How do I nurse in a carrier?
For some moms, nursing in a carrier is easy! For other moms, it’s just not that easy, unfortunately. Breast size plays a role, but having big breasts doesn’t necessarily mean that you cannot hope to nurse in a carrier.
There are some important points to consider when thinking about nursing in a carrier:
1. Position. I’ve recently changed my position on breastfeeding in carriers and I no longer recommend nursing in a cradle hold in any type of carrier.
I can’t put it any better than this Australian education website: “Breastfeeding in a carrier should only happen when the baby has the neck strength to support their head. Your baby should be able to pull away from the breast as needed. With small babies you might choose to use your sling/wrap/carrier to support the baby’s weight, but you will need to ensure that the head is entirely free and that the carrier does not restrict movement. This does mean that you will need to keep one hand free to support the head while feeding. Older babies can breastfeed in an upright position, just wriggle the bottom of the carrier lower so that your baby is in a good position to reach.”
I know this isn’t as convenient, but there’s emerging evidence to suggest that nursing an infant younger than 4 months in a sling or carrier is more dangerous than we think, with numerous incident reports at the CPSC linking infant deaths with nursing a young infant in a sling or carrier, particularly while distracted or while the baby is covered up.
2. Being discreet. If you choose to nurse your baby of any age in a carrier – DO NOT COVER UP THEIR FACE. The number one rule of babywearing is to always keep your child Kissable and Visible. If you cover them up, they’re no longer visible! Look at the pictures in this post. You do not see any breast at all, yet I can still see baby’s face at all times. I have covered my BREAST – not my baby. Wearing two T-shirts or a stretchy camisole under your shirt will help keep your stomach covered up while nursing, thus increasing the stealthiness.
3. Safe positioning. Reposition the baby back to a proper wearing position after nursing, even if they’re asleep. From this excellent blog post by Kristi from Wrapsody, “It is an unfortunate truth that babies can suffocate at the breast, in arms, under blankets or coats and doctors or parents may think baby has simply fallen asleep. This is a case where the risk of disturbing a sleeping baby is better than the risk of not disturbing him/her.”
It’s also possible to nurse baby when they’re on your back in a wrap. I’ve never done it, but if you’re feeling adventurous, this YouTube video shows you how to do it. I bow to your mad skills.