A common question I get is “how can I breastfeed in my stretchy wrap?” It’s super freeing to be able to breastfeed in a stretchy wrap (like a Moby, Boba, Solly, Happy Baby, etc)! This post will show you how to breastfeed your baby easily while wearing stretchy wrap, both by taking the baby out and using the wrap as a cover (if you like) and by leaving baby in the wrap.
Using a Baby Carrier can Improve Breastfeeding Outcomes
- In your stretchy wrap, you can easily notice your baby’s early feeding cues and feed your baby before they become distressed. Your baby will begin turning their head from side to side, opening their mouth and rooting when hungry. When baby does these cues right against your chest, it’s hard to miss!
- Little, Legare, and Carver (2018) found that mothers who wore or had physical contact with their babies before breastfeeding fed their babies more frequently and were more likely to respond to hunger cues before the infant became distressed. The closeness of babywearing makes it easy to learn baby’s cues and respond to them quickly.
- Mishra, Rai, Mishra, & Das (2017) found that kangaroo mother care (holding the baby skin to skin – which can be done in a stretchy wrap or any baby carrier) improved breastfeeding outcomes and infant weight gain.
My First Time Breastfeeding in a Stretchy Wrap
The first time I tried to breastfeed when I was wearing a stretchy wrap, it was a disaster! I was sitting in an inflatable bouncy place watching my oldest child play. I had the baby in a wrap and he got hungry. I grabbed my diaper bag, took off the entire wrap, got a nursing cover out of my bag, and sat down in this tangled pool of wrap fabric to feed the baby.
My toddler fell and started crying. I had to get up to help her, but I still had wrap fabric twisted all around me, this giant nursing cover swinging from my neck, and a crying newborn. I felt really overwhelmed both with managing the needs of two children and with the length of fabric I was dealing with!
I wish I had known that I didn’t have to take the wrap off. I could have popped baby out of the wrap, used the wrap as my nursing cover (or skipped cover entirely), and fed him without taking the wrap off at all. When my child needed help, I could have either stood and helped her while holding the baby in arms or popped him back into the wrap while helping her.
Taking Baby Out of the Wrap to Breastfeed
This photo is a tad dark, but it shows my absolute favorite way to nurse a baby while wearing a stretchy wrap.
My favorite way to nurse while wearing a stretchy wrap is super easy:
- Take my baby out of the wrap.
- Lift the wrap fabric up a bit (using it to cover the top of my chest when I want to be more discrete). Sometimes I also push the wrap fabric down so that it’s completely out of the way. I preferred this when I was first learning.
- Pull my shirt down. I prefer shirts that are easy to pull down. I find this easier than lifting a shirt up under the wrap.
- Latch on baby.
- Nurse as long as needed.
- Pop baby back into the wrap.
- Tighten or adjust if I need and off I go!
Easy peasy! 95% of the time, if I’m nursing a baby while wearing a stretchy wrap, I just leave the wrap on, take the baby out, and use the wrap as my nursing cover (if I want to cover – that’s not necessary). It’s easy! No nursing cover to mess with (or even waste money purchasing), no wrap fabric to untangle or re-wrap, just pop the baby out, feed them, and pop them back in.
95% of the time, if I’m nursing a baby while wearing a stretchy wrap, I just leave the wrap on, take the baby out, and use the wrap as my nursing cover.
Keeping Baby in the Wrap to Breastfeed
Sometimes I want to be able to nurse the baby without taking baby out of the carrier. Maybe I’m pushing an older kid on a swing or trying to make sandwiches and need my hands free. This can be done too.
There are two main carries that most people do with a stretchy wrap.
Pocket Wrap Cross Carry
The most common carry is Pocket Wrap Cross Carry (PWCC). This carry is pre-tied and then baby is popped into the carry. This carry is wonderful because it’s poppable! However this carry does not adjust easily. It can definitely be done, but I find that it is not easy for beginning stretchy wrappers. If I’m wearing my wrap in Pocket Wrap Cross Carry, I usually just take baby out to nurse. I find that much easier than re-adjusting the carry.
Front Wrap Cross Carry
The other carry you can do in a stretchy wrap is called Front Wrap Cross Carry (FWCC). You can treat FWCC in a stretchy wrap exactly like PWCC. Leave the wrap tied on, pop the baby out, nurse, and then pop the baby back in.
Front Wrap Cross Carry is more easily adjusted than Pocket Wrap Cross Carry. In FWCC it’s easy to adjust to lower baby to nurse and also easy to adjust to tighten the carry back up and bring baby back to the original position when you’re done nursing.
Always keep your baby’s head uncovered and monitor baby while feeding. When you are done feeding, bring your baby back back up to their original higher position on your chest and tighten the wrap.
This video shows how I do it:
Be sure to watch the video all the way through and learn how to raise baby back up to the original position. Raising your baby back up after feeding is the most important step to breastfeeding in a wrap.
Always keep your baby’s head uncovered and monitor baby while feeding. When you are done feeding, bring your baby back up to their original higher position on your chest and tighten the wrap.
While Feeding Baby
- Keep baby’s face uncovered (at all times, but especially while breastfeeding).
- You should be able to see your baby’s face and head the entire time.
- Actively monitor baby’s feeding and breathing.
The Most Important Step in Nursing in a Wrap
The MOST important step in nursing in a wrap is adjusting your baby after you are done nursing. Do not ever leave your baby in a lowered nursing position after nursing. ALWAYS take the extra minute to bring baby back up so that their head rests on the flat part of your chest. Then tighten the carry so the baby is snug and well supported again.
To bring baby back to the original snug and supported position:
- Lean forward slightly (supporting baby’s head and back).
- Shift baby back up to their original position, high on your chest, head resting on the flat part of your chest just below your collarbone.
- Retighten the carry around them.
This image shows lifting baby up to the original position in a woven wrap, but the idea is the same. Support baby’s bottom and upper back/head while bringing them to the snug original position. Then re-tighten the carry around the baby. Be sure to spread out the passes fully. This is demonstrated in the tutorial linked above.
It helps to master your carrier and get completely comfortable breastfeeding your new baby before you try to combine the two skills.
Before learning to breastfeed in your carrier, get really comfortable breastfeeding your baby, learn to latch your baby on well, work with your lactation consultant or La Leche League group if you need help. Then, master using your carrier. Give yourself some time to learn to use your stretchy wrap. Visit your local babywearing group or educator if you need help or see the links in “further reading” below. When you have both skills mastered, you’re ready to put them together.
Many people find it helpful to practice in front of a mirror, particularly if you are wanting to use the wrap as a nursing cover.
The first few times you try breastfeeding with your carrier, you might like to try it at home. in front of a mirror. This can help you figure out if you’re happy with how it looks from an onlookers point of view. You should always be able to see your baby’s face just by glancing down and should never cover their head with the wrap.
I asked about nursing discretely in a wrap without covering my baby’s head at a babywearing group once, and a babywearing educator that I really admire told me that I didn’t need any extra cover. She said “someone would really have to be up in your business to see your breast.” This is true! Usually when breastfeeding in a carrier, I can see my baby’s entire face easily, but an onlooker probably thinks that the baby is sleeping. The only way they can see as much as me is if they get uncomfortably close to us.
You have the right to breastfeed in public.
I’ve talked a lot about nursing covers because I get asked about using the wrap as a cover a lot. I want to be sure that everyone understands that you should never cover baby’s face if you are using your wrap as a tool to help you nurse discretely. However, I would like to add that you have the right to nurse any way you’d like. Cover, no cover, it’s up to you! All fifty US states, Washington DC, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands have laws protecting your right to breastfeed in any public or private location. So nurse your sweet baby anyway you’d like! <3
I hope that this helps you with feeding your baby in your stretchy wrap and that you don’t have to get caught in a tangle of wrap fabric while helping your toddler like I did. 🙂 Leave a comment if you have any questions or other breastfeeding tips to share! <3
Little, E.E.; Legare, C.H.; Carver, L.J. Mother–Infant Physical Contact Predicts Responsive Feeding among U.S. Breastfeeding Mothers. Nutrients 2018, 10, 1251.
Mishra, P., Rai, N., Mishra, N., & Das, R. (2017). Effect of Kangaroo Mother Care on the breastfeeding, morbidity, and mortality of very low birth weight neonates: A prospective observational study. Indian Journal of Child Health, 4(3), 379-382. Retrieved from https://atharvapub.net/IJCH/article/view/36