The early days of motherhood are a blur for me. Breastfeed, change a diaper, cat nap, repeat. Maybe I ate, maybe I showered...I don't know, I can't be too sure. One of the few things that I learned to do in the early days that saved me immensely was babywearing. Babywearing allowed me to take walks, eat a meal (albeit with a lot of crumbs on my sweet baby's head) and get out in the world, all while keeping my baby content. I even nursed in my carriers and wraps and no one was the wiser. Babywearing and breastfeeding saved my life in the first few weeks postpartum and in the years to come as well. Today I'd like to highlight a recent post by Ashley Barrett of Babywearing with Ashley.
Ashley has 7 years of babywearing experience and is certified through the Babywearing Institute. She is also a mother of three, Lactation Educator, aspiring IBCLC and owner of Monkey Bunns (www.monkeybunns.com). With all this knowledge and experience under her belt she recently wrote an awesome blog post about breastfeeding and babywearing. I thought I'd highlight this topic because 1. I get asked about this ALL the time and 2. It's International Babywearing Week! The following is just an excerpt from her post, so head over to her site and check out the full article for more great information. Happy Babywearing!
Some practical tips from Ashley:
Practice in different carriers. Because every mother is shaped differently, sometimes different wrapping methods or trying a different carrier will help you nurse your baby better than one you may be struggling with.
Be sure baby has a good latch. It’s helpful, especially with a small baby learning to latch, for baby to be nose to nipple and for you to give a little extra help the first few times trying to nurse in a carrier (or possibly after the first few times).
Try different shirt methods. Some moms are comfortable with shirts or tops that pull down from the top, other moms are more comfortable with a two shirt method where you pull the top shirt up and pull the bottom shirt down or to the side. A nursing tank can easily be made by cutting slits off to the side of your breast in a well fitting tank top (off the center of your nipple towards your arms). T-shirt material will not fray so you don’t have to sew it but if you’d like to stitch around the new opening it will help it lay flat under your shirt.
You can bring baby to your breast by lowering baby in the carrier or lift your breast to baby, or a combination of the two-experiment with what will work best for you both.
In a ring sling be sure that baby’s head is opposite the rings when laying your baby in a cradle type position. You will have to reverse the shoulder if you want to nurse on the other breast.
In a soft structure carrier or mei tai you can drop the waist band down and loosen the arms to bring baby down to your breast or you can lift your breast up. If you are doing the two shirt method you will want to be sure to lift your top shirt above your waistband before trying to get baby in position and may want to tuck your bottom shirt in to your pants to help it stay where you want it.
In a woven wrap you can lay baby in a side laying position (be sure to check baby’s breathing at all times!) or drop baby down. Front wrap cross carrier is an excellent nursing carry. You can lift baby up and pull legs up and out of the crosses, lay baby to the side and pull the wrap down over the bottom and a little down the legs to make a pocket. When baby is done nursing, put baby back upright, put those little legs back in to the crosses, and untie and retighten the carrier. With practice this can be done while baby drifts off to sleep.
Get immediate help for breastfeeding struggles. See an IBCLC for breastfeeding help.
Get some hands on babywearing help if you still are struggling with nursing in a carrier.
Remember to always bring baby back to an upright position high and tight after baby is done actively nursing (before baby drops off to sleep). You may have to unlatch baby early. This is to protect baby’s airway and the rule is not the same when you are nursing a sleeping baby outside of a carrier.
Keep on babywearing and breastfeeding, mamas! Practice makes perfect!