How to Breastfeed in a Ring Sling

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[box]This Week, August 1-7, is World Breastfeeding Week! To celebrate I’ll be sharing various breastfeeding related posts.  I nursed my first son until he was 18 months old and into my second trimester.  I’m currently nursing my 9 month old who has made it to 22 pounds thanks to mama’s milkshake.  [/box]


Nursing Newborn Ev in an Elevator while Pushing a Stroller. Win.

One of the most valuable tools in my parenting tool belt is nursing while babywearing. I wasn’t always an expert but once I mastered the skill it became essential to me as a parent.  With my second baby it became even more important; I am able to nurse and comfort my youngest while holding the hand and walking with my oldest.  There have been many situations since having my second baby where I wondered “What would I do without this skill?”

This video will show you how to put on your ring sling, double check that it is threaded correctly (CRUCIAL to using a ring sling and making the proper adjustments for breastfeeding), put baby in the sling, tighten, then loosen, latch the baby, and re-tighten the carrier to a safe setting.

[box type=”note”] Safety while babywearing is very important. I always recommend wearing your baby in a ring sling in the tummy to tummy, kangaroo, or hip position.  I do not encourage anyone to use the cradle hold (in which the baby is laying in the sling across your stomach) since it is very easy to do this incorrectly and the only babywearing related fatalities have been in this hold.[/box]

My tips for successful and easy breastfeeding in a Ring Sling.

  1. Find the right sling. In my case that would be a quality linen ring sling.  Thicker linen slings like the Maya Wrap are supportive and easy to adjust.  My Sakura Bloom Pure Linen Sling is lightweight and the linen glides through the rings like butter.  If your sling is hard to adjust  then mastering breastfeeding on the go will prove near impossible.
  2. Ensure your sling is threaded properly. This one is a biggie. I THOUGHT I was using my ring sling correctly but the threading would always get a little screwy.  I shurgged it off and still used it that way.  Yes, it totally worked but adjusting the sling took longer.  Longer adjustments= cranky and impatient baby.  It can really put you off to ring slings.  I watched a million videos and followed the directions that came with a sling to re-thread..  Only after seeing a real live person swiftly thread a sling (and make it look like it was second nature) did the lightbulb go off.
  3. Speaking of “Real People,” getting instructions and hands on help from another- more experienced- babywearing mama can really speed up the learning curve for any carrier hold and/or trick.  Find a Babywearing International or other trustworthy group to join.  Not only will you enjoy the meetings and learn a lot, you will probably be with your “tribe.”
  4. Dress for Success(ful Boob Access).  Breastfeeding in a ring sling or any other carrier is far easier when you can pull up and out of your top.  Pulling a shirt up while wearing your baby in a ring sling is not only hard to do but it can be less than flattering to show your stomach openly.  Usually the carrier squishes things down in all the wrong places.  Deep V necks, stretchy tank tops, button-up shirts, nursing tanks, shirts designed for nursing with a lift up or slit opening, anything that can be undone or give access to one boob from the top is perfect.  If you are worried about showing too much you can add a scarf ot use the ring sling tail to cover up.  More ideas for dressing to nurse in public in my “How to Nurse in Public” post.
  5. Practice makes perfect. Trying this at a crowded fair for the first time isn’t going to work well.  You will be nervous, you may be clumsy, and your baby will be hungry and impatient.  If that hungry baby starts crying they might be harder to latch when you do get them into position.  Try nursing in your ring sling in your home and when the baby isn’t hungry yet (and in a good mood).

Once you have this skill mastered you will wonder how on Earth you ever lived without it. I especially loved nursing in a ring sling in the early days when Everett was a newborn up until he was 4-5 months old.  We do still use it but we have moved to our Ergo for our longer trips. You can also breastfeed in the Ergo.

The sling shown in the video is a Sakura Bloom Pure Linen {in Wheat} and the most affordable in their line.  Link is an affiliate link.

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