Tuesday, August 09, 2011

Inquisition Tuesday: Babywearing and Nursing

Last week, llamaofdoom asked, "How do you nurse in a sling/mei tai/wrap carrier? I can't seem to get the positioning comfortable enough to nurse while slinging, and so I end up taking the sling off and sitting down and nursing."

It takes practice. I never really got the hang of it in the wrap because I use the wrap primarily for the newborn stage and newborns just can't do the head control thing. The picture last week was in the mei tai and I have to let it sag down enough for Isaac's head to be at the right level. The same goes for the sling right now because he's often on my hip in the sling. I just slide it down enough so he is on my hip and can be at nipple-level. Because he has good back/neck control (he's 1 afterall), he can scrunch and scootch himself down if he needs to. Also, his weight

But with baby-babies, I had to try something different. I'll demonstrate with a doll and a sling.

I always imagined lying my babies in the sling like this and nursing them from the breast on the side that the sling went over the shoulder. Unfortunately, my babies come out pretty big and the sling always squooshed their heads and they didn't like the scrunchiness that it caused in their tummies. This did not work for me at all.

As you can see: this could only work for a very small newborn, if it even does work: scrunchy tummies can be rough with reflux-y newborns. Because the entire baby from head to toe is in the sling, long babies won't really fit comfortably.

Where I found success was using the other breast. The sling holds the weight of the baby at the baby's butt. The feet and legs of a long baby hang out the bottom, and the head of the baby is at the breast. You might need to support the head and neck with your hand or use the sling up over the head. The baby is lying down long-ways and is not scrunched up.

Isaac is around 24 pounds of baby and this particular pouch sling is a little small on him, but you can see how it works here. He's trying to get down to play, so it's not the best position, but I hope you can see how it works.

One of the downsides to this feeding position is that you won't be able to nurse in a sling so that the baby's head is completely covered by sling fabric, if that was your goal. Holding the baby's head and neck can also be a downside if you were hoping to nurse completely hands-free. But I found that I used my sling a lot more once I started using this nursing position and I typically nurse so that my more dominant hand is the free hand.

I hope that answered your question!

1 comment:

  1. Thanks for this one!! (and all the other pics) I was at the park today with my son (2yr) and my baby (2.5 months) and had baby in the pouch sling and she needed to nurse. But like you, i've had problems nursing the other way because my baby is big. So I tried putting her head the other way like I saw in your picture. Worked GREAT! So I was able to play and nurse :)


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