constantly, lots of wind and lots of screaming, He was finally diagnosed with reflux.

I was in a chronic state of sleep deprivation and insomnia. I began to crash and burn...I was hoping i could pick myself up, i tried clarifying my thoughts, i walked for fresh air, i drank herbal teas, used essential oils and took time out for myself, but to no avail. I was exhausted, constantly anxious and an overwhelmed mess. i was SO cranky. I knew something was wrong.

Babywearing has been a lifesaver. Its been like a stable thread running through my life. I can cook, clean and be with my other children and allowed H to be upright for hours everyday to give him relief when he was in pain.

It's given me a sense of control as it is a tool that i know helps him. Most importantly it has helped to maintain and refill our bond.

Babywearing brings us calm, peace, serenity- it allowed me a chance to breathe, to think. For me, its an important part in managing my PND"
'Michelle's' Story....

I suspected i had PND when T was 8weeks old.

After struggling with breastfeeding again, wearing him so close whilst he had a bottle was the closest to a feeding relationship I was going to get.

These simple pieces of cloth were the only thing keeping me from a full breakdown.

If i became anxious or depressed and my mind wandered, I would stop what i was doing and listen and feel for T in the wrap- I would match my breathing with his sleepy snores. I would rub his little foot with my hand and take myself away from the dark place.

Each time i felt I'd healed a little and strengthened our bond.
What is Postnatal Depression?
Caused by a combination of biological, psychological (spiritual) and social (cultural) factors

Affects up to one in seven women giving birth in Australia.


Develops between one month and up to one year after the birth of a baby.

Occurs in all cultures and all socio-economic classes.

Most cases occur within 4 months post birth.
Can occur after you have been through a traumatic event.

Relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks.

Have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached from their baby,

Can impair the person’s daily life, including bonding with their baby.

9% of women will go on to suffer PTSD.

#1 cause of maternal post-partum deaths is suicide........
What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder?
"I had never felt so alone,
isolated or depressed
as I was after
my son was born."
"Babywearing pathed the way
towards the real world again.
I could exercise - hiking,
getting out, just living again!"
Oxytocin- The Hormone of Love....
Oxytocin (Greek for “quick birth”)

Released in its largest amounts immediately after the birth of a baby.

Responsible for uterine contractions, and the let-down reflex.

Released during hugging, touching, and orgasm in both sexes.

Helps facilitate empathy and bonding,

Involved in the formation of trust between people.


For further Support or Information

PANDA- Post and Antenatal Depression Association
http://www.panda.org.au/

Beyond Blue
http://www.beyondblue.org.au/

CARES Inc
http://www.caresinc.org.au/resources/emotional-recovery/
'Babywearing induced' Oxytocin Release, and its link to PND/PTSD
Reduces the stress response with PND and PTSD.

Recent research show that smelling (synthetic) oxytocin causes the acute PTSD symptoms to subside.

Positive effect on social interactions

Reduces emotional numbing


"If you are wearing your baby,
the baby is already reassured
that everything is OK
and doesn’t need to rely
on your smiling face"
courtesy of Jo Williams (naturalhealthandfamily.com)
"For mums with PND,
it can be very hard to
make encouraging eye contact
with a baby. "

"These simple pieces of cloth
were the only thing keeping me
from a full breakdown."
'Sonia's' Story

"I have a history of PTSD, and my son has been a poor sleeper, wakes frequently and screams in pain. So an issue has built itself around sleep, and my anxiety and fear grew around it.

After borrowing a friends stretchy wrap, our dependence upon babywearing to help with sleep grew.

Yet after 10months of little sleep I cracked- I was scared, distressed and anxious, so i sought help. The funny thing is, when i tell health professionals about how things have been they fear for my relationship with my son. and then they see our bond and they breathe a sigh of relief.

Babywearing has allowed me to breath in his sweet scent and kiss his head, forcing me to stay in the moment and enjoy him on me,... when all I wanted was for someone to come and take him away from me..... when I felt like I couldn't be the mother he needed,... when I was angry, fearful, so tired i could barely stand, I always had babywearing to fall back on.

I doubt O and I would be as strong as we are if I couldn't wrap him close to me when all i wanted to do was run away!

My choices (for sanity) were 'crying it out' or babywearing-I'm glad we have only ever known babywearing......
'Kate's' Story

"Babywearing helped me get
out of the house, which is so
important to mums with PND.

He would always fall asleep
in the wrap so i had no
worries about rushing home
for nap time,

I would often go for a walk
wearing him, to get fresh air
and to put him to sleep"
Babywearing helped me get
out of the house, which is so
important to mums with PND.
"Babywearing brings us calm, peace, serenity- it allowed
me a chance to breathe,
to think. For me, its
an important part in
managing my PND"

"I doubt O and I would be
as strong as we are
if I couldn't wrap him
close to me when all I
wanted to do
was run away!"
Full transcript