Babywearing for me started when I was in high school. No, I was not a mom yet, and so no, I was not breastfeeding. However, that’s when I started to seriously think about what kind of mother I wanted to be. When my youngest brother was born 16 days before my eighteenth birthday, just like I did with my other siblings, I was going to be a second mother to him. Being a mom is just a huge part of my soul. So before I went off to college, I was my 5-year-old brother and 4-month-old brother’s nanny for four months; it was amazing!
My baby brother loved to be held and would sleep on you through anything. My mom had a BabyBjorn carrier, which other than a hiking babycarrier backpack was pretty much the only mainstream carrier anyone knew about. The Babywearing International, Inc. was still a year away from existence, so access to education on proper and safe babywearing was not even something parents thought about when it came to babywearing. I just knew he loved being in that carrier and so I loved that carrier because he would take his naps in it while I did the dishes and other chores.
My mom would breastfeed my brother from dinnertime until morning, so I fed him formula bottles during the day, and once in awhile he would get stomachaches. When I would babywear him it would always soothe him. After that, I knew I would try with all my might to only breastfeed my babies and of course babywear them! However, I did not know for sometime that I could do both at the same time. It just never occurred to me until I had my first.
In 2012, I was so excited for my baby shower and to receive a similar baby carrier I used with my brother. My mom got me the top of the line BabyBjorn carrier. The instructions said I had to wait until he was a certain weight and age with proper head control to wear it, but I assumed that would happen quickly after birth. Little did I know my little mister had a schedule of his own and came six weeks early. As I mentioned in my previous post, we over came many challenges and obstacles with breastfeeding in the hospital (more on that in another post, so stay tuned!), but what was great was we did kangaroo care. That really got me excited and passionate about what other babywearing options might be out there.
I would obsess over any mama babywearing and stare until I could see a nametag or brand sticker on a carrier or wrap. I tried a few carriers and a front wraps until I finally landed on a favorite: the Ergo. By this time my son was already 10 months old and I would take him out to breastfeed. I thought that’s just what I had to do.
My son would always get distracted while nursing out and about, so I would have to use a silly, hot cover, which he would start to grab at, or sit in the car away from everything. I was so desperate for other breastfeeding cover options that I wanted the nursing scarves and any other multipurpose breastfeeding cover I could find. I never thought to use my carrier! Not until I first saw a mama in the early spring of 2013 at our local farmer’s market feeding her son in her Ergo, while she was hands free, helping my husband and I get some sprouts from her booth.
I was so impressed that her baby was so happy and content and I could not see a thing except his head from the side, but with the hood covering him it was very private. She told me that it was amazing and made it so much easier for them both because she never had to stop what she was doing and he could just eat on demand whenever; yet another reason for me to love babywearing.
What I have tried and experienced with babywearing while breastfeeding:
– Stretchy, front wrap: I love to carry newborn and infants in these, and thanks to the stretch it is pretty simple to adjust and breastfeed in them.
– Ringslings: Great for all ages and very easy to breastfeed in these; however, if you prefer more privacy, these are a little more open, but you can use the tail of the fabric to cover.
– Woven wrap: Depending on the carry (breastfeed with front carry) and tie you use, these can be trickier to nurse in, but still a great babywearing and breastfeeding option. Wovens just take more practice and a more experienced babywearer to get the hang of it.
– All SSC (Soft Shell Carriers): There are A LOT of SSC options out there, so do your research and try to find a botique or local BWI group to try different kinds on to see which one might work best for you and your little. These, I think are the easiest to start breastfeeding and babywearing in. They offer comfort, privacy and can easily be adjust very quickly with buckle straps.
I am not a babywearing educator; however, I am a mama just like you who LOVES to babywear and breastfeed. Tell me your babywearing and breastfeeding story in the comments!
Don’t leave without checking out my previous post: “The Almighty Tandem Breastfeeding”
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