Happy World Breastfeeding week! Do have a look at a recent interview I did with Kidsstoppress for breastfeeding week, some frequently asked questions have been answered here!
Now that I can speak with some authority on this topic having met quite a few moms with my work in lactation, I do feel babywearing and breastfeeding make a ‘made for each other’ dyad.
When I meet new moms to help them with breastfeeding they are often overwhelmed with the intense need their baby has for them. Well-meaning observers very often tell them that they aren’t making enough milk because the baby is fussy almost as soon as she has finished nursing.
While I often tell mothers that the 2 hour interval gap between feeds is a myth and should not be adhered to (I advise feeding on demand and that can vary from baby to baby often within an hour of the last feed to 3 hours) many times the baby is fussy and crying not only because she is hungry but she wants to be close to the mother, her home, the only safe place she knows.
Her needs for her mother are as intense as food.
Very often I take baby wraps with me and demo it for the mother and the mother suddenly gets a ‘eureka’ moment. She knows how the baby will suckle and fall asleep but as soon as she moves him he is up and crying and she starts all over again. She knows instinctively that the wrap will solve that problem and is excited.
What happens with babywearing is that once the baby is done feeding, the mother, the partner, or any other caregiver can wear the baby. In 99% of cases the baby, with his tummy nicely pressed, and upright, and close to a human body – a place of prime importance for him in the evolutionary context – sleeps peacefully or is calm and alert for a long period of time. This negates the doubts the mother has that her supply is to blame. She gets the break that she needs between feeds and the confidence that she needs to persevere and not give in to artificial milk.
Many of the mothers I have helped have taken to babywearing and reported back that they are more in tune to the baby’s needs and whimpers, feed more, feed on demand and are able to relax knowing that the baby will sleep for decent chunks.
When babies sleep on the father, or another caregiver, the mother gets a much deserved break from the constant body contact as she knows he won’t be up and asking for her too soon.
Also when babies are swaddled tightly, separated from a caregiver and left on another surface or cot, many babies do sleep more, but do not wake up frequently and demand feeds, which in turn may result in poor weight gain and dip in supply for the mother. Babywearing on the other hand leads to a baby who is more alert and more in tune with his needs and hunger, and a mother who is more likely to tune in.
In Mumbai we have a sling library called the Mumbai sling library, where we have monthly meetups in 4 locations across the city and rent out carriers and let parents come and try out various carriers.
I also privately help my lactation clients choose the right carrier for a particular family and let parents try the various ones available, and have babywearing classes from home along with breastfeeding ones.
To me, for my kids, breastfeeding and babywearing have been such a blessing, that I can’t recommend this pair enough. Read about my babywearing journey here.
Thanks for reading! Did you enjoy babywearing, is it something you will try?
*Photo courtesy: my sweet brother Apurva and my super handsome nephew Gautam in an Anmol hybrid wrap