Being able to feed your baby whilst they're in the baby carrier is such a game-changing skill to learn! You can get from A to B whilst feeding your baby on the go and for most parents, this makes you feel like a superwoman.
We advise before you try feeding your baby in the carrier that you first feel quite confident with each skill separately. Are you quite comfortable with setting up and adjusting your carrier? Are you and your baby in a good established breastfeeding or bottle feeding routine too? If yes, then you're ready to try combining the two!
Feeding your baby in the carrier involves a few simple steps to set up and will work slightly different for every individual parent depending on a few factors like body shape, breast size and your baby's willingness. If it doesn't work the first time, don't stress! It can take practice to make the set up work best for you and your baby so don't give up. Try again next feed or the next day. Lots of babywearing skills come down to practice and when you're combining babywearing with feeding, this may take some adjustment and tweaks as you learn.
So your baby is in the carrier and you're ready to feed? Here's the breakdown of steps:
Step 1 : Very slightly loosen the waistbelt so that you're able to wiggle it down to bring your baby lower on your chest closer to your breastfeeding height.
Step 2 : Loosen out the shoulder straps to continue to assist your baby to be lower on your torso and ready to latch or bottle-feed.
Step 3 : Move the whole carrier with your baby over to the side you are due to feed on or your preferred side to bottle-feed. Here they will remain upright vertically, not cradled horizontally.
Step 4 : Allow your baby to latch and start feeding here. You may need to prop your breast up and hold it, or loosen a little more to make room for the bottle.
Here at step 4 it's important to have safety front of mind. As the carrier is loose, it's imperative you always keep at least one hand on your baby at all times to support them. You can have one hand free to do other things with but feeding and babywearing is never completely hands-free. One hand must remain on baby when they are loose in the carrier.
The other important safety reminder is to make sure your baby is visible at all times to you with no clothing or the carrier obstructing your view of them. Constantly monitor your baby while you are feeding them in the carrier.
Step 5 : Once your baby has finished feeding, move the whole carrier and your baby back to the centre of your body and raise them higher to the flat part of your chest above your breasts. Tighten up the waistbelt and the shoulder straps so your baby stays high and tight where they safely and comfortably should be on your body.
And that's it!
Babywearing and Feeding on the go has so many benefits
- gently moving while feeding is comforting to your child
- it's convenient for the parent not having to stop what they're doing and feed
- improved digestion for baby
- further bonding and positive experiences for both parent and child
Remember, it's okay if you don't perfect it the first time! We've all been there with milk spraying everywhere and our baby crying in frustration! But all skills take some practice so don't give up. Try again and keep going. You'll get the hang of it fairly quickly and will feel so accomplished when you do!
Enjoy those precious moments feeding your baby close.
Brooke Maree, Babywearing Consultant and Country Leader Kangatraining Australia