NFP, Eco-Breastfeeding and Baby-Wearing

Here are the advantages of baby-wearing as listed by Gretchen Pimentel at our website.

“It helps me to bond with my baby and keep him safe.
My babies spend most of their early days in a carrier of some sort. If not for that, they would NOT have had much human contact since I am busy with managing a household and other young children who have a lot of needs as well. The youngest baby would likely languish in a crib, playpen, or other object because it would be unsafe to put the baby down where other toddlers might hurt the baby. I believe my baby is safest on my person where I can hear and see his breathing and movement….like they have been on mamas for thousands of years.

It helps me breastfeed.
I have learned to breastfeed in a carrier so that no one is the wiser. It is literally so modest and discreet in my simple, two shouldered, German style wrap carriers that I can go on with my daily routine flawlessly. I believe this may contribute to my ability and willingness to breastfeed longer, which benefits my baby.

It helps me with NFP.
Babywearing naturally holds my fertility at bay, just as it does in more naturally minded cultures around the globe. I no longer ever have to rush my baby off of the breast with the help of a carrier. Breastfeeding in my favorite style of carrier is so discreet that an onlooker cannot possibly be aware of when my baby is breastfeeding.

When it became impossible for me to nap daily as recommended in Kippley’s Seven Standards of Ecological Breastfeeding because of other young toddlers in my household I have found that, for me, having the baby nap ON me in a carrier (latching on and off as he pleases for those long, lazy pre- and post-nap nursings) completely kept my fertility from returning, unlike with a previous child, whom I did not carry as often. My fertility, in fact, returned the very week that my most recent youngest baby outgrew the need to be carried as often and insisted on coming down from his perch to play and interact with his brothers more.

It helps me on my faith journey as a Catholic.
Babywearing facilitates the sacraments in my home. Confession is much easier when I can bring my little nursling in the confessional with me tucked safely in his carrier. I do not need a babysitter, which can be an impediment to going at all when I cannot be away from the baby long during the very frequent feeding stages. Mass is amazingly easier with baby peacefully in a carrier. Mine have all fussed much less in a carrier, thus we are less of a disturbance to our fellow parishioners. I can attend more regularly without assistance, have free hands to manage toddlers, and can pay more attention to the mass when the baby is content in a carrier. The discreet breastfeeding helps me not to disturb others by exiting the pew often if I have to nurse.

It reduces sibling rivalry.
My two toddlers are not jealous of the little “lump” in the baby carrier, as he becomes sort of inconspicuous and mommy’s arms are free to hug and kiss them as they please.

It strengthens and tones my muscles and helps me lose postpartum weight.
Wearing my babies helps me keep moving which, in addition to naturally lulling the baby to sleep for naps when needed, allows me to stay active enough to lose the postpartum pounds. It also mimics the weight bearing exercises I was required to do in college as a varsity athlete. I can actually feel superior tone in my back and leg muscles due to correct posture in babywearing. (To reap the rewards of this important benefit, I would stress that you must bear the weight near your center of gravity, use correct posture, and hold the baby snug enough that your legs bear the load.)

It makes me a more calm and better parent.
I no longer am stuck in one place to nurse while I get nervous about things on my “to do” list. I can do things while I nurse. However, if I want to sit and nurse to give my self a much needed break, I can do that also in a carrier with the added benefit that I can even get up to answer the phone if I so desire. In short, it gives me flexibility. I can do any manner of errands easily with a nursling which causes me less stress than if I were “tied down” to my house with errands left undone. I can also nonchalantly play “hooky” and go sip a decaf latte from a fancy coffee shop while window shopping because of discreet public breastfeeding and the ability to have my baby nap well “on the road.”

And last but not least, it gets my house clean!
I can do all manner of cleaning in my carriers, as I do not use cleaning products with harmful chemicals in them. I also can vacuum quite well, with an added bonus that the sound of the vacuum and movement of my body has never failed to soothe a fussy baby to sleep in my home! This is a special trick I use for a sick child, as well.”
Gretchen’s full article on baby-wearing can be found at the NFPI website.

Sheila Kippley

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