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We know you’re here to learn about using baby carriers for breastfeeding, but first let’s look at some stats! Did you know newborns’ average breastfeeding session lasts 20-30 minutes? And per the CDC, most infants nurse 8-12 times daily?
Now, let’s do some math:
If your baby nurses for 30 minutes, 10 times a day, that means you’re spending approximately five hours daily feeding your baby; that’s a significant chunk of your day, my friend!
That’s five hours of sitting on the couch or in bed doing nothing but feeding your little one. I hope you have your breastfeeding snacks handy!
Not exactly the best option for productivity…right?
What if I told you there was another option? You can always do what many other parents choose: put their babies in baby carriers for breastfeeding, so they can still get things done while their newborn eats.
The chores and work don’t stop just because you’re a breastfeeding mom. Since you’ll have to spend a decent amount of time nursing, why not put on your multi-tasking hat and find ways to do more than one thing at a time?
But it’s nursing while babywearing safe? Do you have to buy a special type of carrier or wrap to do it in? Is breastfeeding in a baby sling easy?
Stick with us if you want all these answers and much more! We have tips, tricks, and product suggestions to streamline your baby carrier breastfeeding journey and successfully nurse your little one on the go.
Is Nursing While Babywearing Safe?
If you’re anything like me, your parenting anxiety might cause you to question the safety and validity of every choice you make for your little one.
For example, had someone told me about breastfeeding in my structured baby carrier during my first rodeo as a mom, I likely would’ve assumed that was a one-way ticket to suffocating my newborn. But I was wrong about that! Many parents successfully nurse while babywearing without any catastrophic consequences.
It’s so safe and trusted, in fact, that a 2012 study discovered that nursing in carriers often leads to long-term breastfeeding success.
That’s not the only advantage, though. Check out the following benefits of using baby carriers for breastfeeding.
1. Improves Your Chances of Nursing Longer
Research shows that 96% of new mamas breastfeed after delivering their little ones. Unfortunately, though, only 15% are still nursing five months later.
Since babywearing also encourages stronger bonds and comfort between parents and babies, there’s a high chance you’ll continue nursing longer when using carriers as a part of your breastfeeding experience.
2. Increased Milk Supply
After we deliver our babies, most doctors encourage skin-to-skin contact. The benefits of this bonding exercise continue beyond post-delivery, though.
Skin-to-skin contact increases oxytocin production, a.k.a. the “love” hormone that helps with breast milk development. So, when you’re using baby carriers for breastfeeding, it will increase the amount of oxytocin you’re putting out, which can help increase your milk supply.
3. Keeps Your Hands Free for Other Activities
Imagine you’re sitting on the couch, nursing your baby while staring into the kitchen at a pile of dirty dishes in the sink; I’m guessing you’ll feel stressed about the chores waiting after your baby finishes.
Now, what if you could kill two birds with one stone?
By mastering the art of breastfeeding in a baby carrier, there’s no reason you can’t knock out some chores while your newborn fills their belly. You can do plenty of things around the house, from dishes to folding laundry when nursing hands-free.
Remember, though, even though this skill is meant to free up your hands, it’s crucial to ensure your little one is still supported. You may need to help hold their head with one of your hands while moving around.
4. Fewer Tummy Troubles
The cradle position, football hold, and cross-cradle are among moms’ and babies’ favorite breastfeeding positions. Unfortunately, if your little one suffers from tummy troubles, gas, or acid reflux, these “lying down” holds might cause problems.
When you nurse in a structured baby carrier, however, you can hold your infant in more of an upright position that can reduce these issues. Keeping your upright after the feed is also good for helping their digestion.
5. Helps Babies Relax During Feeds
I remember times, especially when our little ones weren’t feeling good, that nursing became a bit of a battle. It was like they couldn’t relax enough to correctly latch on and eat. When you’re holding them in different types of carriers during feeds, though, this can help keep them calm and comfortable.
Tips to Successfully Breastfeed Your Baby in a Baby Carrier
Obviously, there are many great reasons to try using baby carriers for breastfeeding. Before you just toss your newborn into a carrier and prepare to nurse them, you should probably know that nursing while babywearing a newborn can be challenging–NOT IMPOSSIBLE, but difficult.
Please don’t go into the process expecting to master it on the first try. It’s an acquired skill that could take some time for you and your baby to get used to, and that’s okay!
Please, don’t let this scare you off! You can do plenty of things to make the experience easier for you both.
1. Try and Try Again
I once heard a quote by a man named Len Schlesinger that says:
“Failure doesn’t mean the game is over; it means try again with experience.”
Let me be straight with you; the first time you try breastfeeding while babywearing, there’s a good chance it will be a massive failure. So, should you give up? No! You should take what you learned during that attempt and let it help you improve during the next one.
Learning to nurse in a baby carrier might take some practice, but it’s certainly doable. Keep practicing; pretty soon, you and baby will be old pros!
2. Wearing Nursing Clothes and Bras
Want to know how to make breastfeeding during babywearing even harder? Wear clothes that don’t offer easy access to your boobs! Make sure you choose nursing bras and nursing nightgowns (at night) and clothing you can pull down, unclip, or quickly move to the side.
When you don’t have to go deep-sea diving for your nipple, you’ll feel much better about the process.
3. Loosen Your Straps (But Just a Little!)
If you’re using a soft-structured baby carrier, make sure it comes with adjustable straps. While you don’t want your baby following out of the device, loosening them up a bit can make it easier for you and your baby to maneuver during feeds.
4. Watch Your Little One’s Position
Just because your baby is nursing in a carrier, it doesn’t mean you can ignore vital babywearing safety rules, especially those that deal with their airways.
You’ll want to watch your newborn’s chin and ensure it’s lifted throughout the feed. Also, please take note of their nose, so it doesn’t get buried or smushed into your chest, which can lead to breathing difficulties.
5. Pay Attention to Any Cues from Your Baby
As moms, we can usually tell when something doesn’t feel right with our babies. Pay close attention to any signs your baby gives you while nursing and babywearing simultaneously.
If they seem extra wiggly, are crying, or making grunting noises, for instance, these could indicate they’re uncomfortable or in distress.
6. Use a Nursing Cover or Blanket for Extra Privacy
Not everyone feels comfortable nursing in public; I know I didn’t! While breastfeeding during babywearing can provide more coverage than without, you can always use a lightweight baby swaddle blanket or nursing cover for extra privacy.
Just make sure to monitor baby’s temperature and check to make sure they aren’t giving any distress signals.
7. Master Your Breastfeeding and Babywearing Skills Separately First
Are you ready for the most critical tip for babywearing and breastfeeding success? Work on both of these skills independently first!
Even if you’re a natural at nursing babies and babywearing, it can still take time to figure them out. No amount of tips and tricks can guarantee you’ll be an expert from the start. Once you feel comfortable with your skills, try to put them together.
Does a Certain Type of Baby Carrier Work Best for Breastfeeding?
This is really a matter of personal preference and trial and error. I have noticed, that many of the moms I know who breastfeed in baby carriers prefer using ring slings or stretchy wraps, especially for newborns who can’t hold themselves up as well.
You might have more success using ring slings and wraps in the beginning. However, once your baby is a little older, you can easily switch to a structured baby carrier for breastfeeding.
Which Ring Slings Are Good for Nursing While Babywearing?
Ring slings are definitely a mama-favorite when we’re talking about nursing and babywearing at the same time. They’re versatile and allow you to carry your baby in various positions, such as a hip carry or snuggle hold, both of which are great when you want to breastfeed.
You’ll find many different options on the market, but the products below are among the most popular and trusted in the parenting community.
This eco-friendly ring sling is made from a luxurious, breathable bamboo cotton blend. This material is lightweight and helps babies regulate their temperatures better than some alternatives. It also feels cooler and more comfortable to us parents.
It’s machine washable and comes in several color options depending on your style preferences.
One of my favorite things about this company, it donates 5% of its proceeds to Cepia, a non-profit organization that provides aid to low-income families in Costa Rica.
If you want a highly-rated but low-cost ring sling for breastfeeding, the Cuby is a fantastic option. You can use it for your newborn baby, and it features a breathable mesh material that’s perfect for warm summer months.
Many parents love this one for beach and pool days because it dries quickly and keeps parents and babies cool.
Warning, though, some reviewers complain about how hard this product is to adjust, so that’s something to keep in mind before purchasing.
The Moby brand is a popular choice in the babywearing community, and their ring sling is no exception.
This baby sling is lightweight, easy to wear, and simple to adjust to baby’s size. Plus, it’s great for little ones up to 33 lbs, so you can trust it will grow with your infant.
Some reviewers do mention that it takes some time to get used to, but once you do, it’s quick to get your baby in and out.
Our Favorite Baby Wraps for Breastfeeding
Baby wraps are one of my favorites, whether you’re using them to nurse while babywearing or not. They consist of a piece of long fabric that you wrap around your body to create a secure pouch for your little one.
They’re extremely adjustable, which makes them a great option for nursing mamas–check out some of our favorites below.
The Solly Wrap is hands-down among the best babywearing products on the market. It’s received countless positive reviews and mentions in top publications like Vogue and The Bump.
Solly uses a unique fabric blend made in California from eco-friendly beech wood pulp. The result is a buttery soft fabric that will keep your baby safe and cozy. I also love that designers made this wrap with plus-sized and petite moms in mind.
No matter your body type, you can feel confident that this warp will work for you.
While a few reviewers mention that this wrap can get a bit warm, especially in warmer weather, many also state that it’s much cooler than other alternatives they’ve tried.
With more than 26,000 reviews on Amazon, it’s evident that many moms love their Boba Wraps. It’s made from a cotton spandex blend that helps hold its shape and keep little ones snug and secure inside the wrap. Essentially, it’s a long piece of fabric you can tie in several ways for different babywearing holds and nursing positions.
I won’t lie, though, I had the Boba Wrap with our first baby, and it was HOT!
Granted, I’m in Florida, but still, if you’re dealing with high temperatures, you should look for a product with a bit more breathability.
The Baby K’tan wrap is a personal fave. Instead of one long sash like other wrap carriers, it comes partially “tied,” making it incredibly easy to put on and get baby in. This is also an excellent solution to nursing in a baby carrier because it’s still adjustable, despite the alternative design.
The Baby K’Tan team specifically mentions the hug breastfeeding position as an ideal option for nursing in their carrier.
If you’ve read any of our other product-based baby articles, you probably already know that we’re a downright sucker for anything Kyte Baby makes—mostly because their products are incredibly durable and SO SNUGGLY.
Their ring sling is no exception. Made from pre-washed linen and available in a host of beautiful colors, this sling is perfect for newborn baby wearing and is perfect for a snuggle hold (just watch to make sure that baby’s mouth isn’t pressed too tightly against your body).
Did you know that you can use some baby carriers for breastfeeding until your child is a toddler? This one will last you until your child is 35 lbs!
What Are the Best Baby Carriers for Breastfeeding?
Now, it’s time to talk about soft-structured carriers. These are favorites among parents, and provide long-term babywearing and nursing use. Each of the following products is highly recommended among moms and dads.
I know you shouldn’t buy baby products based solely on how cute they are, but if you could, Tula would be a solid choice! The great news is that it’s also an awesome product! We love the Free to Grow Baby Carrier because it’s usable in two ergonomic positions—front and back carry. The waistbelt is also super supportive for the parent, which will become even more necessary as your baby gets heavier.
This carrier also completely takes the guesswork out of carriers. Many reviewers rave about how easy it is to use, and if you’ve ever had to practice using a carrier to get it to work and ended up saying a lot of unpleasant things, this carrier is probably for you.
It grows with your baby from 7-45 lbs, but make sure you use the carrier insert for infants 7-15 lbs. You should also only carry infants from 7-15 lbs in a front carry.
Before I discovered my Tula during my second pregnancy, my husband and I shared the Ergobaby baby carrier for our first daughter, and we loved it!
This is another great option for parents who want to babywear into their little one’s toddler years because it’s rated for kids up to 45 lbs. It’s also received “Hip Healthy” approval from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute – a gold standard in the babywearing industry.
I’m also a big fan of the padded shoulder straps and lumbar support.
Babywearing can be challenging, and this product offers more comfort than many competitors.
One of the challenging parts of purchasing structured baby carriers for many parents is the price. Unfortunately, they’re not always the most budget-friendly item on your list of new baby must-haves.
Don’t start stressing, though! Plenty of affordable options will still work great when you’re searching for baby carriers for breastfeeding, like the Infantino Cuddle Up, for example! This carrier has more than 6,000 reviews on Amazon!
It offers durable material and allows for front and back carrying positions. It even comes with a detachable bear hoodie that you can use to keep your little one’s ears warm.
Now for the cons: the Cuddle Up offers less parent support and adjustability than some alternatives. Some reviewers also mention that the waistband doesn’t sit right on shorter people.
Those things aside, though, it’s still an excellent option if you are preparing for baby on a budget.
Hip, back, front, face out, face in, and fetal–these are just some of the 360-degree carrying options you have with the Lillebaby Baby Carrier.
If you want a high-quality carrier that offers tons of versatility, this one is a fantastic choice. Plus, it’s also received the “Hip Healthy” label from the International Hip Dysplasia Institute.
With so much flexibility in how you carry your baby, this is definitely a worthy option if you want to nurse inside your baby carrier.
We love that TushBaby because it’s so easy to pop on and off as needed and isn’t a full, traditional baby carrier. Think of it as a purse (because we don’t want to admit that it’s more like a fanny pack) combined with a baby carrier in one.
The TushBaby sits lower on your body than many full baby carriers, which makes for a more natural nursing height than many carriers that hold baby a bit higher on mom’s belly. Our marketing director also swears by it as the easiest way to feed a baby who wants to stand.
We also have a discount code for Tush Baby! Use KATYHUIE during checkout on TushBaby’s website for 15% off!
Don’t Worry if Using Baby Carriers for Breastfeeding Isn’t For You
There are tons of advantages to babywearing and breastfeeding simultaneously and plenty of great baby barriers for breastfeeding to use. That said, though; this practice isn’t for everyone.
If you don’t feel comfortable nursing in a baby wrap or carrier, don’t let that bother you! It’s a personal choice that won’t work for all of us mamas. Your baby won’t hold it against you if you’d rather lounge near your favorite breastfeeding station with your phone during feeds!
If you are interested in trying, though, just remember to be kind to yourself about it.
You might not master the technique on the first, second, or third try. With the right types of carriers and a little perseverance, however, you can be waltzing around the house, park, or store while nursing in no time.
Have you ever thought about using baby carriers for breastfeeding? Would you like to?
Kristen Bergeron is a freelance writer from Florida. In addition to writing, she is a wife, mother of two beautiful girls, Hadley and Scarlett, and a part-time photographer. After overcoming infertility and having two successful IVF cycles, she’s made it a personal goal to help educate men and women on the realities of fertility struggles. She is passionate about supporting fellow women who are trying to navigate the complicated world of conception, pregnancy, and learning to be the best mothers we can be.