Using a well-fitting, supportive sling or carrier supports your baby’s development and makes parenting easier. Did you know that carrying your baby regularly is also shown to promote a healthy breastfeeding experience?
Expert Carrying Consultant Emily Williamson explains how.
Carrying boosts breastfeeding hormones
Skin to skin contact with your baby boosts the essential breastfeeding hormones Prolactin and Oxytocin. Prolactin is what tells your body to make more milk; oxytocin is needed for the let down reflex, which releases milk for your baby. The more skin to skin contact you can get, the better, especially in the first weeks of your baby’s life while you’re still establishing breastfeeding.
And the easiest way to maximise that hormone boosting effect is to use your sling to carry your baby hands free! A super soft stretchy wrap is perfect for supporting skin to skin contact in the first months. For older babies, a supportive sling or carrier will continue to support that close contact which will help maintain your milk supply.
Learn feeding cues
Initially you may have no idea how to tell when your baby is hungry, but every baby has clear signals that tell you they want to feed. You just need to learn them. The more time you spend close to your baby, the quicker you’ll learn those little movements and noises that he or she makes as she starts to get hungry. So you’ll be ready to feed before your baby gets frantic.
More regular feeding
Your body is super intelligent; breastfeeding can be so responsive to your baby that the quantity and contents of your milk adjusts to what your baby needs at different times of day. For this to work, it’s important that you breastfeed as regularly as your baby demands it so that your body learns how much milk to produce. The more opportunities your baby has to feed, the more milk you’ll make and you’ll be more likely to breastfeed successfully and for longer.
Keep calm, we’re going back to Oxytocin!
Oxytocin is not just important for breastfeeding – it’s also a hormone that’s linked to feelings of love and connection with others. In both men and women Oxytocin is released during positive interaction and contact with your baby. Higher levels of Oxytocin are linked to reduced feelings of stress and anxiety, and a greater feeling of connection to their baby.
So when you have a new baby and you’re feeling overwhelmed by all the new things your brain and body are trying to learn, using a carrier to maximise your Oxytocin really will help you to keep calm and carry on breastfeeding!
For excellent independent information about breastfeeding, visit www.breastfeedingnetwork.org.uk for loads of useful links.