Carrying a baby with Down Syndrome in a Connecta
I love the Connecta! I thought I’d love my wraps more with my newborn but in all honesty I find myself reaching more and more for the easy-to-put-on Connecta. I like it especially for errands such as grocery shopping and doing the school run or for dog walking when I drive to the location, and have to take my son out of the car seat. A ring sling is also easy and fast to put on too, but it doesn’t give me two hands absolutely free ; I like to keep on hand on a ring sling. With the Connecta I can have both hands free to push a shopping trolley or hold the dog and I am confident that my baby is getting enough support as his body has reduced muscle tone.
My baby has an extra chromosome, known as Trisomy 21 or Down Syndrome and the condition comes with certain issues which make baby-wearing both important and slightly different to wearing a baby with the regular number of chromosomes.
Low muscle tone is often a feature of Down Syndrome but Charlie is lucky not to be as impaired as some babies, however he gets tired quickly and slumps down into a carrier if it does not support him enough. With the Connecta, I wear him high on my front and pull the straps quite tight so that he does not fall down inside too much. I also use the chest belt (provided for when you do back carries) to cinch in the bottom of the carrier so that he can be worn with his legs out. Charlie also has loose joints in his hips, ankles and shoulder plus impaired pain receptors, and therefore he might not complain if his joints are overflexed or in a poor position. This means I have to be aware not to spread his hips too far apart when carrying or to trap his limbs in uncomfortable positions. It also meant that putting him in the Connecta in a froggy, legs-in position as a newborn, did not work for him because his ankles flexed too far and he put too much weight on them. However, carrying a baby with Down syndrome, legs out, in an ergonomically designed carrier like the Connecta helps to position the hips in the best position for the baby and also helps babies increase their core muscle tone. Frequent baby wearing therefore counts as part of our physical therapy with Charlie..what could be better?
We use carriers on a daily basis with Charlie and I use the Connecta in a front carry, at least once every day. I wasn’t sure how our journey with baby wearing would be when we first had his diagnosis, but it is just the same as with my other children, only with a smidge more awareness of his needs.