Eyes on the Prize: In Sync with Your Baby
Have you ever found yourself watching the deep rise and fall of your baby’s chest, silent “air nursing” indicating a dream about milk, or the gentle flutter of your little one’s eyelashes? Most of us would agree – your baby is perfect in your eyes, and probably the most beautiful thing you’ve ever seen.
It makes it even more gratifying to know that there’s a purpose and many benefits to keeping your eyes on your little one!
In the first four months, we must remain vigilant about baby’s placement at all times, but especially when he or she is being worn. Since babies have a very delicate airway, keeping him or her upright and in a high tummy-to-tummy position on the caregiver is very important. This helps to mimic the way you would hold a new baby in your arms while giving baby enough space for you to put 1-2 adult fingers between his chin and chest to allow your little one to breathe easily. If baby’s chin is pressed down toward his chest, or his nose and mouth are resting near your body, your little one’s vulnerable airway can become restricted.
For your child’s safety, ensure that baby’s head and neck are completely supported. Your little one’s face should not be covered from view at any time, and must be clear of any possible obstructions, including blankets, carrier accessories, nursing covers, or hats. If you’d like, allow her to rest her cheek gently on your chest – it can be a comfort to hear your heart – but stay aware, and ensure that her chin never falls to her chest. Check on your baby often and reposition as needed for safety and comfort.
All safety considerations of keeping your baby within line of sight aside, the great news is that positive emotional experiences with your baby, such as eye contact and talking to your little one, provide the foundation for brain development and social skills, and help forge a strong emotional connection with him! When you meet your baby’s eyes or respond to his needs, he knows that he is safe and secure.
Neurobiologist Allan Schore wrote a book called Affect Regulation and the Origin of the Self, in which he examined the socioemotional results of the “attuned” relationship between baby and caregiver. Dr. Schore found that responding to baby’s feelings through sensory modalities (such as through eye contact, for instance) actually stimulates an infant’s brain, releasing a combination of chemicals that helps calm and prepare the baby for learning and development. Attachment between the parent and child, especially during the critical periods of early development, actually helps support healthy development of your child’s brain! Plus, you get to see your sweet little one’s face:
Babywearing safely requires you to be in sync with your baby at all times, and being in sync with your baby helps support healthy brain development! Win-win! Keep your eyes on the prize, keep your baby nice and high and within view, attend to your little one’s needs, and know that you are giving them the best gift of all – your love and attention, and the foundation for a happy, healthy life!
Cassiopeia Guthrie is Tula’s Project Superhero and Conductor of Awesome. She brings over a decade of experience in education and a background in publicity, event management, educator training, and non-profit program administration to Team Tula. Cassiopeia has a passion for mentorship and support and a heart for service, and has been involved in the babywearing community since the birth of her older son, where she enjoys giving back by volunteering as a babywearing educator. Cassiopeia believes strongly in supporting others in gaining the skills and confidence to be successful babywearers or educators, and is an optimist who believes in integrity, ownership, kindness, and action.