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.
- 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.
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!
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!