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?

Then and Now, How My Goals Have Changed: Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival Day 7

First Published: Aug 2, 2015 10:00 AM 

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Today’s topic is Then and Now, How My Goals Have Changed. If you’re interested in reading my previous Breastfeeding Carnival posts please check out my homeschooling blog here.

When I was pregnant with Monkey (who is now 7), I came up with the goal to breastfeed him for 6 months and see how things went. My mom told me I bit her when I was about 6 months and she weaned me because I wouldn’t stop biting. When my baby arrived and couldn’t breastfeed my goals changed. I had hope that I’d be able to make it 6 months but I had to take it weeks at a time. Once he was able to latch with a nipple shield my goal quickly became a month. We passed the month and then I hoped by the time he was 8 weeks we could wean from the nipple shield. He wasn’t able to wean from it. He still was nursing really well though and I had plenty of milk (an overabundant supply). My goal then became 6 months again. We got to that point, by then I was used to biting because for a few weeks he bit to squeeze milk out of me until he learned out to suck. When he bit a couple of times it wasn’t as big of a deal. At 6 months things were going well so I decided a year but I couldn’t see us nursing past that. At 12 months, Monkey was very much a baby still so I decided 18 months. He had different plans and had finished weaning himself by 14.5 months, a week after we got back from our first visit to Corvallis. He had been dropping a feeding at a time for a little over a month at that point and completely lost interest and didn’t look back. I was pretty upset because my goals had changed and we hadn’t got there but he knew what he needed.

For K man, I decided that we would go 18 months and see how things were at that point. At that time I said 2 years and we’d see. His second birthday came and went. He was much more of a baby than Monkey was at that age. When I got pregnant with Roxy when K man was 2 plus 4 months I started bleeding right away. Because I have had 3 miscarriages we knew I needed to wean the last feeding right away. The bleeding stopped. I nursed him one last time the next night. At that point he could go a day without nursing and he was mostly only nursing to go to sleep at night.

Roxy has had some tummy issues her whole life. We finally have a diagnosis for it as of July (she is 19 months now). She still has a lot of reflux from the issues though. I can see her nursing longer than my boys did. I don’t have any limit on her as of right now because she has so many food allergies besides that we have to avoid. I know her milk helps her get what she needs. She still nurses during the night too and I know she needs it. I couldn’t imagine it any other way with her. In a way, I’m glad she is my last because my views have changed very much on the age to which a baby could/should/needs/wants to breastfeed.

You can find information about the Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival here. Here’s a link back to today’s post on the Breastfeeding Cafe’s blog.

How have your goals changed over your course of breastfeeding? Or, if you’re expecting, what are your breastfeeding goals?

How Breastfeeding Has Changed My Life: Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival Day 6

First Published: Aug 1, 2015 10:00 AM

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Today’s topic is How Breastfeeding Has Changed My Life. If you’re interested in reading my previous Breastfeeding Carnival posts please check out my homeschooling blog here.

I always knew I wanted to breastfeed. I had a very strong desire to make it work. When I had to fight SO hard to be able to do it that fire made me want to help other mothers. I received so much help and support from support groups that I decided to become an accredited breastfeeding helper in one particular group. Because this is my business blog I don’t name names because it’s against the rules to mix causes but it’s really hard for me to separate the help and support I have received and given because it’s my passion so I mention but don’t name names.

I was inspired so much by the little help I got in the hospital as well as from a couple of REALLY awesome IBCLCs to go down that road. I hope to sit for the exam in April 2017. I hope to help mothers more hands on than I’m allowed to now and help with more tricky situations and work closely with doctors. It’s a huge bonus to get paid to do this work but that’s not what drives me. Breastfeeding opened so many doors of who I want to be and opened my heart to helping so many mothers. I have always been kind of shy but passions help me break that shyness and speak out.

I had the opportunity in the Winco parking lot of all places to help a mother who really needed help a few months ago. She noticed I was wearing an “Ask me about cloth diapers” t-shirt as I was loading my groceries and my daughter and we talked about cloth diapers for a minute but what she really needed was some help and support with breastfeeding. It was such a beautiful moment to be able to listen to this mother and offer her the support she needed. She especially needed to hear she was an awesome mom-she totally is! I could tell through her emotional pain from her struggles that she was a very devoted and dedicated mom to her baby. I saw myself in her. I saw myself crying as I was pumping and not able to hold and feed my newborn. I saw the pain that was in my eyes watching someone else feed my baby milk that was not mine, but formula (which has a place but it was not what I had planned), while I sat pumping and getting nothing out. I saw my pain being released from the hospital with no pump, no idea if or when my baby would latch, and no idea how to even get him to that point other than a phone number of a doctor to call the next morning to clip my son’s frenulum because it was so tight he couldn’t even try to latch. She had a very different situation than mine but it was the same emotions. I felt her struggles as she told me what was going on. I’m so grateful that I was there that day and was able to listen. In my situation, very few people would listen. Nobody had quality advice to give. It felt like everyone was telling me to pump for a week or two maybe and give up. I hope the mom walked away feeling hope. I know it was healing for me though. I am so glad that I have had opportunities to share knowledge and empathy. This one especially stands out to me because I saw my pain in her eyes.

Breastfeeding has been a roller coaster. Everything in my mothering life has been a roller coaster. Breastfeeding has made me who I am. Breastfeeding has healed me.

Happy World Breastfeeding Week!

You can find information about the Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival here. Here’s a link back to today’s post on the Breastfeeding Cafe’s blog.

How has breastfeeding impacted you or your family?

My Favorite Breastfeeding Advantage: Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival Day 4

First Published: Jul 30, 2015 10:00 AM

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Today’s topic is My Favorite Breastfeeding Advantage. If you’re interested in reading my previous Breastfeeding Carnival posts please check out my homeschooling blog here.

There are so many advantages of breastfeeding. I don’t refer to them as benefits because I like to frame breastfeeding as the norm because our bodies were made to breastfeed our babies and human milk was designed specifically for human babies. I highly recommend reading this article if you’re a breastfeeding supporter especially.

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Thanks to my awesome photographer Alicia for capturing this moment. You can find her on Facebook here.

My favorite advantage of breastfeeding is the bond built through the interactions and the close contact and having a tiny person be so reliant on me to keep them alive. It really is quite an experience and game changer to have someone be so dependent on you and mainly you for their nourishment. It also caused me a lot of anxiety, especially in the early days, but when I stopped trying to analyze everything so much (when my babies were getting plenty) and fell in love with my baby fully things really changed.

The biggest thing I have learned through mothering through breastfeeding is that I notice and am aware of challenges and struggles within my children early because I have become so in tune with them. I have noticed things and have been able to be an advocate for my children. Babywearing has further fine tuned this. Breastfeeding and babywearing have been huge comforts to my shy children and when they have been scared of procedures or situations. I know these relationships that I have build with them have helped build a trust between us. This is a big reason why I want to help other families babywear and breastfeed. These relationships are so important to foster when children are very young and I think are good predictors of the relationships and trust they will have of others in the future.

You can find information about the Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival here. Here’s a link back to today’s post on the Breastfeeding Cafe’s blog.

What is your favorite advantage of breastfeeding?

My Breastfeeding Stories: Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival Day 2

First Published: Jul 28, 2015 7:22 PM

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Today’s topic is Breastfeeding Stories. If you’re interested in reading my previous Breastfeeding Carnival posts please check out my homeschooling blog here.

Those who know me well know that all three of my children have had various breastfeeding struggles. All of mine have had tongue and/or lip ties that have prevented or severely inhibited breastfeeding and all have sensory issues but all have had other special issues as well. I was the first of my friends to have babies and I didn’t have friends to turn to for help and support and my family all had different experiences but many lead to help and support along the way regardless.

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With my oldest son (lovingly referred to as Monkey online, for which I have named my knitting business Monkey Bunns as well as Monkey Baby Wrap) I received very little help and support in the hospital in hindsight. They claimed to be very supportive and knowledgeable about breastfeeding but most of the nurses were not up to date on information. When Monkey was young I started attending breastfeeding support meetings. I eventually decided that I wanted to become a trained and accredited supporter to help other mothers but my journey took several twists and turns and I was not able to become fully accredited until my second son was a young baby. I turned to a lot of online forums with him as well as some books. You can learn more details from my previous breastfeeding carnival posts in the link above.

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When my second son was born we really struggled financially to put it nicely. My husband soon started working a second full time job and I was still continuing to prepare for paying my dues to become an accredited breastfeeding supporter. I was able to help other mothers with their issues but my second son was my first baby to nurse without a nipple shield so there was a learning curve there. When he was 7 months old we packed up and moved from Utah to Oregon where my husband started attending graduate school. I became an official breastfeeding helper and had the opportunity to help a lot of moms in person and through email and a few online on Facebook as well. I became a Certified Babywearing Educator and started helping parents babywear and also breastfeed while babywearing.

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Thanks to my awesome photographer Alicia for capturing this moment. You can find her on Facebook here.

By the time Roxy came along the Facebook group was very active and I was very integrated in to my local community through networking. I found it very healing through our very intense first 7 months of struggles until it finally worked out and we found a groove to help other mothers. She is now 18 months and still has some struggles with some issues with her little body but breast milk helps her get enough nutrients and vitamins to help bridge the gap. She nurses a lot in a carrier and I also study to become a lactation consultant while I nurse her. I have read many many more breastfeeding books while nursing her and love to share the information I learn with others.

You can find information about the Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival here. Here’s a link back to today’s post on the Breastfeeding Cafe’s blog.

Tell me your breastfeeding story or stories!

Non-traditional Breastfeeding Support: Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival Day 1

First Published: Jul 28, 2015 12:54 AM

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I decided to participate in the Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival on my babywearing blog this year. Why you might ask? Because I believe babywearing supports breastfeeding. I also believe sharing my stories will benefit other mothers and families. You don’t have to be a breastfeeding mother to babywear, however they often go together. I love to support all families babywearing, breastfeeding or not. If you’re interested in seeing my past posts from previous years in this carnival leading up to World Breastfeeding Week please visit my homeschooling blog here.

Today’s topic is non-traditional breastfeeding support. I see traditional breastfeeding support as the support given mother to mother usually by family but often within a community. This can be given from a mother or aunt to daughter/niece, sister to sister, friend to friend, or within a breastfeeding support group such as LLL or Breastfeeding USA. Non-traditional would be anything else-books, websites, blogs, email, trained professionals, etc.

I have received much of my support online and through books over the years. I will list some of my favorites:

Books:

  • Womanly Art of Breastfeeding
  • Breastfeeding Made Simple
  • I have read many many others but these are on my list of books every mom should check out!

Websites and Blogs

  • LLLI-Be sure to find your local group for in person support
  • Breastfeeding USA
  • Kelly Mom
  • The Leaky Boob Blog
  • The Milk Meg Blog
  • Infant Risk Center (they have a hotline that you can call to check if a medication is safe or not)
  • The Lactmed Website (be sure to check out their app-I refer to it a lot when I want to check on a medication that I need to take)
  • LDS Breastfeeding Families Facebook group (This is a group I created specifically for LDS families but like-minded mothers are also welcome as long as they respect beliefs of members of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints while in the group. The group is not hosted by the Church but was instead created by members)
  • I have other specialized ones that I really like but chose to list the ones that pertain to all breastfeeding moms.

I also highly recommend if you are having any questions about breastfeeding problems to seek a skilled breastfeeding helper right away. One website to help you to find an IBCLC local to you can be found here. There are other skilled breastfeeding supporters as well, this is not an exhaustive list however IBCLC is the only International recognized credential for lactation specialists.

You can find information about the Breastfeeding Cafe Blog Carnival here. Here’s a link back to today’s post on the Breastfeeding Cafe’s blog.

Where do you find breastfeeding support?

Babywearing and Breastfeeding Part 1

First Published: Jul 27, 2015 11:28 PM
I created an infographic with information about Breastfeeding and Babywearing (it may take a minute to load). Please feel free to share with your friends! You can see a smaller version here or below this image. The smaller image below is also pinnable on Pinterest.  Please note that my website info has changed.

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