Caring for a newborn is not a simple task. After all, they demand so much time, energy, and attention because they are 100% dependent on caregivers for survival! The long days and sleepless nights can be daunting for new parents. It is especially hard for breastfeeding mothers, who spend hours every day (and night) feeding their sweet babies. Baby wearing can help new mothers multitask by allowing them to nurse baby in a carrier! Breastfeeding while baby wearing is a great trick to help new mamas survive those difficult newborn days!
Breastfeeding while baby wearing takes some practice. Not all moms are able to nurse baby in a baby carrier, so don’t fret if it doesn’t work out for you. Remember, if it doesn’t come easily when baby is two months old, try again in a month or two, and then again in another month or two. It may become easier as baby gets older and more efficient at breastfeeding!
How do you nurse a baby using a ring sling?
- Place your baby in the ring sling as you would normally wear her.
- When baby is ready to eat, loosen up the sling a little and pull baby lower toward your breast (baby should feed from the side you are wearing her).
- Using your other hand, slide your hand under the sling and maneuver your breast toward baby’s mouth.
- Make sure baby has a good latch, and then tighten the sling fabric to ensure that she is secure.
- Adjust the top of the sling as needed if you want more coverage.
- Tie your wrap carrier a little lower around your body, closer to your hips.
- Tie your wrap carrier as you usually would - but don’t double knot it, as you may need to make adjustments.
- Place your baby in the wrap, as usual. He will be seated lower on your body.
- Pull the wrap under your baby’s bottom and around his back, then pull the middle piece up and over his bottom, up to his back.
- Baby’s head should be at breast level.
- Gently guide baby’s face toward your breast and allow him to latch.
Again, it can take some time to get comfortable nursing a baby while wearing him or her! It takes lots of practice and time for adjustments. Try your best to remain confident and patient - focus on your goal, to be able to nurse while baby wearing, and allow yourself to embrace the process of learning with your baby on how to make it work! The best time to practice is not while you’re out and about. Set aside time to practice at home so you can enjoy privacy while you attempt to feed your baby. It may also help to not wait until baby is extremely hungry to begin the process of practicing nursing in a carrier. Anticipate baby’s hunger cues and don’t wait until he’s stressed out and very rushed to begin eating.
It also helps to wear clothing that makes breastfeeding easy. Wear a nursing bra, a nursing tank top, or a V-neck t-shirt to allow easy access to your breast. The last thing you want to do is fuss around with difficult clothing while trying to latch a hungry baby!
One perk of nursing while baby wearing is that you are hands-free - so you’ll be able to easily reposition baby and/or your breasts to make a perfect latch even easier. Don’t rush, take it slow, and make sure your baby is safe and secure in a carrier before beginning a nursing session.
Some troubleshooting tips:
- Do you have large breasts? You may want to try rolling up a receiving blanket or burp cloth to place under your breast to make it easier for baby to latch.
- Is baby having a hard time latching? Lean forward a little to make it more comfortable for your baby to find your breast.
- Does baby feel loose and wobbly in the wrap? Latch baby, and then tighten the straps of your carrier.
- Do you feel exposed? Adjust your carrier as needed. When using a ring sling, adjust the top part of the sling at your shoulder to allow for more coverage. When using a wrap carrier, adjust the two pieces of wrap fabric to wrap around the back of your baby’s head. If you are using a structured carrier, check if it has a head covering and use that attachment to cover baby’s head while she nurses.
Breastfeeding and baby wearing are a match made in heaven! Because skin-to-skin contact has been shown to be ideal for establishing a healthy breastfeeding relationship, baby wearing furthers that bond by allowing for close contact between mother and baby. Baby wearing and nursing can also be a wonderful way to allow mamas to be hands-free and multitask while feeding a fussy baby! Your baby may even fall asleep in the wrap after nursing. Always be sure to adjust the carrier after baby is done nursing to make sure she is safe and snug!