Hands-free breastfeeding can make life a whole lot easier for new moms. While breastfeeding is the most natural way to feed your baby, the frequency of feedings for most babies can make it hard to get other things done. It is even more difficult if you have other children to care for at the same time!
The good news is that modern women have found creative ways to feed their babies without bringing their daily lives to a halt each time a feeding is necessary. Whether you’re on a strict feeding schedule or you try to feed your baby intuitively, there are a couple hands-free breastfeeding techniques that may work for you.
Breastfeeding with a Sling or Baby Wrap
Baby slings and breastfeeding wraps true livesavers! They are popular with mothers who want to actually get something else done like housework, go shopping, work, or perform other tasks while allowing their baby to feel their warmth for comfort. This naturally extends to using a sling for breastfeeding, but it’s important to do so with care so that your baby remains safe.
Professionals from the Mayo Clinic stress the importance of ensuring that your baby’s airways are unobstructed at all times. The position that a baby rests in while in the sling may also cause breathing problems, so you might want to limit the amount of time that your baby remains in the sling. You should also keep the sling’s maximum weight limit in mind as your baby grows because you don’t want to risk your little one falling out.
The ring sling is one of the most popular styles for breastfeeding mothers. Other options include the Kango Wrap, the Innoo Tech Baby Sling, and the LILLEbaby carrier. Some women also make their own slings by buying durable, strong rings online and then utilizing a large scarf that they already own.
If you want to explore this method of hands-free breastfeeding, consider buying the KoalaKin. It’s similar to a sling but is made with more durable, supportive materials that don’t present as many health risks for your baby. It was designed specifically for breastfeeding, so it places your baby in the optimal position for latching onto the breast.
Nursing Assist Pillows
Prop ’em Up nursing pillows allow you to position your baby at the breast so that their head is supported and their body is comfortable without being cradled in your arms. The pillows come with cute patterns and are small enough to fit into a reasonably sized diaper bag. You can use them to protect your baby’s head while they’re on a changing table or resting on the floor at home, but they were designed with hands-free breastfeeding in mind.
You can use body pillows, maternity pillows, and other types of support pillows in the same way, but the Prop ‘em Up pillows were designed with the sole purpose of holding your baby’s head in a supportive manner. Many mothers prefer to use a product designed for this use because it’s so important to ensure that your little one’s head is supported while feeding.
Note that an assist pillow is designed to position your baby for feeding but doesn’t cradle or hold your baby like a sling. You can’t get up and walk around while feeding with a pillow, and you shouldn’t get so distracted by what you’re doing that you wouldn’t notice if your baby starts to roll or slip out of place. This method of hands-free breastfeeding does require a bit more thought and attention than some women prefer, but it is a good resource to keep on hand.
Are There Other Options for Hands-Free Breastfeeding?
While many women keep trying to find new ways to breastfeed hands-free, slings and breastfeeding assist pillows are still the dominant options because they’re based on the only two options that you really have:
- attach the baby securely to your body
- or find a way to allow the baby to support themselves in the proper breastfeeding position.
The assist pillow is a more convenient way to accomplish what women have been doing with basic pillows for many years. Pillows are often used by lactation consultants to help mothers find the best breastfeeding position, especially with a baby struggling to latch or feed consistently. Women have always wanted to relax, read a book or even fold socks while breastfeeding, and pillows have served as the best way to do so. The assist pillows now on the market just make this safer and far easier to accomplish.
When mothers started demanding more active lifestyles, the idea of the baby sling was born. Many mothers wanted to escape the sitting position forced by pillow supports, so the concept of wearing the baby became appealing. It started with lightweight, thin materials that weren’t always safe, but the market has expanded tremendously. You can now buy slings and baby carriers that are durable enough to go hiking through the woods, but they don’t all put your baby in the proper position for breastfeeding.
Some women are now coming up with creative ways to either wear their baby while feeding or prop their baby up while in a seated position. If you think of a new option that fits your lifestyle, there’s a chance that you could help many other women free their hands for a more active daily life. Just keep in mind that the support the baby’s head and the flexibility to move around without closing off the baby’s airflow is critical in any design.
Free Up Your Time
If you’re still searching for ways to remain active while breastfeeding, consider supplementing with bottle feedings. You can use hands-free pumping bras to express milk while staying busy, and then the bottles will allow your loved ones to take a more active role in feeding the baby. This gives them more options for bonding, and it allows you to stay active while nourishing your baby in the most natural way possible.
Hands-Free = Freedom as a Mother
While breastfeeding is a rewarding experience, but it shouldn’t limit what you can accomplish each day. Don’t be stuck in a chair or on the couch! If one method of hands-free breastfeeding doesn’t work for you, try another option. You may even come up with a creative idea that allows other moms to feed with greater freedom in the future. How cool would that be?
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