Babywearing and breastfeeding go together like peas in a pod when it comes to nurturing our children.
Babywearing, the practice of holding your child close to you with the aid of a carrier, has been around for many centuries and is observed in many cultures. And understandably so.
“Both are simple practices which can help improve our children’s well-being,” according to Nina Peña-Atienza, founder of South Pinanays and advocate of babywearing and breastfeeding.
Babywearing is a worthy partner of breastfeeding in several ways:
Builds milk supply
Skin-to-skin contact or kangaroo care during the first few days of a newborn has multiple benefits for both you and your baby. There is evidence that kangaroo care, in which the baby’s body is laid on the bare chest of the mother or caregiver, helps baby regulate temperature, blood pressure and oxygen saturation.
Skin-to-skin contact also stimulates prolactin, the hormone that produces breast milk. This is very helpful especially in the first few weeks as your body builds your milk supply to meet your baby’s growing needs.
Kangaroo care may get demanding because the baby is attached to you as much as possible. Wearing your baby makes it more practical as the carrier supports the baby’s weight and keeps baby close to your body.
Increases frequency of breastfeeding
Breastfeeding your baby often, especially in the first few weeks, is crucial in making sure you produce the most milk possible in the long run. Frequent breastfeeding activates the most number of prolactin receptors possible, which will be responsible for making milk throughout your breastfeeding journey.
Frequent breastfeeding is also key in baby’s weight gain because the fat content in breast milk is higher as the time between feedings get shorter, according to La Leche League. When babies go into a growth spurt, they often do what is called cluster feeding in which the baby nurses more more often than usual.
With babywearing, your baby is so close that it’s easier to pick up on his hunger cues. The moment you see your baby licking his lips, putting his fingers in his mouth, turning his head and opening his mouth, you can start breastfeeding. It is much harder to make crying babies latch so it’s better to respond to their hunger cues early on.
Babywearing makes your baby portable. By having your baby in a sling, wrap or carrier, you can bring him with you almost everywhere and not have to miss a breastfeeding session.
Many moms have grown used to breastfeeding while babywearing. Some moms also use the excess cloth from the sling or wrap as a nursing cover for added privacy. They have become experts at breastfeeding discreetly such that one wouldn’t even know that the baby is having a meal on-the-go.
How about you? How does babywearing help you in your breastfeeding journey?
This article was made in partnership with Shadrach’s Collection, maker of locally handwoven baby slings and wraps.