Breastfeeding whilst Babywearing

May 11, 2015

Breastfeeding whilst Babywearing

Model is wearing Chic V Neck Nursing Dress £38, free P&P.

Written by Dalia from Add Honey titled 'Nursing on the go'
"I have always been a sling / carrier enthusiast ever since I read that babies in Africa cry less than their American counterparts. Babywearing allows mothers to anticipate their baby's needs before the baby becomes upset. I wore my daughter in a carrier as much as I could and really do believe she is a calmer toddler because of it.

I only realized the completely magical aspect of the carrier when I started nursing my son in it. It helped immensely with the newborn "witching" hours at night. By wearing my son in the carrier and nursing him simultaneously he was soothed quickly. The added benefit for me was that I was suddenly mobile again. I could wear the carrier and go for walks, and not worry about when and where I could feed my son. It was life changing for me as a mother of a newborn. The carrier's hood blocked any prying eyes and everyone assumed the baby was sleeping while in fact I was nursing in the grocery store, on the street, in a cafe and on the subway.

By keeping my son in the carrier, I believe it provided us with a special closeness in the early months. By being attached to me, he was able to be out in public but still safely in my arms and less exposed to germs from being passed around. I still nurse my 15 month old son in the carrier now. It provides me the mobility and ability to soothe and calm my growing toddler in a stressful, and over-stimulating world. 

Now when I pass a mother on the street with her carrier hood up, we exchange knowing looks. I know how she and her baby are peacefully passing the time under the carrier's hood. Just like me and my son.

The two carriers I used were the Baby Bjorn for newborns and the Ergobaby for infants and toddlers. These are the carriers I had, but nursing works in slings, wraps, structured carriers and others. The choice of carrier comes down to personal preference dependent on your physical shape, baby's size and choice of breastfeeding hold. "

How to breastfeed in a carrier:
1. Ensure you have mastered the skill of breastfeeding your baby and using a baby carrier before you combine the two.  In particular, you should practice breastfeeding using the Koala nursing position. Then practice breastfeeding in a carrier at home until you feel comfortable.

2. The majority of baby wearing breastfeeding is done in the upright tummy to tummy koala position however you can also nurse in the cradle position with the use of a ring sling or wrap. 

3. Choose a carrier that has good head support for newborns as they lack the control to keep their head upright. Once the baby has good head control, soft baby carriers can be used. 

4. For ease of feeding, wear a nursing top that allows you to lift up or move the neckline aside to latch baby on. This will offer you most coverage across your breasts from above and prevent you from dragging layers of clothing up from between you and your baby who's strapped firmly onto you. All our nursing tops have pull up or pull aside breastfeeding access and offer good coverage above the breast allowing for maximum discretion. 

Nursing tops, breastfeeding tops
From left to right: Sweetheart Nursing Tee, Soft Scoop Nursing Vest, Pretty V Neck Nursing Top, Effortless Scoop Neck Breastfeeding Top and Lace Trim Wrap-over Breastfeeding Cardigan available in other colours.

5. When babywearing, your baby's head should be high enough that you can kiss them on the head. When you breastfeed whilst baby wearing, you will need to lower baby's mouth to breast height to latch on and feed. This will mean adjusting the straps or sling to lower baby into a comfortable position.

6. When baby is lowered into position, unclip your nursing bra, pull up/aside your nursing top and help them latch on by cupping your breast. Click here for extra advice on creating a good latch and checking that baby is feeding well. 

7. Hold your breast in place as your baby nurses or support with the aid of a rolled up muslin cloth tucked underneath your breast.

8. To avoid suffocation or blocked airways, your baby's nose and mouth should never be covered whilst breastfeeding with the sling or your breast; their chin should not be on their chest and they should not be making unusual feeding noises. Always remain aware of them feeding when nursing in a carrier. When you hear your baby stop suckling, you should return them back up into the safe carrying position up on your chest bone. 

9. Given that baby nurses in the lowered koala position, it is more comfortable for the baby if you remain standing or moving giving you the freedom to explore & enjoy going about your daily business without baby's breastfeeding demands restricting your mobility.

Need more information?

Check out our Breastfeeding whilst Babywearing Pinterest board for images and instructional videos of mums breastfeeding whilst baby wearing to get the idea of what you're aiming for. 

Je Porte Mon Bebe have an amazing amount of instructional photos and videos on their FAQ page including safety and nursing tips. They also sell baby carriers and slings. 

Another good blog on the subject is 'Can I Breastfeed in this Carrier?’  by Modern Babywearing with a comprehensive guide on how to nurse in a variety of slings and carriers with some good images to accompany them.  

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