Winter Babywearing Tips

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We’re now in the thick of winter and experiencing a whole different situation in Oklahoma.  Being from Utah we are used to cold and snow but have gotten out of the habits we were in when we lived in Utah.  Babywearing in the winter can be a whole different experience than at other times depending on where you live.  Planning in advance and keeping extra jackets (especially a babywearing one or a babywearing vest or something that fits over you both without getting in the way of baby’s airway) in the car at all times will help especially if unexpected weather hits when you’re out with baby.  The following tips can help you prepare for winter wearing.

  • Keep a carrier handy in your car, it should be part of your emergency kit.  Even if you don’t regularly babywear if you are trapped in your car in a storm or another emergency situation a baby carrier can help keep your baby warm.
  • Don’t ever wear baby while ice skating, skiing, or other situations that you could fall or wouldn’t wear baby while holding them in your hands.
  • Be extra careful near ice in parking lots and sidewalks while babywearing.  Your center of balance is different than you are used to from being pregnant or before pregnancy.
  • Any well made ergonomic carrier is excellent in the winter time.  Practice before the storms come setting your tails of your wrap or mei tai in your vehicle or between your legs to keep them off of the wet ground.  You can also practice inside several times before venturing out.  It takes a little extra maneuvering and practice but tails can be kept off of the wet ground (it’s not the end of the world if the tails get wet though either-if they’re really wet you may want to pat dry with a towel to keep you and baby dry and warm).
  • Keep to light layers for you and baby.  It’s better to wear a babywearing coat or poncho (purchased or free/cheap homemade versions or a large coat that you can zip over you both or even a maternity jacket with a few fixes so it doesn’t get in the way of baby’s face or airway).  If you stick to light layers you will use your own body heat to keep baby warm and also be able to tell if baby is overheating much sooner than if you each wear a jacket or coat.
  • Stay hydrated.  Staying hydrated is just as important in the winter as in the summer.  We often forget to drink water when we aren’t sweating as much but you do need to drink about the same amount of water in the winter as the summer.
  • Breastfeeding in extra layers is a little more tricky.  If you practice at home you will have more confidence before going out.  An outer layer is much easier to remove if needed to get baby situated to nurse than a coat inside the carrier (plus baby coats are usually not safe in their car seat).

If you’re in the Oklahoma City area be sure to check out my class details and register here.

Breastfeeding and Babywearing Part 2

First Published: Sep 18, 2015 2:28 AMbreastfeedingandbabywearing
Babywearing is a must for many breastfeeding mothers. Not only can you keep baby close and enjoy the benefits of skin to skin contact but you can also recognize baby’s early feeding cues and many mothers are able to breastfeed right in the carrier. Different carriers will work better for different mothers. Try it out with a few different carriers before going “out in the wild” and see what works best for you. Many mothers are able to nurse discreetly and have one or two hands free to do what they need to do. I certainly encourage nursing mothers to sit down and get their feet up as much as possible but recognize sometimes there are things that need to be done as well. This post will give some ideas and tips for nursing in a carrier. As always, I recommend some hands on help. Certified Babywearing Educators can give specialized one on one help with all aspects of babywearing including (but not limited to by any means) helping moms to breastfeed in their carriers.

If you want to learn more about the how babywearing supports breastfeeding be sure to check out this post!

Babywearing makes breastfeeding easier! (From this article)

“Breastfeeding mothers who practice baby wearing find it easy to nurse their babies more often. This may help babies gain more weight. The shorter the time between feedings the higher the fat content in mother’s milk. By wearing baby, a mother can easily respond to his early feeding cues:

When a baby is near his source of milk and comfort, he does not have to use much energy to get his mother’s attention; he can use this energy to grow instead. (Sears and Sears 2001)

If a mother thinks that she will feel uncomfortable breastfeeding in public, baby wearing can help her overcome this worry. Breastfeeding in public is likely to attract more attention if the baby has reached the point that he is crying frantically when mother tries to offer the breast. If baby is already close to mother in a sling, she can respond as soon as he shows early feeding cues, such as rooting for the breast or sucking on his hands. She can adjust his position and her clothing and have him peacefully nursing before anyone even notices. The extra fabric from the sling can easily be pulled over baby’s head, and mother can continue shopping or eating dinner without any fuss. With the fabric of the sling blocking out distractions, baby will settle down to the business of eating and may nurse quietly off to sleep.”

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This mother is nursing in a woven wrap. She has brought her breast up to baby rather than dropping baby down.

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Mom has brought baby down a little to her breast and brought her breast up a little to her baby. Baby is not in a full cradle position like many moms use in a ring sling. There are a lot of options. Experiment to find what works best for you!

Some practical tips:

  • Practice in different carriers. Because every mother is shaped differently, sometimes different wrapping methods or trying a different carrier will help you nurse your baby better than one you may be struggling with.
  • Be sure baby has a good latch. It’s helpful, especially with a small baby learning to latch, for baby to be nose to nipple and for you to give a little extra help the first few times trying to nurse in a carrier (or possibly after the first few times).
  • Try different shirt methods. Some moms are comfortable with shirts or tops that pull down from the top, other moms are more comfortable with a two shirt method where you pull the top shirt up and pull the bottom shirt down or to the side. A nursing tank can easily be made by cutting slits off to the side of your breast in a well fitting tank top (off the center of your nipple towards your arms). T-shirt material will not fray so you don’t have to sew it but if you’d like to stitch around the new opening it will help it lay flat under your shirt.
  • You can bring baby to your breast by lowering baby in the carrier or lift your breast to baby, or a combination of the two-experiment with what will work best for you both.
  • In a ring sling be sure that baby’s head is opposite the rings when laying your baby in a cradle type position. You will have to reverse the shoulder if you want to nurse on the other breast.
  • In a soft structure carrier or mei tai you can drop the waist band down and loosen the arms to bring baby down to your breast or you can lift your breast up. If you are doing the two shirt method you will want to be sure to lift your top shirt above your waistband before trying to get baby in position and may want to tuck your bottom shirt in to your pants to help it stay where you want it.
  • In a woven wrap you can lay baby in a side laying position (be sure to check baby’s breathing at all times!) or drop baby down. Front wrap cross carrier is an excellent nursing carry. You can lift baby up and pull legs up and out of the crosses, lay baby to the side and pull the wrap down over the bottom and a little down the legs to make a pocket. When baby is done nursing, put baby back upright, put those little legs back in to the crosses, and untie and retighten the carrier. With practice this can be done while baby drifts off to sleep.
  • Get immediate help for breastfeeding struggles. See an IBCLC for breastfeeding help.
  • Get some hands on babywearing help if you still are struggling with nursing in a carrier.
  • Remember to always bring baby back to an upright position high and tight after baby is done actively nursing (before baby drops off to sleep). You may have to unlatch baby early. This is to protect baby’s airway and the rule is not the same when you are nursing a sleeping baby outside of a carrier.
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Nursing in a Boba 4G carrier using the two shirt method. I have pulled my top shirt up and pulled the slit over and pulled my nursing bra down. With practice this becomes easy and quick to do. Baby was lowered by loosening the waistbelt and arm straps. A hood can be used for extra security if you wish.

I’m a visual learner and I really enjoy videos. Here is a playlist of YouTube videos that I have found helpful and you may as well.

What are your tips and tricks for breastfeeding in a carrier?

Traveling With Baby

First Published: Sep 8, 2015 6:01 PM traveling

Whenever you have to waver from a baby’s routine life can become challenging. Babies also often have a lot of extras: toys, clothes, diapers, burp cloths, layers in case it’s chilly, car seats, etc. Babywearing helps simplify traveling and allows extra hands to carry the extra items your baby needs to be comfortable. Some of these tips may also help.

Traveling by Car

  • Plan an extra day or several extra hours to get to your destination. It will be worth it to take a lot of breaks rather than trying to power through. Consider doing the longest stretches while baby is napping or sleeping. Possibly consider traveling overnight if you can get enough sleep to make up for missing the sleep during the night.
  • Plan breaks in towns with a park or somewhere you can all get out and stretch your legs, walk around, and play for a few minutes. Packing a frisbee or other toys that you and your children love to play with and chase will help everyone get some fresh air and exercise and make the time in the car go more smoothly.
  • Plan for plenty of snacks and drinks. This will make everyone have to go to the bathroom more often but having plenty of water will keep everyone from getting dehydrated.
  • Leave a place next to baby if possible so if you’re tag team driving with your spouse or another adult an adult can sit next to baby and play peek-a-boo and sing songs if baby is bored.
  • Try to make nursing feel as much like home as possible-be sure to pack your nursing pillow if you use one or something else that will remind baby of home.
  • Babywear and snuggle as much as you can to make up for the skin to skin time baby is used to. You can wear baby as soon as you get out of the car and during bathroom breaks and then play together and stretch legs. Follow your baby’s cue. Many parents find that if they wear baby as much as possible in the hotel or when they reach their destination it will help baby feel better and the car ride will go more smoothly. Start this a couple of days before your trip if possible.
  • Bring plenty of extra clothes and diapers. Sometimes babies get upset tummies in the car or have extra messy diapers when traveling.

Traveling by Plane/Train/Boat/Bus

  • Pack plenty of treats and snacks for the diaper bag. The TSA allows enough snacks and fluids for the flight (check their website for current information).
  • If possible pack a few toys and books that your baby has never seen before or hasn’t played with in a long time to keep them entertained. Freecycle.com is a great place to find these or a local virtual garage sale page. Trading baby toys with friends for your trip is also a good idea.
  • Pack some funny things like bubbles (be sure to check fluid amount guidelines) to play with while waiting for the plane/train/boat/bus, etc.
  • Try to stretch little legs and parent legs as much as possible right before your flight. Getting all the wiggles out will help many babies settle before boarding and buckling up.
  • Consider getting baby their own seat for their car seat or gate check baby’s seat. Sometimes if there are extra seats and you gate check they will let you buckle baby in their seat at no additional charge (depends on the airline though). Gate checking often keeps your car seat safer too.
  • Babywear as much as possible for a few days before your flight. The extra skin to skin contact will help “charge baby’s batteries” especially if baby won’t be a “lap child.”
  • If possible, nurse during take off. If not possible, offer a pacifier or clean finger (with short nails) pad side up to the roof of baby’s mouth. This will help little ears from feeling too much pressure.
  • Pack extra diapers and clothes. Sometimes babies get upset tummies or have extra messy diapers. Sometimes flights are delayed.

Carriers usually aren’t allowed through security (the TSA says they are not allowed on their website as of this writing but check their website for current information) but you can wear baby up to security and after. Buckle carriers and ring slings allow for quick ups and downs and make this go more smoothly but woven wraps are also quite lovely if you have long layovers, you may consider putting one in your carry on though or waiting to wrap until after you get through security and can get off to the side somewhere.

Have a happy trip!

What are your favorite tips for parents traveling with babies?