Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Babywearing Triplets: Feeding in a Carrier

Baby carriers are great tools for bonding with your baby and maintaining your busy life while meeting your baby’s needs. This is especially true when feeding our babies. Whatever your circumstances, a baby carrier can be helpful when your baby starts to let out those hunger cries! 

Many moms choose to nurse their babies. With a little practice it can be easy to nurse your child discreetly in a baby carrier. Any carrier can be adjusted for a baby to nurse in; however I find two shouldered carriers tend to be the easiest. As a new mom I often used a stretchy wrap because I could easily wiggle the wrap down a little and let my child nurse. The amount mom needs to wiggle the wrap is dependent, of course, on how well endowed mom is! The more blessed you are, the more you may need to wiggle.  If you are wearing a mei tai you can easily loosen the straps to lower baby down to nursing level. I often used an oversized sun hat on my baby to completely cover us from any peering eyes if I was in a public place and no one ever seemed to notice.

For many reasons, some moms use a supplemental nursing system. This can be useful for brief periods of times for small nursing problems, or for long periods of time for other situations, such as adoptive parents, babies with more serious feeding difficulties, or moms of multiples. Basically, a supplemental feeding system allows the baby to nurse while receiving extra nutrition. When using the supplemental feeding system I like to adjust my carrier slightly to the left or right so that the baby’s head is not in the middle of my chest where the feeding system rests. That way he or she does not knock into the supplemental feeder. Also, if you have an older baby, you will find that they love to grab the tubes of the feeder. I try to keep my babies’ arms at their sides when I put them in the carrier to nurse. That way it is harder for them to grab the tubes and rip them off. Otherwise, simply adjust for nursing and go!

Of course, not everyone nurses and many moms use bottles. When we first started using bottles I was surprised by how much more inconvenient they are than nursing. I had to hold baby in one hand and the bottle in the other hand which left me no free hands for eating, gesturing at my older children, or for posting on Facebook! I found it easy to put my babies in a carrier to bottle feed and to then have one or two hands free. To bottle feed, place your baby in a carrier and lower him or her just enough to give space for the bottle. If I am holding the bottle I find it most comfortable to place my hand underneath and up into the carrier to hold the bottle. To go hands free I give just enough slack that the bottle can lean on my chest while my baby is eating. It simulates nursing well and we can gaze into each other’s eyes, or I can wipe Orajel off of my 3 year old’s face, or assist my 6 year old in researching the state flower of Virginia.
Most importantly there are many ways we can feed our babies in a loving way and still accomplish all the tasks we need to throughout our day. Do try this at home, or better yet, stop by one of our fabulous babywearing meetings for demonstrations and assistance.


  1. Wow. A baby...inconvenient? Imagine that. The photo of the lazy bottle feeding is really quite frightening. If a mother is too busy to even feed her baby, that leaves the question, what else is she too busy to do? I can't imagine having children if I didn't have any real time for them. My suggestion? In the future, you might want to try buying a puppy instead. That way you can get a big feeder that pops out the food as they need it and you only have to go through the "inconvenience" once or twice a week.

    While I'm on the subject, a bottle is MUCH different from the breast. The breast stays there and doesn't (usually) leak if baby needs to take a break for a moment - especially if a mother has oversupply or overactive letdown, they often need to take a breather for a moment. A bottle, however, is pretty free flowing and does leak not to mention, it doesn't give a baby the ability to take a break. That's on the same level as force feeding. You might want to second guess your advice and your own actions in the future.

    Also you said "it simulates nursing well". I'm sorry, bottle feeding is nothing like breastfeeding...period.

  2. Dear Anonymous,
    First of all the mother of this article said bottle feeding was more inconvenient than nursing, not that a "baby was inconvenient" as you posted. As she mentioned she never used a bottle before, but due to her triplets she now has to. I have just one child and he takes up all my time. This mother has five, so give her credit for trying to find ways that make it easier for her to tend to the needs of her other children while she feeds her three newborns. We cannot all be the perfect mother that you are, but we try our best to give our children the love and affection they need. The puppy comment is self-rightous and ignorant.

    While I am on the subject, many mothers have to bottle feed due to a variety of reasons. Should we consider them bad parents? Also you assume that the mother is ignoring her baby while in the carrier and force feeding her child. I think it is safe to assume that a babywearing, breastfeeding mother of her third, fourth and fifth children is not ignoring the child she is wearing. I would think that wearing the baby would give her great awareness of the baby and how it is eating. Yes, I suppose in an ideal world every mother would be able to breastfeed each child in a quiet loving embrace for each feeding, but that is not reality...especially for a mom of triplets. If you have advice on how to help mothers with all of the intracacies of motherhood and nursing please let us know. You might want to second guess your negative, demeaning, narrow-minded posts in the future.
    A Babywearing Breastfeeding Brooklyn Mom

  3. Anonymous, you sound very, uh, anti-bottle. My son was in the NICU and since I could not be there 24/7 because they wouldn't let me and he was small, I couldn't nurse. So a bottle it was, but filled with breastmilk. He was never force fed and many times never finished the bottle of 40mls in which they threw away my milk, while in the NICU that is. It seems you are suggesting that a baby should be starved to death rather than be given a bottle.

    I am not the mom who posted this, but I can imagine that it is difficult to nurse 3 babies at the same time, given a woman usually only has two breasts. At least the baby was facing in with the bottle, I have witnessed a baby forward facing in a Bjorn being given a bottle. And yes there is such thing as bottle nursing, but they are different in some ways, but it still being close to the parent and love that is important too. ( - third topic)

    Don't get me wrong, I am very much for breastfeeding and was able to breastfeed my son after he got home from the NICU for almost 10 months when a nursing strike did us in, I tried mostly everything but he never latched again no matter what I did. But I still pump as breast milk is best.

    Babies are not inconvenient, nor do I think that is what the blogger is suggesting, but what about other kids. Is it OK to neglect them for the sake of a baby or other babies in this case? Or why can't you wear your baby feeding them at the same time and get things done so that all children's needs are fulfilled.

    I am glad you, Anonymous poster, get to give your child constant attention and never have to do a chore, drive anywhere, or work, but I live in the real world where that is not possible. The babywearing community is not suited for judgmental people such as yourself.

    To the poster, thank you for giving different situations in which you can feed a baby in a carrier.

  4. Anon, you do realize our babywearing mom has triplets, right? Lazy is about the furthest thing from the truth.

    AMR, is there a way to turn off anon posting?

  5. I love this blog post. I really admire a mom with five kids who gives them the very best. Thank you so much for sharing.

  6. Wonderful blog post :) I also bottle nursed in my Ergo with Collin when he was about the same age as the triplets. He had plenty of head control and was able to turn his head if he had enough/ needed a break. Plus he was right there for me to see him. It was a wonderful experience for us- wearing and feeding close, since breastfeeding was very difficult for us. I hadn't thought of using the supplemental nursing system while wearing him- that would have been very useful! Thanks for taking time out of your busy schedule raising 5 young children to share with us. I enjoy reading the Babywearing Triplets series :)

  7. I'm truly shocked at the first comment, this seemed like such a non-controversial topic. I think this is really helpful to lots of different parents. I'm assuming dads don't do a lot of breastfeeding. Moms of multiples often can't quite keep up with exclusively nursing, and some mom/baby pairs just really struggle with nursing for whatever reason and might need to supplement. Carolyn is an amazing mom to her 5 kids, and I have really appreciated her insight on the blog to help other parents using her unique experience.

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