7 Reasons Using a Sling is Great for Breastfeeding Mothers

7 Reasons Using a Sling is Great for Breastfeeding Mothers

Carrying in a baby sling promotes breastfeeding – there's no doubt about it! Here are 7 ways that carrying your little one can make an amazing impact on breastfeeding mothers:
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1.Carrying Leads to Confidence

Carrying can give confidence when feeding in public.

We are delighted that the law in Scotland supports and defends women feeding in public and we celebrate that there is no need to attempt to be subtle or hide away when feeding. We also understand that for some the thought of feeding in public can be a daunting experience, however a sling can really help – not only for the practicality of being able to use your carrier as a feeding aid but also for early detection of feeding cues and noticing your baby is hungry before they get upset (and vocal).

"Breastfeeding in public is likely to attract more attention if the baby has reached the point that he is crying frantically when the mother tries to offer the breast. If the baby is already close to mother in a sling, she can respond as soon as he shows early feeding cues, such as rooting for the breast or sucking on his hands. She can adjust his position and her clothing and have him peacefully nursing before anyone even notices"[1]

2.Feeding On The Go

Carrying enables feeding on the go - you can safely feed in all Oscha carriers.

Ensure baby's head is free to latch on and off as they desire, their airflow is not obscured by any fabric, and you're supporting their neck. Read more here about how to feed in our carriers.

3.Respond Quickly To Feeding Cues

Carrying enables a quick response to feeding cues.

Babies give many feeding cues prior to crying for milk such as rooting, sucking on their hands, moving their head or opening and closing their mouths – though some may be subtle they're clearly recognisable, and even more so when your baby is snuggled close, in full sight, sitting just under your chin.

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4.Stay Skin to Skin With Your Little One

Carrying practically enables skin to skin contact.

When I was having breastfeeding difficulties everyone suggested skin to skin contact, but how was I meant to do that when I had a toddler and lots of windows with people walking by- Realising I could be undressed and so could my baby, prior to wrapping, was a revelation for me. I could be skin to skin with my baby and yet only we knew

5.Breastfeed For Longer

Carrying promotes breastfeeding for longer and more frequently

One wonderful fact that we return to again and again, is that Mothers who carry their babies for just one hour each day breastfeed for longer and also breastfeed their babies more frequently.[3] This may not sound like a benefit at first glance, but actually when you consider the wonders that breastfeeding does for both mother and child it all makes sense.

The NHS says:

“Any amount of breast milk has a positive effect. The longer you breastfeed, the longer the protection lasts and the greater the benefits.

Breastfeeding reduces your baby's risk of: infections, diarrhoea and vomiting, sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS), childhood leukaemia, type 2 diabetes obesity, and cardiovascular disease in adulthood

Breastfeeding and making breast milk also has health benefits for you. The more you breastfeed, the greater the benefits.

Breastfeeding lowers your risk of: breast and ovarian cancer, osteoporosis, cardiovascular disease and obesity."[4]

And so now it becomes clearer why carrying causes breastfeeding for longer and more frequently is an amazing thing!

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6.Carrying Helps Release Oxcytocin

Carrying increases Oxytocin which increases milk supply, increases bonding and can help with post natal depression

We recently wrote about some of the benefits when fathers practice skin to skin, and this applies to the mothers too. While skin to skin is the most effective way of increasing Oxytocin levels, carrying close works too and an added benefit for carrying as a woman, is that the increased Oxytocin from the skin to skin and closeness stimulates milk production [5].

Read our post on skin to skin carrying for dads here

GP and Carrying Consultant Rosie Knowles writes,

Keeping your baby physically close is well known to improve bonding and attachment through the action of oxytocin, and reduce anxiety and depression. “The sling brought us back to an almost pregnant-like state, with him a part of me, listening to one another's cues. He was calmer for being close to me, which made me feel more confident, which brightened my mood.[6]

If you or someone you know is suffering from Postnatal depression, please speak to your local healthcare providers – the link here has more information on how to do this.

7.Reduce Refulx in Your Little One

Carrying reduces reflux which can make feeding difficult

Babies with reflux can often be unsettled when hungry and find feeding difficult. Carrying your baby can really help a baby with reflux be more settled [7] and which in turn makes feeding easier.

Visit our How to Breastfeed in an Oscha Sling for our top tips for using a woven carrier as a feeding aid!

Interested in finding out more? The research that we have looked makes for a wonderful read! We've linked a lot in the footnotes – hopefully, it'll make some good reading for you during the night feeds.

Written by Jess Hippey

Jess is a mum to two boys and a Baby Carrying Consultant based in Aberdeen, Scotland.

Baby Carrying Promotes Breastfeeding: Oscha Blog

La Leche League: http://www.llli.org/resources.html

NHS: http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/breastfeeding-positioning-attachment.aspx

Kelly Mom: http://kellymom.com/category/bf/

'Oxytocin, Motherhood and Bonding', NCBI

[1] http://www.lalecheleague.org/nb/nbnovdec04p204.html

[3]Pisacane, Alfredo / Contanisio, Paola / Filosa, Cristina / Tagliamonte, Valeria / Continisio, Grazie I.: “Use of baby carriers to increase breastfeeding duration among term infants: the effects of an educational intervention in Italy. In: Acta Paediatricia, 101, 2012, S.434-438

[4] http://www.nhs.uk/Conditions/pregnancy-and-baby/Pages/benefits-breastfeeding.aspx

[5] Uvnas-Moberg, Kerstin 2003: The Oxytocin Factor: Tapping the Hormone of Calm, Love and Healing, Da Capo Press Inc

[6] http://www.gentleparenting.co.uk/kc/help-for-postnatal-depression/

[7] http://www.closeandcalm.co.uk/single-post/2016/08/31/Reflux-and-Baby-Carrying