Welcome to the Carnival of Breastfeeding! Our theme this month is “how to…” and we all know there’s a lot of know-how that goes into breastfeeding! If you’re new here, take a look around. If you’re a regular, you may want to check out some of the other “how to” guides featured below.
This post is the first in a series which will show you how to breastfeed, hands free. It’s a great way of liberating yourself from the couch when your baby is having an all-day nurse-athon. It’s a perfect way of fulfilling your infant’s need to nurse when at the same time your toddler needs you to play, chase or just cuddle. It’s also a subtle way to breastfeed in public, if that is your desire.
This post will show you how to breastfeed hands free in a ring sling. Future posts will show you how to breastfeed in other types of carriers. We will also show you how to use items you already have around the home to breastfeed hands free.
It’s a common misconception that larger or smaller-breasted women cannot breastfeed hands free in a sling. Kate, who is significantly better endowed than our model below, said “I thought I would never ever be able to hands free [breastfeed]… then I found ring slings and I was in heaven!” In the future, we’ll bring you a photo tutorial specifically dedicated to the larger-breasted nursing Mum.
At the other end of the spectrum, smaller-breasted women can also breastfeed hands free. Emma, who wears an A-cup, said she sometimes “find[s] it hard to breastfeed hands free in a sling because I don’t have the ability to move the feeding apparatus to meet baby’s mouth. I can only move baby’s mouth to the apparatus.” Emma eloquently describes the main point to remember when breastfeeding in a sling. Like ordinary hands-on breastfeeding, the baby is moved to the breast rather than the breast to the baby.
A note of warning: breastfeeding hands free can be a difficult skill to master. It can be done with any age of nursling. However, if you are wearing a newborn, please keep in mind these safety recommendations.
Breastfeeding an infant, hands free
Here, we have Aurelia, Steph and a ringsling. The top rail is white and the bottom rail is brown, Steph will adjust the rails independently to support Aurelia while she nurses.
- Take one ringsling and one baby. Start with the rings high on the shoulder.
- Put the baby’s feet through the sling, sliding her down through the gap between the fabric and your body.
- Rotate baby across to your hip and pull the fabric up around the baby. This is the hip carry. If your baby is smaller, you can start in a tummy to tummy carry. An older baby can nurse from a hip carry if you wish.
- To continue into the classic cradle nursing position, bring both the legs together and lower the baby toward the breast.
- Latch the baby. Notice the top rail is still loose, Steph is still supporting the baby in the correct position.
- Once the baby is correctly latched, only then tighten the top (white) and bottom (brown) rails to support the baby’s weight. Notice Steph’s hand coming away from the baby as the rails are tightened.
- Bring the top rail over baby’s head to support it and adjust as necessary. If you have a newborn remember safe positioning. Now that you’re done, breastfeed in comfort and handsfree!
Notice that no breast has been exposed to the camera lens in this process. This is an excellent way to breastfeed in public if doing so makes you nervous.
Breastfeeding an older child, hands free
Breastfeeding handsfree can also be done with a larger child. It’s an excellent way to nurse an older baby or toddler to sleep away from home. The process is more or less the same, so we’ll just give you the end result. It’s surprisingly subtle for such a big kid!
We hope you’ve found this post useful. If you haven’t had a chance to breastfeed hands free before we hope you give it a go. If you don’t have a ringsling and are thinking of getting one, you can see how to get started with them here. In the meantime, look out in the coming weeks for our other tutorials on breastfeeding handsfree in other types of carriers.
Other participants in the Carnival of Breastfeeding:
- How to Breastfeed (Or Just Look Like You Know What You’re Doing), by Mamasaga
- How to Pump Successfully at Work, by The Marketing Mama
- How to Get Baby to Take a Bottle, by BabyREADY
- How to help your baby kick the nipple shield habit, by Motherwear
- How to Get Breastfeeding off to a Good Start, by Strocel
- How to become a breastfeeding support professional, by Breastfeeding Mums Unite!
- How to care for a sick nursling, by Milkact
- How to increase milk supply using supplements, by Maher Family Grows
- How to wean a breastfeeding toddler, by Breastfeeding Mums
- How to treat a cold while breastfeeding, by Blacktating
- How to be comfortable around a breastfeeding Mom, by It’s All About the Hat
- How to Get a Spouse to Help With Breastfeeding, by Mama Knows Breast
- Using Youtube to STOP nosey questions!, by Zen Mommy
- How to (Naturally) Increase Your Milk Supply – Try Seaweed!, by MoBoleez
- How to deal with family members who aren’t supportive of breastfeeding, by Happy Bambino
- How to teach your baby nursing manners, by Breastfeeding 123
- How to improve milk supply through nutrition, by Natural Birth and Babycare
- Tandem Nursing: How to Do It Without Driving Yourself and Your Nurslings Crazy, by Tiny Grass
Do you breastfeed handsfree? What has it helped you to do? Would you like to? Any difficulties in doing so? Leave a comment and let us know!