Nursing in a Stretchy Wrap
In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I want to share what I have learned about nursing in one of my favorite carriers. After my youngest was born, he lived in a stretchy wrap! Whether I was trying to get things done around the house, taking a trip to the store, or spending our evenings walking up and down the road to soothe him during his colicky episodes, the wrap certainly made life easier!
The wrap I own is a Boba wrap, which is very similar to the Moby. I have tried the Moby Wrap and love it as well! There is definitely a learning curve when it comes to nursing in any type of carrier. My best advice would be to practice at home in front of a mirror before trying it when you are out and about. Getting a little practice under your belt may help you feel less awkward when trying it out in public.
There were a few times at the grocery store when nursing my son would have made things a million times easier, but I lacked the confidence to go ahead and do it. I recall one time, as I was putting the groceries on the checkout belt my son woke from his nap on my chest and began to cry. Instinctively, I reached for the clasp on my nursing bra, but quickly lost my nerve. I felt clumsy and still had not quite figured out how to nurse him the wrap. As he rooted around, I bounced and shushed him, just trying to get out of there as quickly as possible so I could nurse him in the car. If only I had just been able to feed him as I went about my business! I hated denying him the one thing that would make him feel better.
I knew it was possible to breastfeed in a carrier and decided it was time to figure out how to do it myself. After doing my research, I figured out there are a couple of ways to breastfeed while wearing a stretchy wrap. The first way I learned worked well for me when my son was younger. I like to layer a tank top with a tee shirt over top of it. Before I put on the wrap, I make sure to pull up the shirt on top so that it’s right under my breast. That way I don’t have to mess with it too much when I am getting my baby in position to nurse.
First put on your stretchy wrap.
Take one side of the X on your chest and pull it away from your chest, then
take the other side and stretchit out nice and wide.
Find a baby…preferably your own. :)
Put your baby’s legs through the side you’ve stretched out wide.
Stretch that panel out over baby’s bottom toward his feet, then all the way up his back to the nape of his neck. You want to make sure it covers your baby’s entire back from his neck all the way past the hollows of his knees.
Then take the panel from the opposite side and do the same. Pull it over your baby from his neck to the hollows of his knees for added support.
Pull the shirt you have on top up and undo your nursing bra. Pull down the shirt underneath. Your baby should be in the position to latch on. Always keep one arm supporting baby during this hold. After I got him into position, it left me with one free hand. It is essential to use the other arm to support your baby’s body. Babies can fall if they are not properly secured, so be sure to read all warnings and follow all instructions you receive with your carrier.
Be sure to watch you baby carefully to make sure his airway is not obstructed while you are wearing or nursing in the wrap. You want to be able to see his nose is not covered and his chin is not tucked down to his chest. The head should be slightly tipped back, but also in proper alignment. Your baby’s ear, shoulder, and hip should be in one line while breastfeeding. When you are finished feeding your baby, be sure to reposition him correctly in the carrier.
If you are not wearing layered shirts, just pull down your shirt with your nursing bra, keeping in mind you will not have the extra coverage up on top. My little trick, if I am not wearing a tank top underneath and feel self-conscious is to take one of the “tails” of the carrier and tuck it into your shoulder wherever you want extra coverage. However, do not be concerned about covering up for others. You have the legal right to nurse your baby wherever you and your baby have the right to be. You need not worrying about covering up unless you want to. Being covered or not is completely up to you!
The other way to nurse your baby is to wear him as you normally would in the upright position, but lower in the wrap. You will want to widen the shoulder strap and lift your breast to your baby. It sounds pretty simple, but it too can take a bit of practice. When my son was a newborn, I couldn’t figure out how to nurse him upright in the wrap. Some women, on the other hand, find it very simple with a smaller baby. Now that he is bigger, I find it works perfect for us. This is now my favorite way to nurse in the wrap.
Your body shape and your baby’s size are two very important factors when it comes to making this work for you. Some women, particularly large breasted women, may have more difficulty nursing in the wrap than others. If you find both of these ways to be frustrating, just take your baby completely out of the wrap and nurse him. You can still feed your baby with the wrap on and then put him back in when he is finished. Sometimes with a little practice and tweeking, you can find a way that works best for you.
The theme for World Breastfeeding Week 2013 is ‘Breastfeeding Support: Close to Mothers’. It was chosen to help spread the word about the importance of supporting all mothers through their breastfeeding journeys. It particularly focuses on the need for more peer counselors to help breastfeeding mothers through the first few weeks after birth and beyond. However you don’t have to be a trained healthcare professional to offer support! Next time notice a mama nursing her baby out and about in public, be sure to give her a smile or a reassuring nod. Sometimes even a little support can go a long way!
*I have purchased all products mentioned in this post. Although I am compensated for my time writing, all opinions are 100% my own. And I would like to make a little shout out to my 10 year old for taking these photos! Thanks buddy! :)