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.