Welcome to the first installation of our blog series entitled, “How do I ______ in an ObiMama?”
This week, we will tackle the pesky question of, "How do I breastfeed in an ObiMama meitai?" As a babywearing educator, this is one of the requests for help I get most often, and the look of accomplishment on a mom’s face when she finally gets the perfect hands free latch can’t be beat.
First thing's first- we must discuss fashion. Not in the "polka dots and stripes" way, but in an "easy access to the goods" way. There are a few options here: a nice low cut top can simply be pulled down and out of the way. Another good choice is a regular top with a tank underneath, so you can pull the top shirt up while the tank stays put, leaving you a little more covered. There are also lots of specialty nursing tops, but they tend to be pretty expensive and I, for myself, generally prefer the look of regular clothes. Save yourself some money to buy more ObiMamas! It’s helpful to get your clothes situated before you start moving your baby around. You will still be covered enough by your baby and the body of the carrier, so let it all hang out to prepare for feeding.
On to the good part- obviously you will need to start with a front carry. If you are still working on this, there is a great photo tutorial here. It’s a smart idea to practice this at home a bit, with a happy baby, so you aren’t winging it in the frozen food aisle with a hangry baby strapped to your front. I’ve been there and it’s unpleasant. Begin the process by loosening up the knot of your shoulder straps only. You won’t even need to untie the knot all the way. Once you’ve loosened the knot, simply bounce and shimmy until the baby’s head is low enough to feed and re-tighten the knot. You may need to loosen and bounce a few times depending on a lot of factors like baby size, breast size, and how high of a carry you started with. This is where the at home practice comes in handy. The first few times you try this you, may find your baby needs more help than normal to get and maintain a good latch because of the change of position, but with a bit of practice, you’ll both become pros. I’ve found putting a hand in through the side of the carrier to assist is comfortable for everyone. Depending on your shape, you may find it helpful to prop up your breast on your bra or top, especially for a smaller baby. You can also use the ObiMama hood to give your baby a little more privacy.
A whole new level of parenting is opened up when you no longer need to plan outings around nap or feeding times. Go on an adventure with your new knowledge, and be sure to give a wink and nod if you happen upon another mother nursing on the go. You may even find yourself in a cave 160ft below ground like I did! If you still have questions, leave a comment and I’ll be happy to try to trouble shoot with you. If you have a picture to share, leave it in a comment for a virtual high-five.
It should be noted that ObiMama loves feeding babies in all the ways it happens. A well-fed baby is a happy one, and who can resist those smooshy baby rolls? I’m not intentionally leaving out those that use bottles (you rock too!) there is just a different difficulty involved with breastfeeding on the go.