“Sometimes the littlest things take up the most room in your heart” – Winnie the Pooh
Although babywearing research is somewhat minimal, one area that has been studied quite a bit is the benefits of wearing for premature or medically fragile babies. In these situations, wearing can help create connections that not only help baby emotionally, but physically.
One often-cited study is a 2002 study looking at at premature babies who had a measured amount of skin-to-skin kangaroo care with their mothers. Kangaroo care done prior to due date showed positive benefits for “ infants’ physiological, emotional, and cognitive regulatory capacities” even as late as six months of age. If you need more extensive research, Boba has a great rundown of research on their site in their wonderful article on 20 reasons to use kangaroo care with your preemie.
If a video is more your style, micro-preemie parent and BWI VBE Melissa has a great series discussing the ins, outs, and how-tos of preemie wearing. She includes instructionals with her little one that show how to work with a baby on a monitor, so make sure to watch all four parts of the series!
Mom of six–including two preemies–and SoCal Babywearers leader Alena wrote a guest blog post for Central Missouri Babywearers discussing what she learned from her preemie-wearing experiences and the difference it made for her boys and her family. She finds that babywearing is “even more important for preemie moms to help recreate that womb-like experience for a baby that lost their nest too soon.” Mother of three and BWI Peoria educator Jill wrote a post for their blog about her preemie-wearing experiences: both the benefits and some of the challenges
And finally, a short discussion on technique from TheBabywearer gives specific tips on technique. [Registration required] TBW also offers a forum for working with babies with special needs, and is an indispensible resource for caregivers of all types of special needs babies.
ALL babies benefit from skin-to-skin contact with a caregiver, but for medically fragile babies, it can literally be life-changing. We’d love to hear your preemie-wearing stories in the comments!