Breastfeeding In Public in A Baby Carrier

2 Oct

When I had my first baby, I had a ring sling but never realized the potential it had until I started doing research on babywearing. With baby #2 on the way I knew that I had to keep my hands free while chasing a toddler around and that I wasn’t going to be able to sit quietly and nurse my new baby the way I did my daughter.

So I turned to an expert in the field. Steph is the owner of Babywear Boutique and when I first met her, she herself was loading her youngest daughter into a carrier with her other two children in tow to do some grocery shopping. She had her daughter loaded into that carrier in less than 2 minutes! Needless to say, I knew she was the woman to talk to. I hope you enjoy her expertise as much as I do.

by Steph at Babywear Boutique

 In the early weeks and months, it is normal for a breastfed baby to feed frequently. Wearing your baby in a carrier makes breastfeeding easier and provides benefits for both mother and baby.

Babywearing benefits for a breastfeeding mother

Wearing your baby allows your hands to be free to tackle daily chores, grab a bite to eat, or even go for a walk all while meeting your baby’s need to be held and to nurse frequently. Carrying your baby can be a sanity saver especially during those 3 week, 6 week and 3 month old and 6 month growth spurts when baby seems to want to be at the breast all the time. Babywearing and breastfeeding is an essential tool for any mother and especially for mothers with a high needs or colicky baby.

With frequent feedings it is inevitable that a mother will find herself out in public when baby needs to feed. The thought of nursing in public can send many mothers into a panic. For those mothers who may be self conscious about nursing in public, using a carrier can be very liberating, giving a mother confidence to breastfeed her baby anytime and anywhere. The carrier helps provide support for the baby and gives additional coverage. Many people will assume your baby is sleeping and will not even realize that you are breastfeeding. 

For mothers who have more than one child, it is not always possible to sit peaceful and nurse our little ones. I do encourage mothers to relax with baby when possible but for those times when relaxing and nursing isn‘t possible, a baby carrier allows a mother to breastfeed on the go. Whether you are in line at the grocery store check out or playing with an older child at the park, nursing in carrier allows a mother to meet both the needs of her nursling and her older child. A mother may or may not need to stop briefly to latch baby on and then continue on.

Babywearing benefits for a breastfed baby

Babies who are carried enjoy unrestricted access to the breast which encourages mothers to respond to babies feeding cues earlier and encourages baby to nurse more frequently. The movement experienced by baby while being worn also encourages babies, especially those having breastfeeding difficulties, to nurse more effectively. Breastfeeding issues such as slow weight gain, breast refusal, fussy at the breast, easily distracted nurslings and babies on nursing strikes can all be improved by being worn by mother in a carrier.

Breastfeeding friendly baby carriers

It is possible to breastfeed a baby in several different styles of carriers. The most recognized “breastfeeding position” is the cradle position which is possible using a ring sling or wrap. Cradle position has long been a favourite of many breastfeeding mothers in the early weeks. Some babies may never like the cradle position which many mothers mistakenly assume means that their baby doesn’t like to be carried. Around the 6 week age, many babies who were previously content in the cradle position, no longer enjoy this carrying position.

For those babies who do not like cradle carry, for those who outgrew the cradle carry or for those mothers who prefer to have access to both breasts without changing babies position, breastfeeding upright in the tummy to tummy position is another option. Many mothers don‘t realize that it is possible to nurse their baby in tummy to tummy upright position in carriers such as a ring sling, a stretchy wrap, a woven wrap , a mei tai and a few soft structured carriers. Try both positions to see what works for you and your baby.

Baby’s position while breastfeeding in a carrier

Pay special attention to babies positioning at all times. In the cradle position be sure that your babies chin is not pressed into their chest. Ensure that your baby has plenty of air flow at all times. Never allow your baby to have their face pressed into you and never allow carrier fabric to cover your baby’s face.

It is also important to maintain a proper latch and breastfeeding position. Some mothers may need to stop and sit to latch baby on and others may be able to latch baby on while on the move.

Clothing choices while breastfeeding baby in a carrier

Explore different clothing options to see what works for you. Some mothers may prefer to lift a t shirt from the bottom. Lifting your shirt from the bottom may leave your belly exposed and may take a bit of work to get your t-shirt up from the carrier. Another option is a breastfeeding tank top which gives access form the top , a nursing shirt, or a cross top. Practice at home with different clothing options to see which option gives you the coverage you are comfortable with and leaves your breast easily accessible for baby.

Learning to breastfeed in a carrier takes practice

Like any new skill, learning to breastfeed in a carrier takes practice. Practice with a doll at first and then with your baby. Many people feel silly practicing with a doll but it allows you to get the positioning without having to deal with a wiggly baby. At first you may want to be seated to place your baby in the carrier. Practice in front of a mirror and you will see how discreet breastfeeding in a carrier is. As you become more confident you can place your baby in the carrier while standing. It is important to pay attention to latch, supporting your breast as necessary.

Happy breastfeeding and baby-wearing!

Resources Breastfeeding Answer Book la leche League International Babywearing 101 M’Liss Stelzer R.N

A very big THANK YOU to Steph at Babywear Boutique for writing this article for me and thank you to Dorit at Get Carried Away Baby for a photo of one of your great slings!


Tips & Techniques

2 Oct

Here you’ll find a bunch of tips and techniques on how to breastfeed in public so you, your baby and those around you can feel comfortable.

I have had a few girlfriends who either didn’t nurse their baby at all or had a very short breastfeeding relationship. Of course there are many reasons for this and I can respect their decision but the reason that saddens me the most is when they say it’s “inconvenient”. One friend of mine who’s baby is 8 weeks old has “never attempted to breastfeed in public”. To me, women have the amazing privilege to bond with a baby in a way even the best dad in the world isn’t able to do and to terminate that relationship early because of fear of the public is a terrible thought.

Educate yourself and feel empowered!

Tip 1. What are the laws in your area? – If you’re nervous about being kicked out of a restaurant or being asked to move to a “private” area just for feeding your baby, know your rights. Find out the laws in your area. Most states and provinces have laws to protect nursing moms from being discriminated against. Ontario’s slogan is “anywhere, anytime”. Two simple words that say so much.

Technique 2. Unfortunate gawking – I applaud the moms that can “whip it out” without a second thought. Personally I’ve never been one to do that but those that do have to be ready for whomever passes by. Sadly today there is so much porno and sex wherever you look and although boobs are there specifically for your baby (although most men may tell you different). You may notice a teen boy walk by and gawk or an older fuddy duddy that looks at you in disgust. We are working so hard to be accepted everywhere think before yelling at them, we need to pick our battles. The gawker will never change and neither will the fuddy duddy.

Tip 3. Practice! Practice! Practice! – Teach yourself a few techniques in front of a mirror, friends or your partner. Learn how to unhook yourself, position the baby, adjust any blankets or covers that you like to use. The better you get at it, the more comfortable you’ll be with no fumbling.

Technique 4. Stare her down! – Whenever possible, watch another mom do it! How much can you see? What is she wearing or using? What position is she holding the baby in? Everyone has their way of doing things, but that doesn’t mean you can’t steal a trick or two!

Tip 5. What is she wearing? – Nursing Clothing! There are so many different styles on the market today that are actually flattering AND functional! Crazy, I know! If nothing else, nursing bras are a must. Invest in good quality, they’re well worth it. Sadly, I know this from experience when I bought some cheap ones off eBay and my boob kept poking through the flap and the side of the bra because the fabric was flimsy. It can get very expensive to buy a wardrobe full of nursing clothes so another great idea is to cut slits into old t-shirts and tank tops to wear underneath your blouse so you don’t have to worry about pulling your whole shirt up to your chin showing off more than you’d like to. Practice at home so you’re comfortable and know how to work it when you’re out and you GO GIRL!

Technique 6. Use a nursing cover – nursing covers are wonderful for the shy. There are many designs out there to choose from and to suit your personality. From pink skulls for the rocker mom to soft Victorian scrolls, you’ll find the one for you. The best part is they are very simple to use. Simply slip it over your head and it has a peek-a-boo area so you can see your baby and she can see you but nobody can see what you don’t want them to see. You see?? You’ll have this technique down one-handed in no time. Baby in one arm and with a swift motion, you’re covered with the other.

Tip 7. Be proactive – Don’t wait for your baby to get hungry and let out the siren when you’re in a quiet boutique. You’ll get to know your baby’s cues and you’ll be able to guess what time you’ll need to feed him. Make sure you get to feed him before that alarm goes off.

Technique 8. Look at that baby sling! – A baby sling is a great trick for any mom. All babies need to be held. Some need to be held all day long, which is a little exhausting for mom and it’s proven that babies who are worn close to mommy’s heart cry less and may help with that dreaded colic. Wearing your baby in a sling is a very easy and convenient way to nurse your baby when in public. The best part? You’re covered! No blanket to fall off!

Tip 9. Empower and Inspire! – By breastfeeding in public, not only will you feel confident the more often you do it but you will have empowered yourself! An incredible feeling that is a great gift to yourself. You may not know it but by nursing your baby in a local coffee shop may inspire another mom to do the same. She may have just as much fear as you do but by being the example, she knows she can do it too and is not alone. Remember that mom you watched earlier to see how she does it?

Technique 10. Act Normal – If you act freaked out then other people will freak out. The baby will feel your anxiety and you’ll just draw attention to yourself with the fear in your eyes and squirming in your chair. When the waiter comes to your table to ask if anyone wants dessert, just smile and say “yes please!” after all… you just put a big check mark next to your life’s TO DO list!

Tip 11. Use a Nursing Necklace – A nursing necklace is a great tool for older babies. As they become more aware of their surroundings, trying to nurse your baby in a mall full of people and noise becomes a challenge, squirming, twisting, pinching and pulling mom’s hair. A nursing necklace is full of colors, shapes and textures to keep baby’s interest where it should be, front and center!

Technique 12. Use a Nursing Room – Find a nursing room in your area or call ahead wherever you are going to see if they have one available for your use. Most are quiet, private rooms that are comfortable to most moms because they’re out of the house but still out of the public eye.

Tip 13 – Restaurant: – Ask for a booth or a table in the corner. Find a seat that will be comfortable and discreet for you to nurse. Some like to prop up their menu on the table till they get the baby latched on and comfortably nursing then put it down, relax and decide what wonderful meal you’re going to have someone else prepare for YOU!

Tip 14 – Lift your shirt up: – If you’re prone to leaking or forgot your nursing pads while your nursing, tug up your shirt on the other side. This way, when you’re done and putting yourself back together, any wet spot will be below your breast area and won’t be as noticable while it dries!

Tip 15 – Cut holes in your shirt: That’s right, I’m suggesting you cut holes in your shirt. No, not the nice ones, get yourself a bunch of tank tops. I suggest getting them in the men’s department. They’re cheaper and usually come in packages of 4 or more! Cut slits over each side where your breasts are and wear your normal shirt on top. That way, every shirt is a nursing shirt and your stomach, side and back remain covered!

“I am beautiful as I am. I am the shape that was gifted. My breasts are no longer perky and upright like when I was a teenager. My hips are wider than that of a fashion model’s. For this I am glad, for these are the signs of a life lived.”
~ Cindy Olsen, co-owner of The Body Objective



2 Oct

Cheeky Monkey

590 Oxford Street East (at Adelaide) OR 555 Wellington Rd. (b/w the Lamplighter and Commissioners)

July 30, 2009

From the owner: We do have breastfeeding rooms at both stores and often new moms can spend an hour or more at the store because of this!


2 Oct

Milkface Nursing Wear

July 9, 2009
The owner of Milkface says: we absolutely do welcome breastfeeding anywhere, anytime in our stores and have comfy spots set up just for that. Our breastfeeding policy is pretty simple – just do it! Anywhere, anytime. I’ve been so pleased at the number of new moms who have breastfed in public for the first time in our stores and built up their confidence to do so in other spots. There’s also no need for moms to buy anything or even be looking to buy anything to nurse in our stores. We want to be a haven for nursing moms and are happy to be used as a pit stop of sorts for moms and babies. As well as our comfy couches to nurse on, we’ve got a washroom and a change table with complementary diapers and wipes.

milkface ottawa ontario breastfeeding nursing room


2 Oct

Ikea – Plains Rd. off the QEW

* Family room just inside the front entrance * Private nursing area inside the cafeteria * Both are clean most of the time


2 Oct

SEARS (Mapleview Centre)

 Very old room located in the baby section.

  • Has 2 rocking chairs
  • Has change table
  • Has a sink
  • When I was in there nursing my daughter, every announcement over the loud speaker was ridiculously loud and it startled her every time.

    Mapleview Centre – back left of the food court located in the women’s washroom

    • Newly renovated and completed in September 2009
    • Located inside the women’s washrooms in a separate room with a door (that does not lock)
    • As you can see in the picture that I took, there are 3 chairs with a small separator between them. To be honest, the chairs don’t look very comfortable especially if you’ve got a baby that likes to nurse for a long time and you are visible to anyone who enters the room (the picture is taken from the door) but there are plugs beside each chair, which is perfect to plug in your pump.
    • There’s a small carpeted area, which I think is meant for toddlers to play on but I can’t imagine they’ll stay in that spot the whole time (you supply the toys)
    • There is a lot of counter space, a sink and a change table, which is bolted to the counter and has a spot for wipes and tissues but they were both empty

    Mapleview nursing breastfeeding room


    2 Oct

    Quinte Mall

    I found this nursing room myself and was greatful for it!  We were on a long trip and stopped for a break.  Quinte was a very busy mall as were the bathrooms.  The nursing room is completely separate with a locking door so you have privacy and quiet!  The women’s bathroom also had a chair in it so if the nursing room was being used, you could sit there.  It was very clean too!

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