What do you do if you're in the store and your baby is hungry? You can always stop, pull your cart over somewhere, and sit down to feed your baby. But what if you have to pick up your other kid from school soon? Or what if you have an appointment coming up that you can't miss? In comes your second option — you keep shopping and strolling down the aisles while breastfeeding. It's a skill that admittedly takes some practice, but it can be done if you enlist a few tips for breastfeeding while walking.
Modern mothers have all types of products available to them to make their wildest multi-tasking dreams come true including pumps, slings, wraps, carriers, swings, and many more. Much of the baby equipment being sold right now is marketed towards juggling moms. Beyond the gear, there are also new breastfeeding techniques emerging to help busy moms (that don't cost a dime). Their goal: aid moms in tackling their to-do lists congruently with breastfeeding.
One such multi-tasking hack rising to popularity lately is breastfeeding while walking. Whether you're considering it, or haven't quite got it down pat yet, there are some helpful suggestions to make it easier, more comfortable, and safe for you and your baby. Here are seven tips for moms endeavoring to breastfeed and walk simultaneously.
1. Find A Flexible Baby Carrier
"It is important to have the baby in a good front carrier that is flexible. You want to be able to access your breast," Leigh Anne O'Connor, an International Board Certified Lactation Consultant, tells Romper. There are several baby carriers on the market (as you've probably seen), but choosing one that is flexible and comfortable will be key. Another option is a sling or wrap, as the material tends to be pretty stretchy and can even cover your breast while you're breastfeeding (if you're concerned about it). If you pull your shirt up from the top, Today's Parent suggested that you wear a tank top underneath to cover your stomach (if you care about it being exposed. If not you can skip the tank.)
2. Perfect Breastfeeding While Sitting
As O'Connor says, nursing while walking is a learned skill." La Leche League International noted that preparation is key when breastfeeding in public, and one can assume that the same school of thought applies to breastfeeding and walking. You'll want to make sure you and your baby have set up a solid latch and have practiced good habits before you try to breastfeed and walk, breastfeed and pump, or whatever breastfeeding multi-tasking activities you want to try.
3. Dress Yourself For Easy Access
You will probably want to think about the best undergarments and clothes to wear that will provide easy access for your baby before you plan to simultaneously walk and breastfeed.
"A bra that easily unhooks or no bra at all, a top that has buttons, a zipper or is easily lifted works best," O'Conner suggests.
4. Consider Safe Footwear
"Planning your outfit ahead of time can make nursing while walking simple and convenient; this includes proper, non-slip footwear," Jennifer Jordan, director of mom and baby at breast pump distributor at Aeroflow, says in an interview Romper.
No one is saying you can't breastfeed and walk in your heels or wedges. If you can breastfeed in five inch pumps, rock on. But for the less-skilled-in-heels-set moms (present company included) it's advised that you consider footwear in a safer category.
5. Buy A Back Pack Could Help You Go Hands-Free
"Rather than carrying around a bulky shoulder bag, find a backpack that can hold your breast pump, diapers, accessories, and anything else you might need on hand," Jordan suggests. "A backpack allows you to carry your necessities without any of the bulkiness of a shoulder bag."
Jordan says the Sarah Wells "Kelly" breast pump bag, is a good option for a backpack, but there are many on the market. The backpack style you choose will depend on your comfort and whether or not you need to also carry around a breast pump.
6. Watch Vidoes Of Other Women Doing It
Sometimes seeing is believing. If you type "breastfeeding and walking" or "breastfeeding while walking" into your internet search engine you'll be able to pull up videos of women doing it. You'll see some women breastfeeding and walking not using a carrier and others using a carrier. You can study their techniques and positions and try them out for yourself. I learned how to fix my clogged sink via YouTube, so anything is possible with a little instruction.
7. Keep Practicing
This might sound hokey, but practice helps basically everything. Breastfeeding while walking might feel really awkward at first. You might be tempted to give up all together if you can't seem to get it right. Rest assured, it's totally normal for it to be a little wonky for a while, but it's possible to master this skill.
Simultaneously walking and breastfeeding can really help busy moms on the go. The skill helps you keep up with life, possibly your other kids, work, and whatever else you have going on. With time, confidence, and a little tweaking here and there, multi-tasking mamas will find that learning how to walk and breastfeed at the same time is totally worth the hard work.