Breastfeeding in a carrier – the why, how and all in between

I was recently asked to write an article for the Bangalore Birth Network on breastfeeding in a carrier. Posting the same here in the hope to reach more mums who might benefit from it! 

I am a breastfeeding, babywearing mom and I have recently realised the true benefits of nursing in a carrier, after the arrival of my second child. On a daily basis, I wish atleast a dozen times that I had an extra pair of hands to help me cope with life and be around for both my children. While individually, breastfeeding and babywearing have both helped me tremendously in taking care of and controlling tears and frustrations in my tiny humans, their combined goodness takes things a notch higher in making sure I am a happier and calmer mother to my kids.

Breastfeeding in a carrier has many benefits, both for the baby and the mother. As we all know, skin to skin is highly recommended for a newborn, to help them adjust to the temperatures outside the womb as well as help mothers produce more prolactinthe hormone necess, to produce milk. Wearing or holding your baby close to your chest helps release hormones that in turn help in increasing milk production and also helps to stabilise the milk supply, especially in the early journey of breastfeeding your baby. A baby carrier acts as a second womb to keep your baby close to you as well as give you enough fabric to cover up and keep both, baby and you, warm.
A newborn requires to be nursed very often and that can get tiring for a new mom who is already adjusting to a lot of changes in her life. At such times, wearing your baby can help you continue with your life by letting you be hands free as well as giving you the joy of being mobile and not attached to your chair or bed. All without compromising on care for your little baby or caring for yourself and your needs, like eating at timely intervals. When your baby feeds, feed yourself or hydrate yourself too! Another plus point is, your breast is close by and easily accessible to your baby so you won’t miss your baby’s cues to be nursed. This will reduce crying due to hunger or frustration and help keep your baby happy.

One big boon of breastfeeding in a carrier is if you have other kid/kids to take care of, it makes it easier, much easier! Being able to wear and nurse your baby will free your hands to attend to their siblings or do other important tasks around the house. Also, think about the joys of being able to step out with your baby without it seeming so overwhelming, simply because you don’t have to worry about where to find place or privacy to nurse, in case your baby gets cranky and needs a feed. A baby carrier will work great to just scoop out your breast, latch your baby on the go and be stress free.
That said, while breastfeeding in a baby carrier has many benefits there are a few points you should keep in mind before you start off.
Don’t give up if you don’t succeed to nurse in a carrier in the first go. Keep at it and it will come to you.

If one type of carrier doesn’t seem to work, maybe try a different style and it may work easier for you and your baby. Wear clothes that are comfortable and easy to nurse in.

Always make sure your baby has his or her airway clear while feeding in the carrier.

After you are done feeding your baby, re-position your baby and tighten your carrier to the original position where your baby’s head is close enough to kiss, airway is clear, baby’s face is visible and the carrier is comfortably tight around you and your baby.

So, if, like me, you have been in two minds about how to nurse in a baby carrier, don’t wait, just pop your baby in and nurse away. Don’t feel shy and ask for help if you feel you need it. Enjoy each day with your baby and feel liberated!
* BBN has a close knit community of babywearers through their sling library. Do join their sling library group on facebook and connect with them to know more or if you need any help on babywearing.

** BBN also offers breastfeeding support and counsel to parents through their facebook chatter group as well as over phone. Visit their facebook page to know more.