With my first baby, I stayed home for 6 months and had few responsibilities besides housekeeping. But things are different now, and spending half my day as a human milk cow isn’t possible. When Jacks was three weeks old, I was standing at the stove, crying over fried rice, and wishing we hadn’t moved so far away from friends and family. I struggled to maintain my sanity as I attempted to balance time with his big sister, homeschooling, working from home, housekeeping, a garden, and an infant who nursed almost constantly. I only had two hands and not enough hours in the day. I dreamt of blissfully carrying my baby around in a sling and breastfeeding hands-free.
I tried it all - the slings, the wraps, and the carriers. Finally, I wrestled him down in a wrap to just the right spot one day. Unfortunately, I also practically smothered him with my large breast. I watched him for a moment, hoping he would pull his head away on his own. He lay there oxygen-less and happy as a lark to have a breast in his mouth. It took several weeks of trial and error, but we were finally successful. Here are a few tips to help you free up your hands, too:
- Practice the essentials first. Raise and lower baby in your chosen carrier. You need to be able to confidently move baby from kissable level, to breast level, and back before you even attempt to breastfeed. Also, you may need to try several different carriers before you find one that works for you.
- Get a breastfeeding tank top! I love breastfeeding tanks like Dairy Fairy’s (we have 20% off coupons in our first 3 boxes). If you want to breastfeed while baby-wearing, these are essential. They provide easy access to your breasts. If you have large breasts, simply pull your breast out over the top. This will give you extra support, lifting your breast away from baby’s nose.
- Roll up a rag, burp cloth, or thick breast pad. Place it under the breast while you breastfeed and it will also help lift the breast. This is also helpful if you are sitting and using a nursing pillow. I have eaten many warm meals and typed many articles this way.
- Pump. If all else fails, pumping milk hands-free guarantees you free hands now and in the future when someone else feeds the baby. I like LactaMed’s hands-free bra (included in our Back to Work box), because you don’t need to practically disrobe to put it on, and it’s easy to use and adjust. If you don’t respond well to pumping, come back and read my next article. I have that problem, and I’ll share my experience.
It isn’t quite as blissful as I imagined, but hands-free breastfeeding is definitely a nice skill to have. Don’t get discouraged if you aren’t successful immediately. You may not be in the first few months. It will be easier once baby can support himself, and I promise it will click eventually.
Hi readers! I’m Natalie, writer and mom of two. I am so excited to join The 16 Minute Club’s new blog, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you. My pudgy breastfed baby, Jackson, is 8 months old and looks like he subsists on whipping cream. You would never know he was once “failing to thrive.” Breastfeeding has certainly had its ups and downs. Like most moms, I spend my days wavering between maternal bliss and horrification at some of the realities of motherhood. After my first child, I was sure I had things figured out. I just knew breastfeeding would be easier with my second. But the truth is that every baby is different, and they each present new challenges. Sometimes they even present the same challenges, but require different solutions.