Looking Back: A Baby’s Needs

Clare Vettar, Kentucky

Published in the January-February 1983 issue of La Leche League News (originally from the Kentucky LLL newsletter, Bluegrass Babes). The first issue of La Leche League News, the bimonthly publication for members, was published in 1958. The name changed to New Beginnings in 1985. New Beginnings continued to be published by La Leche League International until it was transferred to LLL USA in 2010. In 2014, it transitioned to its current blog format at www.lllusa.org/blog/.

Editor’s Note: In today’s blog post, originally published nearly 40 years ago, the author writes about a typical day in her life and the benefits she experiences while babywearing her newborn son. During this busy holiday season, it’s easy for both parents and children to feel overwhelmed by the extra noise and activity going on around them. What a great reminder that, even though our families’ challenges might look much different from the author’s life of 40 years ago, babywearing remains an excellent and practical tool for not only helping our little ones feel safe and secure but also for allowing us to have our hands available for the work around us.

Mother breastfeeding her baby in a carrierI have a six-week-old infant named Matthew Amadeus. Matthew loves to be held, carried, jostled, and, of course, nursed. He loves the sound of his brothers’ voices and their giggling, screeching, scrambling-for-favorite-toy noises. He becomes attentive to their super hero antics. His eyes sparkle. He likes the excitement.

He loves cuddling, too. We cuddle skin to skin. Matthew is safely secured to me by the baby carrier. His body sways and bumps a bit as we pick up the playroom and make beds. He hears the door slam, the dog bark, and the phone ring. He is only a little startled, but not frightened or upset by the noise and the hectic day in our household because he is close to me.

Everyone knows babies like movement – consequently the equipment: cradles, carriages, swings, jump-ups, and strollers. The trouble is that all these things separate him from the source of movement he longs for – his mother’s arms. Physical contact, if not skin-to-skin contact, comes throughout the day for Matthew while I do housework, chop vegetables, or go for a walk. This contact is so important to his physical development and to his cognitive perception of the world and how he’ll cope with it. Because he is warm, safe, and secure next to me, he can handle the startles in life. He can take it all in stride and learn to love life. He’ll grow from feeling secure in my arms to feeling secure in our world.

I am avoiding the baby equipment as much as possible and am allowing Matthew to enjoy movement through me.


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