What Are Baby Carriers for Breastfeeding?
While all baby carriers are designed to hold your baby to your body, baby carriers for breastfeeding have support structures to give your baby access to your breast for nursing. They tend to be soft, flexible carriers that allow for more movement or positional adjustment than, say, a firmer pack-style carrier.
It’s also important to understand how babies nurse at different stages of development. For example, a newborn feeds best in a reclining position, so a sling-type carrier would support your baby while giving him full access to food. Once he’s older and his neck is strong enough to support his head, the carrier should adjust to encourage upright feeding and allow his legs to dangle freely.
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What Are The Different Types Of Baby Carriers For Breastfeeding?
All front-facing baby carriers hold your baby directly against you, so structurally most of them should give your baby access to your breast. As this post suggests, some are better-equipped to facilitate feeding than others.
When looking at baby carriers for breastfeeding, you should always read product descriptions carefully. You want to ensure that you’re buying the appropriate carrier for your baby’s age, weight and size, as these factors will affect your comfort and whether or not your baby gets the most out of the baby wearing experience.
Also called a “ring sling”, these carriers are a great way to get started with babywearing and breastfeeding. Completely adjustable, they allow your baby to nurse in recline, then adjust to an upright position for digestion.
As the name suggests, a wrap is a long piece of fabric that wraps around you and your baby. The extra fabric is great for covering your baby’s head while he nurses, while offering you more privacy.
These carriers can have buckles, fasteners or ties (i.e. the Mei Tei)
The best thing you can do, in addition to wearing a baby carrier that allows you to nurse, is to wear a top that’s comfortable and allows access to you. Trying to untie or unharness a baby carrier while you bunch your shirt up is neither productive (literally) or comfortable.
What Makes Baby Carriers For Breastfeeding Different From Other Baby Carriers?
Based on our research, baby carriers that allow Moms to breastfeed don’t differ too much from other front-facing baby carriers. Nursing while wearing your baby is a matter of necessity and personal comfort. The key is to find a baby carrier that can adjust to different feeding positions based on the age and size of your baby.
Baby carriers used for breastfeeding have a softer, less rigid structure, which is key for feeding in multiple positions. Babies, especially infants or newborns, must be able to lie down to nurse, switch sides, then re-adjust to an upright position to alleviate gas and encourage digestion.
Matters of coverage and privacy are no one’s concern but yours. When you’re in public, where and how you breastfeed your baby are completely up to you. Some baby carriers used for breastfeeding have “nursing covers” or have extra fabric to cover your baby’s head, which might alleviate any discomfort. Keep in mind though, some babies don’t like being covered while nursing.
Who would want to eat inside a burlap sack? Baby’s skin can be irritated by hard fabrics such as canvas or nylon. A baby carrier for breastfeeding should be comprised mostly of cotton. If you’re using a wrap or sling, spandex for stretch and adjusting are also key.
How Do Baby Carriers for Breastfeeding Work?
All front-facing baby carriers allow for nursing if they give your baby access to your breast. Some baby carriers are designed to hold your baby in full recline, while others are more structured and hold your baby upright.
The best carrier for breastfeeding is the one that feels comfortable on you and for your baby.
What Do You Look For In The Best Baby Carriers for Breastfeeding?
As most carriers will allow you to safely breastfeed your baby, the top concern for you will be comfort – both yours and baby’s. There are a few things to consider before making your purchase:
Newborns require a cross-legged seating position (“froggy-style”) regardless of the carrier, so consider how your baby’s body will be positioned when nursing and if the carrier you choose will allow him to switch positions. His back and torso should always be supported. Once your baby is older, you can adjust the carrier to allow his legs to hang freely.
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It’s very important that your baby have a clear air passage when nursing. Whichever style or position you choose, make sure you can see the top of his head and check him periodically while breastfeeding to make sure his nose is unobstructed.
Type of Carrier
Consider when and where you’ll be using your carrier. If you plan to wear and breastfeed your baby for long stretches of time, you will probably want a more structured carrier, as opposed to a sling that hangs across one shoulder and can cause back strain.
Do Baby Carriers Specific for Breastfeeding Actually Work?
There is substantial evidence regarding the benefits of baby-wearing, and the same reports also suggest that breastfeeding your baby while wearing him in a carrier can support better digestion. It also stands to reason that carrying out everyday tasks without worrying about where you’ll have to set up a feeding station reduces stress for you as well.