Eating in a carrier: This is really, really easy. Put baby in carrier, put food in mouth; best accomplished without super-hot or splashy food that might fall on the baby in the carrier... what? Oh! Um, strap baby to chair with carrier, feed baby... no?
Oh, right – feeding the baby while in a carrier on an adult! Yeah, I knew that. Chalk it up to “mommy brain.” Many women are back on the breast-feeding bandwagon, as well they should be (heck, it’s my preferred method too!), but not all of us are fully equipped for that task, whether they be fathers, mothers, grandparents, sitters, or other family. But we still need to be able to go about our lives, doing chores, chasing after older siblings, feeding ourselves, and that lump of love still needs to eat - all the freakin’ time.
But then, when the baby was about 6 weeks old and most of the snow had melted away, we were able to attend a local baby wearing meeting on a Saturday, to introduce the little guy and check out some more options. There my good friend Rachel asked if she could hold the baby in a ring sling, and of course, I pretty much threw him at her. And then he was suddenly hungry again. “Would you like me to feed him?” I got out a bottle and the dear gal fed him one handed in the sling. Eureka! That was our beginning.
We started by mimicking Rachel, and I’d feed him one-handed in a semi-upright position in a ring sling (keeping in mind avoiding the chin-to-chest issue, baby C was almost 2mo when we started this). Once he grew larger and progressed to larger quantities, and thus larger bottles, we changed tactics. I’ve found that it’s actually not too hard to feed him hands-free in a Mai Tei or wrap, by sticking the bottle under a strap by my shoulder with a slight downward slant (front wrap cross carry works well for us). Some days I still have to use one hand, the positioning just doesn’t always work, but it’s still much better than being stuck on the sofa while the toddler scales another bookshelf.
There’s a bit of a learning curve, just as there is with learning to wear your baby safely, breast feed, riding a bike, eating while driving or anything else. But we took it slow, and found that it’s possible.
Bottle nursing in this fashion can help bottle feeding be more like breastfeeding and can help baby to bond with caregivers when breastfeeding doesn't work, isn't possible, or isn't the right choice for a family. Just because you don't have milk in your breasts, doesn't mean your baby can't enjoy the bonding benefits of being held while nursing. And just because you want to hold baby and bottle nurse doesn't mean you have to give up accomplishing others tasks like chasing the toddler around the playground.
Safety tip: Bottle propping for hands free bottle feeding should wait until baby is 4mo or so and is consistently able to keep up with the flow. Baby should of course be monitored at all times while feeding in a carrier whether it be by bottle or breast.
Contributed by: Lureta