Parenting

Moms Who Inspire: ToddlerBrain82

Suzanne Murray
16


slings babywearing moms making a difference volunteer work with babies

photo by ToddlerBrain82

Bonding with son Sebastian

As you well know, raising a toddler is a tough, tiring job. Add to that everything that running a household entails (cooking, cleaning, shopping) and there's never enough time to spend on yourself—never mind anyone outside your immediate family and friends. Yet spending what little free time they have helping others is what some of the amazing moms here on CafeMom do. HeadMutha, group owner of Mothers Making a Difference, helps out kids in Africa. And ToddlerBrain82 makes time to help out those in need as well.


"Help me make slings and wraps for babies." This is the title of a journal post that TodderBrain82 wrote back in January and it made me want to read on to find out what she was up to. It turns out she's using her "free time" to make slings for babies of addicts who end up in the NICU. I talked to her to find out more.

Can you explain a little about the sling-making program you're involved in?
It's not actually a "program" but just something I am individually going to do. If friends and family want to help me, of course, they are more than welcome! But since I have more time at home now that I've become a stay at home mom, this is a project I can do in my spare time that will be helping mothers and their new babies.


Why are you focusing on moms who are in substance abuse treatment and recovery?

There's a start-up program in my county called Bridging. The agencies taking part in it help make a "bridge" between the NICU, where almost all addicted babies are born, and our rural county, where they will be coming home to. The agency that I worked for before I became a "stay at home mom" was taking part in this program, and even though I don't work there anymore I wanted to do something to help. During one of the trainings I attended, the topic of babywearing came up, and we spent quite some time talking about how beneficial it would be for both the mothers and the babies if they received a free sling or wrap when they came home from the hospital.


How will the NICU babies and their moms benefit from babywearing?
Babies whose mothers have been in methadone treatment or who are using other opiates are often born with Neonatal Abstinence Syndrome, or NAS. NAS babies tend to be very irritable, cry frequently and sometimes inconsolably, have trouble getting started breastfeeding, and often have problems with self-regulation such as body temperature or heart rate. Even babies who are perfectly healthy and have not been born addicted to drugs can benefit enormously from being worn against the mothers body. In my opinion, the benefits for the babies who are more fussy and difficult to soothe are even greater. I also see benefits for the mother/child bond, because mothers bond more easily with babies who are not cranky and screaming. My theory is that more time that the baby spends snuggled against mom's skin, the more time that mom and baby can focus on falling in love with each other and getting their relationship off to a good start.


Being a Stay at Home Mom to a toddler is a lot of work—how do you find the time?

Bedtime and nap time are wonderful!


You could be spending that time doing other things for yourself or your family. Why did you choose to help others?
I feel very fortunate and blessed to be able to be a "stay at home mom" during these hard economic times, and this is definitely a way that I can give back to my community. I have always enjoyed hands-on volunteer activities so I am very excited to get this project underway. I think it's important to volunteer in your community and help others in some way, because there is always somebody who has it worse than you, no matter how bad you think your own situation is.

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I think ToddlerBrain82 is simply fabulous for undertaking this important project. If you'd like to help her out, PM her or read this journal entry for details. MemaSu has already very generously sent her a box of fabric.

If you'd like to find out how you can get involved in helping others, check out Mothers Making a Difference.

Who inspires you? Do you know a mom who makes a difference?



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