"Wearing" a baby is not a new concept. It's something that women around the world have been doing for centuries. Even here in America, we know that native American women wore their babies in papooses on their backs so that they could go on about their work while keeping their babies close to them throughout the day. Of course, wearing your baby today is more in tune with the needs of both baby and mother, with carriers that support the baby out to the knee, in the same way you do when you hold him. Plus, today's front-facing carriers hold your baby against your chest, where you can attend to him and where he can sleep against the comforting sound of your heartbeat, the same steady, reassuring sound he's been hearing throughout his nine months in utero.
Better for Baby
There are physical reasons why wearing your baby is so important. Newborn babies have curved -- "c-shaped" -- spines, which make lying them on their backs for most of the day unnatural. In fact, too much time lying flat in a carriage, stroller or table-top baby carrier can actually lead to muscle-tone problems as well as flat-head syndrome (plagiocephaly). Because it's safer for your baby to sleep on her back, you really don't have a choice at night. But it makes perfect sense to limit the time she spends her waking hours in that position.
It's also better that babies with GERD be held in an upright position and also better for them to experience your full range of motion, which some experts say will lead to fewer space-related phobias later in life.
But perhaps the best thing about "wearing" your baby is that the baby gets to see more of the world, see your face and read your expressions, and retreat into his carrier if he's overstimulated. He's also receiving almost constant "touch", which is so important emotionally and psychologically as numerous studies have shown.
Of course, there's nothing wrong with using a stroller on occasion, and car seats are vital to keeping your baby safe in the car. But the majority of your baby's time is best spent close to your heart -- both literally and figuratively speaking. But what about the fact that babies need to nurse every few hours? Can you "wear" your baby and nurse at the same time? Yes, you absolutely can, but there are right and wrong ways to do that.
Breastfeeding While Wearing Your Baby
One of the wonderful things about breastfeeding while "wearing" your baby is that you're already right there so your baby doesn't have to waste energy summoning you. Just make sure you understand how to properly baby wear your newborn and breastfeed at the same time. Here are some important tips about nursing while wearing your baby:
- Support - Make sure your baby carrier is tight enough so that your baby can snuggle close to you. Avoid the carrier or wrap to be too loose that the baby slips down.
- Baby's Face is Visible - You should be able to see baby's face at all times. In order to breastfeed, adjust and cradle your baby so he is looking more upward rather than down because that can lead to spilled milk, and no one wants that! Readjust after baby is finished.
- Keep Baby Up High - Keep your baby's head close enough to kiss just by bending your head down toward him.
- Keep His Chin Off His Chest - Make sure that your baby is not curled so much that it presses his chin up against his chest since that can restrict his breathing. Keep a finger-width space between his chest and his chin as a guide.
- Keep His Back Supported - In an upright carrier, your baby should be held comfortably but firmly close to you so that his back is supported in its natural position and his chest and tummy are close to you. If a sling is too loose, the baby can slump which partially closes off her airway. You can check his position by putting your hand on her back and gently pressing on it. She should neither uncurl nor move closer to you. If she does, you need to readjust the carrier until the back is properly supported. While you're cradling him to nurse, his bottom should be in the deepest part of the sling, which will prevent him from curling too much and pressing his chin against his chest.
Make Your Job Easier With the Right Clothes
It's essential to wear a top that's made for nursing since it eliminates the awkward need to struggle with your clothing while you're wearing your little one. It's not easy to life your shirt up or down when already strapped in a carrier or baby wrap. It's not only easier for you, it's also easier and safer for your baby who won't be subjected to your scrunched up sweater or tee pressing against the top of her nose, at worst restricting her breathing, and at best being uncomfortable for both of you! Bun Maternity has a beautiful selection of American made tops and dresses that are colorful, stylish, and designed to access each breast individually (or both at the same time) to make nursing as easy and natural as possible.
Soft nursing tees and easy snap down tanks that keep the chest covered let baby have access to his lunch anytime and anywhere. If its cold, try the Bun Cozy Nursing Hoodie for the nursing convenience and uber mama style combined.
Kudos to you for nurturing your new baby in the most natural ways possible -- by baby wearing him as you go about your day and providing him with a nourishing meal at a moment's notice!