Breastfeeding while babywearing isn't the easiest thing in the world to get used to, but there are some great benefits of combing the two practices that I think you'll really enjoy. You can't understand just how freeing it is to be able to breastfeed hands-free!
Why I love breastfeeding + babywearing.
It's convenient. With a little practice, you'll be able to breastfeed discreetly while also giving you the opportunity to get things done around the house.
Some babies nurse better while being worn. According to Dr. Sears, feeding while babywearing can actually help children who are problem suckers. Those can include tense babies who suffer from a suck problem known as "tonic bites." Also, babies who arch their backs while feeding will be much more comfortable while being worn.
It's also thought that it can help underweight babies who don't eat enough. The closeness to mom increases their comfort and encourages them to eat more frequently. Bonus!
Makes sibling care easier. If you're a parent of multiple children, being able to wear your child and breastfeed them at the same time gives you a pair of free hands. You'll be able to play with and care for the child who you aren't feeding, too.
The position is ideal for digestion. When wearing your child, the common upright position will aid their digestion, which can be key for colicky babies. Not only that, but positioning a baby's head higher than the feet gives their delicate digestive system more control over the food and liquid, which can lower the risk of choking.
A few safety tips.
Always make sure that your little one can breathe properly. This means that no material or breast tissue should be covering her face. She should also be positioned in a way that keeps her next straight, without her chin pressed into her chest.
A good idea is to use the finger method to check. Simply make sure that there is always at least 1-2 adult finger widths of space between your little one's chin and chest. Be sure to check often!
Also, always be listening for grunting or snoring noises, or anything that sounds abnormal to you. If you hear any of these noises, it could mean that your child is having trouble breathing.
The clothes you wear can either make or break your experience, so be sure to pick out a proper wardrobe.
Once your baby is in his carrier, you won't be able to remove any clothing, so being prepared beforehand is key.
Generally, something loose and stretchy is a good choice. Something with a big/stretchy neckline is a good choice, as long as you're okay with nursing outside of your top.
For a more modest approach, consider wearing layers of shirts. This way, you can lift up the top layer while still keeping the lower layer covering you up.
If you choose to go this route, you will likely need to pull up the top layer of the shirt before wrapping your baby in the carrier, because it will be very hard to do so if you do it after.
The best carriers by age.
There are a few different types of carriers, but when it comes to breastfeeding, this is my advice:
For younger babies, a wrap or ring sling style carrier is the best option for breastfeeding. Wraps provide a close fit and easy access to the nipple, and this close fit will make baby feel more comfortable and warm, which in turn encourages them to feed.
For older babies, a carrier-style device might be a better option. Once your little one can support her own head and neck, the extra mobility offered to her by a carrier will be very appreciated.
Remember to be patient.
Breastfeeding in itself is not always something that comes easy, and when combining it with babywearing, it can be even harder.
Don't expect everything to go perfectly at first, and don't expect it to be completely hands-free. You'll likely need to use your hands to adjust and support your little one at first. This also applies to babywearing without breastfeeding, in order to make sure they're safe at all times.
But don't fear: with a little practice, before long you'll be able to do it all hands-free!
A few more tips:
A good idea is to practice at home when your baby isn't hungry. This gives you a low-stress opportunity to get it all down.
Know your carrier and all of its features well. Read the manual, and better yet, head over to Youtube to look at a few videos first.
You might consider practicing upright breastfeeding without the carrier first. One idea is to lie back and have your little one straddle you.
Families the nation over will be sharing August 21st with their children watching the Solar Eclipse take place. Proper protection for the eyes, especially for little ones who cannot do so for themselves, is essential. The following information has been shared by NASA Education, and various astronomy educators for parents and children alike, and put together here for Peaceful Parenting audiences.
Looking directly at the sun is always unsafe except during the brief total phase of a solar eclipse (totality) if you are in this particular path -- when the moon entirely blocks the sun’s bright face. This minute (or two) of totality will happen only within this narrow path. In all other areas, having solar glasses during the entire eclipse viewing is necessary.
The only safe way to look directly at the uneclipsed, or partially eclipsed, sun is through special-purpose solar filters, such as 'eclipse glasses' or hand-held solar viewers. Homemade filters or ordinary sunglasses, even those with very dark lenses, are not safe for looking at the sun - they transmit thousands of times too much sunlight.
Refer to the American Astronomical Society (AAS) Reputable Vendors of Solar Filters & Viewers page for a list of manufacturers and authorized dealers of eclipse glasses and handheld solar viewers verified to be compliant with the ISO 12312-2 international safety standard for such products. One quick way to tell if the cardboard glasses you may be able to pick up at your local store, library, or museum are reputable is to look for the ISO stamp on the inside of the glasses.
Approximately half of all libraries in the United States (in each state) have solar glasses that they are giving away for free, so check with your local library if you do not yet have a pair. The following retail chains have all been carrying solar glasses for a few dollars per pair:
Always inspect your solar filter before use; if scratched or damaged, discard it. Read and follow any instructions printed on or packaged with the filter.
Always supervise children using solar filters.
Stand still and cover your eyes with your eclipse glasses or solar viewer before looking up at the bright sun. After looking at the sun, turn away and remove your filter — do not remove it while looking at the sun.
Do not look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through an unfiltered camera, telescope, binoculars, or other optical device.
Similarly, do not look at the sun through a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device while using your eclipse glasses or hand-held solar viewer — the concentrated solar rays will damage the filter and enter your eye(s), causing injury.
Seek expert advice from an astronomer before using a solar filter with a camera, a telescope, binoculars, or any other optical device. Note that solar filters must be attached to the front of any telescope, binoculars, camera lens, or other optics.
If you are within the path of totality, remove your solar filter only when the moon completely covers the sun’s bright face and it suddenly gets quite dark. Experience totality, then, as soon as the bright sun begins to reappear, replace your solar viewer to look at the remaining partial phases.
Outside the path of totality, you must always use a safe solar filter to view the sun directly.
If you normally wear eyeglasses, keep them on. Put your eclipse glasses on over them, or hold your handheld viewer in front of them.
Note: If your eclipse glasses or viewers are compliant with the ISO 12312-2 safety standard, you may look at the uneclipsed or partially eclipsed sun through them for as long as you wish. Furthermore, if the filters aren't scratched, punctured, or torn, you may reuse them indefinitely.
Some glasses/viewers are printed with warnings stating that you shouldn't look through them for more than 3 minutes at a time, and that you should discard them if they are more than 3 years old. Such warnings are outdated and do not apply to eclipse viewers compliant with the ISO 12312-2 standard adopted in 2015.
An alternative method for safe viewing of the partially eclipsed sun is pinhole projection. For example, cross the outstretched, slightly open fingers of one hand over the outstretched, slightly open fingers of the other, creating a waffle pattern. With your back to the sun, look at your hands’ shadow on the ground. The little spaces between your fingers will project a grid of small images on the ground, showing the sun as a crescent during the partial phases of the eclipse. Or just look at the shadow of a leafy tree during the partial eclipse; you'll see the ground dappled with crescent suns projected by the tiny spaces between the leaves.
A solar eclipse is one of nature’s grandest spectacles. By following these simple rules, you can safely enjoy the view and be rewarded with memories to last a lifetime.
(inexpensive options for viewing the eclipse):
Thank you to peaceful parenting mom and babywearing educator, Michelle, for sharing this graphic compilation from Baby-Doo.
Babywearing in the First Year
When it comes to babywearing, it is important to remember that many changes occur during the first year of life, both physically and psychologically for your little one. Because of this there is much to consider when it comes to choosing and using a carrier for all of baby's diverse developmental stages.
The above diagram of the natural babywearing progression throughout a baby's first year of life highlights some of the ways that a human baby's hips, spine, neck and legs need different support through these stages, and also the ways in which a baby is nestled in the most safe and secure manner on a parent or care-giver's chest. In this fashion, whether using a quality wrap or carrier, baby will have the physical and neurological benefits of being worn, while the wearing adult has the most comfort!
If I am to admit my fear, it is that I need to love you deeply, intensely -- with a love as BIG as I love your sibling -- but I am scared that I could not possibly love this greatly again.
I am told that this will undoubtedly happen. That a mother's love doubles the instant her second baby is in her arms. Yet I wrestle with doubt that this could not happen...
How could I lovetwomore than life itself?
How could my heart - already full and overflowing - pour over another sweet child just the same?
The day I became Mom for the first time all the universe stood still. Before that moment there was no possibility of understanding this kind of love, this kind of attachment, this kind of soul-quenching power.
I would do anything, give anything, go anywhere, for my new baby.
The long nights of nursing, teething, rocking, snuggling...
The leaking, wearing, walking, singing, sleepy days that blend together...
It solidifies the rock upon which Mom and Baby are One.
How can this MotherBaby existence open up to add a third?
But I am told that it will happen. That there is something mystifyingly profound about the way that a mother's love works. Like the ocean waves that wash us over - and again, and again - each one as drenching as the one before, a momma's love for her littles is never less from one to the next.
So I trust.
I trust that what you and I have built already for these many months between us will only become insurmountable when we finally embrace.
I will breathe in your fresh goodness. I will touch your tiny, tender hands. I will scoop you up and never want to let you go.
We will nurse and snuggle and sing. We will rock and wrap and play. We will fall deeper in love each passing night, each new sunrise.
You have all of me, my sweet second baby. Every beat. Every breath. Every thought. Every step. And this does not take away from any other, in any way, because it is a mother's love. ❤
Vicky Green, first year biosciences student at South Devon College in the U.K., has conducted a microbiology research project that appears to lend further support to an often overlooked fact: human milk is powerfully beneficial for toddlers, too! In fact, one thing we know from lactation sciences is that as a baby ages, milk from mom changes to fit a child's immunological needs. This includes becoming more concentrated and power-packed in fighting viruses and bacterial infections with each small amount of milk consumed by a busy, bustling toddler on the go.
Green told The Huffington Post that she and her classmate, Emma Browne, "...decided to test whether antimicrobial properties of breastmilk changes the older the child is feeding for a small microbiology project."
In her experiment, Green has two samples - one (BmA) from a mother nursing her 15 month old baby, and another (BmB) from a mother nursing her 3 year old toddler. [Additional information on the natural human weaning process.] Bacteria M. Luteus was added to the petri dishes as a small white disc, and soaked in the two samples of human milk. The clear space around the remaining discs is where the proteins in the milk have inhibited the bacteria. Sample BmB has acted more quickly than sample BmA. Whether this is a statistically significant difference is not determined.
There could be several reasons for differences of results (mom of sample BmB may have further antibodies built up for M. Luteus, for example). However, both samples show that human milk is successful in breaking down the bacteria, and Green's findings align with research that demonstrates the milk of a nursing baby increases in immunological density with age. In this fashion, a baby receiving all nutrients from mother's milk ('exclusively breastfeeding') is given an all-day, all-night course of immunity boosting antibodies through her milk. An older toddler, who is receiving a smaller portion of nutrients via mom's milk, also receives this vital immunity boost, but in a lesser quantity of milk. To do so, the human body concentrates these antibodies into a smaller, powerful nursing session on-the-go, and the child has the support s/he needs as the immune system and brain continue on their rapid journey to full development. [The immune system and brain do not reach near-completion until approximately age 5, which tends to correlate with an age of natural weaning cessation.]
Green found similar results with E. coli and MRSA [Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus] as well. "I'm also doing [an experiment on] colostrum in a couple of weeks," writes Green, and concludes on her Facebook post, "The future is bright, the future is breastmilk."