Babywearing and Autistic Caregivers

Shared with kind permission from Sarah Selvaggi-Hernandez of the Autistic OT

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Did you wear your baby? I did! All the time, mostly in a sling ring or woven wrap. I had a million+1 people tell me to put my baby down more, teach him to self soothe, etc. However, that advice did not resonate with me OR my baby. 😂
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So I wore him. Often.
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Benefits to me as an autistic mother:

  • Reduced vestibular – I’m extremely sensitive to vestibular input, especially inversions. Bending over to pick up/put down baby frequently would be dysregulating.
  • Reduced auditory – my baby cried less. Freaking huge.
  • Reduced dynamic tactile – when you wear your baby, there’s much less overall flaily movement. I have a looooow tactile threshold, so having a cocooned snuggly baby was helpful.
  • Increased proprioception – talk about heavy work! Carrying around a sack o’ baby was extremely regulating.
  • Pleasingly patterned visual stimuli – oh, the repetitive goodness of looking at each eyelash, following the curve of his cheek, and the swirl of his hair curls… 😍
  • BABY SMELL – enough said
  • Increased stimuli for baby cues – I’m low reg, which means I sometimes need a LOT of sensory input before I notice something. With baby wearing, I had a lot more clues that baby needed something because of his wriggles, wiggles, sounds, and smells. Therefore, I could attend to his needs more quickly, reducing the need for him to cry to communicate. Win-win.

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There’s probably more, but I just had this big ah-ha! moment and wanted to share. And obviously, there’s many benefits for baby!
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One experience does not fit all! But I do think babywearing can be helpful for parent/caregiver + baby for many reasons.

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Read another mother’s story about how babywearing helps her autistic child here.