Tips and Tricks for Hands Free Nursing!


You may have noticed I’ve been celebrating World Breastfeeding Week 2013 on the blog.  This years theme is Support: Close To Mothers.  While I have had some amazing support, namely my husband who is a champion for me and supports my choices related to breastfeeding, one unexpected place I found support was by babywearing.

Both of my boys have not been easy to breastfeed.  With my first son, I was cracked and bleeding for 7 weeks +.  I had been to lactation specialists, worked on our latch, and still my son seemed to have a “lazy/shallow” latch.  He was always on/off/on/off making nursing in public very uncomfortable for both of us.  We were usually a sweaty, milk drenched mess every single time he nursed.  Wearing a cover in the 100+ heat just made us both miserable.  For 3 months I felt like I was a slave to breastfeeding. It took so much effort to nurse while out in public that I stayed home.  I’m pretty sure my husband was WAY OVER me pointing out every mama breastfeeding in public and lamenting over why that wasn’t me.

Then, one day while sharing my frustration online, someone mentioned nursing while babywearing.

WHAT!? Breastfeeding While Babywearing!?

It was as if a light bulb turned on and the angels started singing.  I took to YouTube and began watching every single video I could about nursing in a carrier. When I finally got up the courage to try it, I did so in front of a mirror at home.  I simply could not contain my smile.  My baby was latching on, staying on, and I wasn’t spraying everywhere, dying of heat, or trapped.  Breastfeeding while babywearing was like finding mommy confidence, freedom, and above all else, support in one amazing baby carrier.

I think my husband thought I was crazy when I insisted he see my new trick and was giddy over the fact that I was hands free and feeding the baby.  While he might have thought I was crazy for telling over and over how he couldn’t even tell what I was doing, he had no idea how crazy things were about to get.  That day began a love affair and passion to share everything babywearing with anyone who was willing to listen.  This week I thought I’d share my support by giving your some tips and tricks for nursing hands free while babywearing.

Breastfeeding in a Beco Carrier

  • Do your research.  Watch YouTube or ask fellow babywearing mamas what works for them when nursing in a carrier.

You can start with my video on how to nurse in a Beco Soleil Baby Carrier. Smile

  • Find a carrier you love. Check out your local city to see if they have a babywearing group. You can really get to try carriers first hand before you buy one.  However, if you want my recommendation I will say hands down (Or hands-free if you will…) I love nursing in the Beco Soleil.  The dual adjustable straps make it really easy to get baby down to breast level with minimal effort on my part.  The neck support and easy to snap sleep hood allow for privacy for mom or less distraction for baby.  I always have my Beco in the car for nursing out and about.  It is just so simple to use.  Plus, I have tried a lot of soft structured carriers – and this is one that seems to really fit all body types!  If you still have questions about this carrier please ask me! I love it and am happy to share!
    Beco Baby Carriers
  • Wear breastfeeding friendly clothing.  I am a huge fan of a tank with a t-shirt over it.  You can pull your t-shirt up and your tank down.  This will also give you a little extra coverage while nursing.  You can also wear a top that you can pull your breast over the neck. (Scoop tops, v-necks.)
  • Practice makes perfect.  I know, so cliché, but very true!  Stand in front of a mirror.  Watch your baby eat.  I have a feeling you will be surprised at how little you will be able to see from the mirror. (I can still remember how big the smile on my face was the first time I watched myself nurse in front of the mirror.) The more you do it, the easier the movements will become when you are out and don’t have a mirror in front of you.  Muscles memory is pretty amazing!
  • Be Brave!  You will be surprised at how much faking confidence helps you actually get things done.  Once I learned how to nurse in a carrier I stopped looking at the women out and about nursing in public like they knew a big secret and I began sharing the secret with anyone who wanted to listen.  Who knows – maybe some mama will see you and get inspired!

In honor of World Breastfeeding Week I urge you to share this with a mama you know who may be getting ready to breastfeed their baby, who is currently breastfeeding their baby, or anyone who you think could benefit from them.  Be their support! 

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  1. says

    I love this! I wasn’t ever brave enough to try with my boys and I really want to try with this baby that will be here in a few weeks! Such great tips too.


    Emily Reply:

    You must! Especially chasing after kids – or simply keeping up with their schedules! With your first sitting in a corner and quietly feeding baby was nice, but when you have more than one kid that isn’t really an option anymore! :)


  2. says

    How neat. Those days are over for me now, but I will always remember that nursing my children was one of the best things that I did with/for them when they were little.


  3. says

    I think I had about a week or so with both kids where I thought I would die from the pain, but somehow it does ease and goes away with the right treatment. It was important for me to stick with it too. I’m not sure I ever mastered the hands-free thing though. Of course, equipment is much better now!


  4. says

    Haha, your husband sounds exactly like mine. Just saying we’re cool to appease us :)

    I love these tips. I need to bookmark this AND your video as Baby Girl #3 comes in a month and I have to get this down while chasing two toddlers!

    I also don’t feel very brave nursing in public, so hopefully this will help set me on the right path. Thank you so much for sharing :)


  5. says

    I seriously struggled for the first 2 months. Then until she was 7 months I used a nipple shield because of all the cracks and bleeding. Finally around 7 months she took it off and her latch is perfect! I’m so glad I stuck it out and so happy for her that she gets breastmilk thanks to my determination – plus since she has FPIES she would have been so sick with formula and not have ANY nutrition because she’s allergic to all other forms of it.


  6. says

    I had trouble at first (blogged about it), but he finally latched on. I got to where I could breastfeed doing just about anything, anywhere (although I was very discreet in public). My faves were lying in bed and napping while he nursed. 😀


  7. says

    I’ll be passing these on to my best friend, who is due with their third early next month. Although she’s an experienced breast feeder, it has been five years since her last child, so any tips could really help.


  8. says

    I never could get the hang or comfortable with the carrier but I would nurse my kids anywhere, pushing a buggy through walmart, at the mall playplace…wherever I was I would proudly nurse :)


  9. Janet W. says

    These are all great tips. My breastfeeding days have certainly passed, but I’m sure this info will help lots of new mommies.


  10. Betsy says

    I was able to figure out how to nurse in the Moby wrap while my little guy was itty bitty (wrapped in such a way that held him in cradle hold while allowing the right balance of wiggle room & stability for his head/neck)… I’ve been dreaming of being able to nurse him in the ergobaby, but feel as if I can’t figure it out handsfree… In some ways I feel like there’s no way to get the wrap loose enough to allow room to coordinate getting myself & him into position, while also feeling like the more I loosen it the more he needs my help in staying in place. He is 4 months old & very strong with his neck stability… Do you have any tips?


  11. Crystal Hamilton says

    Just wondering which carrier you would recommend the most out of the beco soleil or the lillebaby complete. These two seem the most appealing to me but can’t seem to make the choice.


    Emily Reply:

    I pretty much only use lillebaby carriers now. The shoulders are more comfortable, it fits both myself and my husband easier, and the lumbar support helps my back. I gave away my beco soleil. It’s a great carrier, but the the lillebaby has so much more than I like.


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