Breastfeeding in a baby carrier always seemed like such a hard thing to me.
Especially when I had a hard enough time getting Oliver to eat when I was sitting down and cradling him!
However, I kept seeing women talk about how wonderful it is if you can learn how to, and whenever I looked at videos online, it seemed pretty simple.
Not only is it easier to breastfeed in, but it’s the only carrier Oliver liked…and that didn’t end up hurting my back. They are a bit pricey, but if you buy directly from this link, you can get 10% off any of them. You can also buy them on Amazon, but I’ve heard they aren’t always authentic Ergo carriers when bought there. So pick your poison.
I personally have the Ergo Baby Adapt, which I love because you don’t need a special newborn insert – you can use it from the time your baby is 7 pounds all the way up to 45 – front and back.
I think that learning to breastfeed in a baby carrier can be really helpful. If you have a baby with reflux, it can be great for helping to keep them upright after feedings – with both our boys, we were advised to keep them upright for at least 30 minutes after each feed…which got to be tricky.
It’s also nice during those times where baby just wants to nurse constantly – if you need to do something, you can just nurse them on the go.
So, I thought I’d share a few tips that I found to be helpful when I was trying to nurse in my Ergo! You can probably apply these tips for other baby carriers, but these are specifically tips for breastfeeding in an Ergo 🙂
Wear a nursing-friendly shirt
Honestly, this is probably what was hurting me the most – wearing shirts that I couldn’t easily pull down from the top. I most often wear Oliver in a carrier when we go on walks, and I usually am wearing a t-shirt – which aren’t super easy to nurse in without pulling up from the bottom.
I personally don’t like exposing all my skin, which is required when I pull my shirt up from the bottom…and that always ended up frustrating me. Which seems lame – duh, of course wear a shirt that you can nurse easily in. However, it didn’t dawn on me to do this, and once I did, it was MUCH easier.
Adjust the straps and lower waist
When you are ready to nurse, adjust the straps so your baby is lower down – I usually pull them down quite low during this time. I also lower the waistband a little bit. I just down this until I can get baby latched and nursing, and then I readjust everything so baby is more comfortable.
Tighten Straps until you can kiss baby’s head
You want to make sure your baby’s airways aren’t cut off – which is babywearing 101. After you have baby latched, readjust straps as I mentioned before. I always slowly readjust so baby doesn’t latch off until I get him to a position where I can kiss his head. This isn’t usually as high as I would normally wear him, as I don’t think he’d be able to latch still, but it gets him to a safe position.
Practice when baby isn’t starving
Let me just tell ya…a hungry baby is hard enough to latch as it is – don’t throw in trying to breastfeed in a carrier at the same time. It will probably just frustrate you (unless you have the patience of angel…which I do not). I think that if you can practice your technique when baby isn’t super hungry, it will make it a lot easier on both of you.
Wait until baby has a good latch and is eating
Before you start to readjust your straps and start walking around, just make sure baby is latched and already eating. If baby isn’t really that invested in eating, they might get frustrated by being jostled around. I’ve found that when Oliver is already gulping down, it helps him to not get distracted.
Use the head cover for more privacy
Not everyone cares about covering up when they are nursing, and that’s your decision. I personally like to be a bit more discrete, so when I’m nursing, I always put the little head cover that comes with the Ergo. I usually just snap one end, so I can keep an eye on him. But it helps me to feel more comfortable.
Wait a Little While
I personally wouldn’t recommend breastfeeding a small newborn in an Ergo carrier. When they are smaller and using the newborn insert (or newborn setting if you are using the Adapt), they tend to sit little bit higher up. Because you want to make sure they can breathe without issue, it can be trickier to get them to latch correctly, yet still be in a safe position. In general, I think it’s better to wait until they’ve gotten a little bit bigger. However, there are other baby carriers that can make it a little easier to nurse a newborn, such as in a sling.
One of these days I’ll make a video, but I hope until then, these tips are helpful!
PS: If you are wanting to babywear in cold weather, I highly recommend one of these babywearing hoodies! So comfy and useful!
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Katie Clark is an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant (IBCLC). She has helped thousands of mothers and families around the globe navigate breastfeeding challenges and questions since 2015. She has a passion for creating research-based, helpful breastfeeding education and helping parents find a way to make breastfeeding work for them. Katie is a mom of three little boys and lives in the great state of Colorado. She also has a degree in Communications with an emphasis in print journalism.