BREASTFEEDING WHILE BABYWEARING, PART 1
From the tiniest breastfeeding newborn to the most independent of nurslings who are past infancy, mamas across the world love to snuggle and nurse their little ones in carriers.
Let’s look at one type of carrier today – the mei tai, or Asian-inspired baby carrier.
|Here, Jennifer peeks in at her 19 day old newborn nursing in a Silly Goose Baby Mei Tai.|
Many mamas love the support and versatility of mei tais – you can wear baby on the front or back.
|Audra breastfeeds her three month old in a mei tai carrier.|
If you are nervous about using your mei tai, try watching an instructional video first. Here is a video tutorial for a front carry, here is one for a back carry. You can also check out this list of tips and these instructions (including slideshows) for using your mei tai carrier.
|Nicole nurses her 10 month old in a Babyhawk mei tai.|
|Megan breastsfeeds her 21 month old in a homemade mei tai.|
A few of our readers lament that they’ve never been able to master breastfeeding in a mei tai.
BREASTFEEDING WHILE BABYWEARING, PART 2
Judging from the number of pictures we received from mamas nursing in wraps, our readers would love to gift every breastfeeding mother a long stretchy wrap, also known as a “simple piece of cloth” or SPOC. The most popular stretchy wrap among our readers is, hands down, the Moby Wrap.
|Danielle breastfeeds her two month old in a Moby Wrap.|
Once you get the hang of wrapping it around you and positioning baby inside, a stretchy wrap makes hands-free holding and nursing relatively easy. Jen fondly remembers making pizza (the dough from scratch!) for guests – all the while nursing her little one in a Moby.
And while many mamas prefer a stretchy wrap when their babes are smaller (up to six months or so), others keep on using one for much longer.
|Kayla nurses her 12 month old in a bright pink Moby Wrap.|
But Moby isn’t the only brand of wrap on the market – one of our readers makes and sells her own organic version of the stretchy wrap.
|Emmanuelle nurses her 6 week old in a CurlyMonkey Organic Stretch Wrap.|
|The CurlyMonkey Organic Stretch Wrap is comfortable enough to nurse a 16-month-old babe too!|
Some mamas prefer to nurse their babes upright in stretchy wraps.
|Jenn nurses her 3 month old in a Sleepy Wrap.|
Others like the support a stretchy wrap gives to a baby who would rather lie down.
|Jenni’s 6 month old reclines while breastfeeding in a Moby.|
But you don’t need a fancy label on your wrap – you can make one yourself! There’s a reason it’s called a “simple piece of cloth,” all you need is a length of cotton gauze and a sewing machine or serger to finish the edges. Monkey Sew Monkey Do has an easy tutorial that even the most novice of sewers can follow.
|Anita nurses her precious two-day-old newborn in a homemade SPOC.|
Not sure how you’d wrap such a long piece of cloth around you? Try one of the many tutorials. MobyWrap.com offers a comprehensive PDF with pictures; my husband and I (1) perfected our wrap technique by watching the dad in this YouTube video. Here’s an excellent review and tutorial from Hobo Mama.
Keep trying – you’ll get the hang of it! You might get some fussing from baby, who will probably get tired of being taken in and out of it during the learning curve, but eventually she’ll thank you for letting her snuggle and nurse, warm and close to your body. (This picture tutorial on nursing in a wrap might help!)
|Christina nurses her eight month old (with amazing eyes!) in a Moby Wrap.|
Do/did you like to nurse your little one in a Moby? Please share your tips/tricks in the comments for our readers who haven’t quite gotten the hang of it.
(1) “My” being Dionna and my hubby Tom.
BREASTFEEDING WHILE BABYWEARING, PART 3
We’re celebrating International Babywearing Week by featuring some of our readers’ stories and pictures while breastfeeding their babies in carriers.
|Sara nurses her 3 week old in a ring sling.|
The classic baby carrier?
The ring sling: a piece of fabric with rings on one end, looped around mama so baby can fit snugly inside.
The ring sling works for newborns . . .
|Mallory nurses her 23 month old in a GriffinFamilyCrafts ring sling.|
on up until about 30 or 35 lbs.
Kirsten loves her ring slings – she has some from Sleeping Baby Productions, Over the Shoulder Baby Holder, and Sling Fling Sling. Kirsten says that ring slings are perfect for breastfeeding “even now that my daughter is 14 months old and 23 lbs. I actually wore her in a ring sling while walking the Bronx Zoo last week and breastfed while walking. By the way, she’s half as tall as I am.”
|Joseane nurses her 3 month old in a BabySling|
You don’t need to be on dry land to nurse in a ring sling, Sarah uses a solarveil ring sling for nursing in the pool on a hot summer day.
|Coralissa breastfeeds her 12 month old in a PSling.|
Mallory shares her favorite part about ring slings: “The same sling that I loved with my 10 lb newborn still works with my 30 lb toddler. A plus is that I can use the tail to cover my tummy when he’s nursing.”
|Tonya breastfeeds her 7 month old in a PSling.|
|Ashleigh nurses a sleepy 6 month old in a MilkyBaby sling.|
We were a book signing for Jim Butcher in Kansas City — I went with my then 13-month-old son, my sister, her rooomate, and a friend in full-plate armor. We got there at about seven, and lo and behold — it was a three hour wait (and well worth it). Thankfully I thought to bring the Baby K’tan I own, which I’d only had for about two months; by 9:00 my son was well past his bed time, overstimulated, and getting grumpy.
Twelve people back from the author, I began to realize that the only thing that was going to put my son to sleep was nursing. He’s too big for the cradle position, so I pull my breast out the top of my shirt and let him nurse as he is. Between my shirt, the carrier, and his head nestled on my chest, no one was the wiser. Even my armored friend looked right at me and went, “Oh, wow, he’s breastfeeding — I had no idea!”
Still, all I could think was please, please don’t let me be nursing while I meet Jim Butcher. While I’m all in for public nursing, all I could imagine was at just the wrong moment my son would unlatch, and my boob would just come flying out in front of this author I really admire. Luckily, my son was done before it was our turn to get our book signed.
|Stephanie breastfeeds her 10 month old in a Maya Wrap.|
|Anita shows off her homemade ring sling while nursing her 11 month old.|
|Katie peeks in at her nursing 6 month old in a Taylor Made sling.|
|Sara’s 23 month old nurses comfortably in a BabyEtte sling.|
|Joseane nurses hands-free with her 3 month old in a BabySling.|
Do you love your ring sling? Why or why not?
BREASTFEEDING WHILE BABYWEARING, PART 4
The resounding response to the question, “what is your favorite carrier to nurse in?”
A soft structured carrier, the most popular of which is the Ergobaby.
|April breastfeeds her 6 month old in an Ergo.|
Soft structured carriers like the Ergo help distribute baby’s weight more evenly around your hips and back, so you are less likely to get sore shoulders (an unfortunate side-effect sometimes when wearing baby in a ring sling).
|Breastfeeding a sweet 4 month old in an Ergo Sport.|
One of the best things about most soft structured carriers are their versatility – you can wear baby in the front or the back. Along with the support, this makes it easier to carry baby for longer distances.Lisa shares: “the Ergo is super easy! We went to the Memphis Zoo this summer when my son was 7 wks and I nursed him while we walked around. We were with some friends and she didn’t even notice I was nursing until I switched sides.”
Amy assures us how discreetly one can nurse in an Ergo: “I LOVED nursing in my Ergo. I nursed her so often, in so many places and in front of so many people who would have otherwise been aghast. Alas, they never knew.”
|Suzi communes with nature while nursing her 8 month old in an Ergo.|
Christiana prefers the Ergo for ease of breastfeeding: “I’m joining the Ergo bandwagon – love it! I’ve nursed in a Babyhawk mai tai as well, but the Ergo wins for me because of the ease of loosening the straps to drop the baby to the best height for her to eat. I feel like she’s securely in there the whole time (not that I’ve had a mai tai fall off).”You can read a great review of the Ergo at Adventures in Babywearing. And here’s a video tutorial on how to nurse in the Ergo.
|Nursing a 14 month old at the beach in an Ergo.|
We’ve featured several popular types of carriers as we celebrate “breastfeeding while babywearing”: mei tais, stretchy wraps (or SPOCs), ring slings, and now soft structured carriers. But there are many other types of carriers that may work for you. Here are a few more pictures of our readers breastfeeding while babywearing:
|Kristi makes dinner while breastfeeding her 20 month old in a homemade pouch sling.|
|Dorothy nurses her 11 month old in a hip carrier – the Side Rider.|
|Melissa snuggles up to a sweet 3 month old in a Beco Butterfly 2 – another type of soft structured carrier.|
What is your favorite baby carrier to breastfeed in?