One of the many questions I get asked while doing a consultation is, “Can I nurse in a baby carrier?” My response is always, “Yes!” In fact nursing in a baby carrier is highly encouraged. There are so many benefits with babywearing and so many benefits of breastfeeding, why not put them together? I love babywearing and I love breastfeeding so this is something I’m always excited to talk about! You know that happy hormone called oxytocin that makes you feel warm and tingly after giving birth? Well, that hormone gets released when a mother nurses her child. It also gets released when babywearing, which helps grow the relationship and build and even stronger bond.
Before diving in, get to know your baby and your baby carrier. Breastfeeding is very challenging by itself so there’s no need to rush and combine it with babywearing the day your baby is born. Take things slow in the beginning and get the hang of breastfeeding and babywearing separately. Once you’ve mastered them both, then it’s a good time to put them together. This is one of the most crucial pieces of breastfeeding while babywearing. I’ll never forget the day my ring sling came in the mail. I was so excited to start wearing my baby and even more excited to nurse her in my sling. I didn’t think about trying to learn to babywear first. Instead I jumped right in and was in for a big surprise. It wasn’t as easy as it looked and my baby was not very happy. In fact she protested every time I tried to nurse her in the sling. When I had my second daughter I decided to do things differently. I didn’t even attempt to nurse my little girl in the sling until she was around three weeks old. At that point we were confident in breastfeeding and I had plenty of practice with the ring sling to be comfortable putting the two together.
Most baby carriers are adjustable in order for you to nurse your baby comfortably. It’s always best practice to nurse upright when wearing a carrier but if you’re going to nurse in the cradle position be sure you follow a few basic safety rules. First, make sure you are able to see your baby’s face at all times and his head is not completely covered by any piece of loose fabric. Also, be aware of your baby’s airway. You want to be sure you can run two fingers between his chin and his chest to ensure he has a clear airway and good oxygen flow. Last but not least, when your baby is finished actively eating bring him back up to a kissable position and tighten all straps, buckles and/or belts. It’s never a good idea to allow your baby to fall asleep in the cradle position because that can block his airway making it difficult to breath.
We are all moms that want what’s best for our children and have the best intentions. If you’re not sure about something or need help, consult with your local certified babywearing educator. They are trained answer any questions you have about babywearing and can help you find the perfect carrier for you and your little one.