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Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Babywearing and Breastfeeding: a perfect match

Another entry in celebration of Babywearing Month...


Breastfeeding + Babywearing Correlation
Just after August's Breastfeeding Month, it's fitting to also mention that breastfeeding and babywearing go well hand in hand. Many baby slings and other carriers offer mothers privacy and for many mothers, the option of nursing hands-free while tending to other activities or household chores. Not all mothers can nurse hands-free in a baby carrier. Large-breasted mothers and mothers of small or hypotonic infants may need to support the breast or help maintain proper positioning of the baby's head or body. Even so, a properly adjusted baby carrier can help reduce arm strain and allow a mother more freedom of movement while nursing, even if it does not allow her to be completely hands-free.

Babywearing can help premature babies and babies who are slow weight gainers to gain weight at a faster rate. Since the baby is held up close to the mother, the baby will be able to be nursed more often and often for longer intervals. Kangaroo care is well-studied and has shown clear benefits to premature and ill infants.
Not all parents find breastfeeding in a sling or carrier easy. It is important, before attempting to breastfeed in a carrier, to first master the art of breastfeeding without a carrier. Latch and position are vital, and it is important to establish these first before adding a carrier to the mix. Where breastfeeding difficulties exist, babywearing can simplify the other tasks of parenting by allowing a parent free hands to deal with breast pumps, bottles and other supplementation devices.

Some parents prefer, even with the best carriers, to take time out and sit down to nurse a baby. Some babies may reflexively clamp down when nursing while a parent moves around, so nursing while babywearing is not always entirely comfortable. Individual experience will vary radically not only from parent to parent, but also from baby to baby, even within the same family. Some babies nurse very well in slings and carriers, others do not.

Final Note ~ an interesting quote/note to think about:-
"Babywearing is extremely beneficial to getting breastfeeding off to a good start.  When babies are worn, either skin-to-skin or in a baby wrap/carrier, they cry less, are more neurologically centered, and feel less stress.  Skin-to-skin and babywearing in the first month after childbirth has been proven to help bring in a mother's milk more quickly and help develop a sustained milk supply.  As a breastfeeding mom, it is easier to sense when your baby is hungry because you will notice all of the 'hunger signs' (smacking lips, hands to mouth, rooting) before it accelerates to the last sign (crying!)  Also, it is very easy to master breastfeeding while babywearing, which allows the mom more freedom to go about her day without worrying about breastfeeding in public or scheduling her day around when her baby might be ready to eat.  For more information about the benefits of breastfeeding and babywearing, check out the web site about Kangaroo Mother Care (www.kangaroomothercare.com)."
-- Robin Kaplan, M.Ed., IBCLC, Founder of the San Diego Breastfeeding Center, LLC

2 comments:

cris said...

We did not learn this - breastfeeding while babywearing. Although we have a Saya carrier. Maybe with my next baby :)

~currant7 said...

Yes, Cris! Breastfeeding with a Saya is possible. That's on my future blog entry...possible breastfeeding positions while babywearing. :) Will try to compile and see what I get. This is going to be fun!