Episode 98: Tips for Breastfeeding While Babywearing with Meagan Pa
Babywearing, Bottles, Breastfeeding, Reflux, Tips March 15, 2023
Jacqueline Kincer 0:03
Welcome back to the Breastfeeding Talk Podcast. I am so excited today to bring another awesome guest to you. Her name is Meagan Pa, and she is the founder and CEO of Amphiba Baby. And if you don’t know what that is, it’s a really cool company. And one of the things that she makes and sells is a baby carrier. So we are going to be talking about babywearing today. And I love these conversations because babywearing is one of those things that I find a lot of our clients, a lot of our members, followers on social media will have lots of questions about and this day and age, there’s so much choice and everything. And it can be overwhelming, right? Like even from what social media accounts do you follow? What bottles do you buy? What diapers Do you buy, and then there’s baby carriers. So even once you’ve chosen one, then it’s how to use it correctly. And I think that’s one of those things that tends to really be missing. And so people tend to not use them, maybe you get them as a gift for a baby shower, maybe you work hard to find one that you think you’re going to love. And if you don’t know how to use it properly, it can be more of a frustration. And something that you feel like, gosh, my wallets a little bit lighter now, and I don’t know why I got this. So Megan is going to talk to us today about some awesome just tips about baby wearing baby wearing and breastfeeding and nursing, which I think is so important. And we’re gonna get into the nitty gritty of it all. So I’m excited to have you here. Meagan, thank you so much for coming on the show. And I would just love for you to just tell our listeners a little bit about yourself and who you are.
Meagan Pa 2:21
Great. Thank you so much for having me, Jacqueline. So first and foremost, really, I’m a mom, I have four kids. And after the birth of my first baby, that’s really what started me on a career path of being a nurse and a lactation consultant and the owner of amphibia, baby. So I had a really hard time breastfeeding my baby, he was difficult to soothe every evening, this poor kid would just cry for hours. So naturally, I gravitate, gravitated straight to baby carriers. And, you know, I just collected as many as I could at the time. And that that’s sort of my love for baby carriers. It also started my interest in lactation because I was just having such a difficult time. And I did not want other moms to have to go through what I was going through, it took me a while to end up becoming a lactation consultant because I kept having kids and I went to had to get in nursing school. So I finally did take the exam after the birth of my fourth baby. So at that point, like I had just been breastfeeding for 10 years straight and really had a lot of good experience under my belt. And so the baby got started after the birth of my second baby. And that happened just because, you know, when she was born two years after my first I had all the carriers lined up. But I started to find it inconvenient to change the carrier’s like, every, every time she would go out of a stage right? So she went from newborn to three months old, you know, getting more back strength and tone and holding her head up to six months, we were able to transition to a soft structure. And then I kind of came into a new issue during the summertime when I wanted to be able to get into the water with her. And the what we had at the time was this mesh wrap. And it was just a challenge for me with a mom with two under to to manage this mesh rat, hold my baby chase the toddlers just a lot happening. And you know, I I thought then I was like This isn’t working. I need to just design my own. And I didn’t so so I had to get my mom to help me with this. And I realized pretty quickly though when she made this thing for me that it wasn’t right and it was going to take time to develop what I had in my head like this perfect carrier. So it ended up actually taking me eight years. You Amphiba Baby launched in May. And, you know, we it’s been really exciting. And it’s a really wild ride because I have a medical background and not a business background, but I’m really excited to share it with people.
Jacqueline Kincer 5:13
Oh, wow, that is so cool. I love that your mom helped you. It’s like, I mean, not the same. But you know, it wasn’t fiance’s mom started out making her costumes or something.
Meagan Pa 5:25
Yes, cool. Yeah, I
Jacqueline Kincer 5:26
know. And yeah, like, I just love that you, you know, have so much experience as a mom. And you really had all of this time all of these children to try these different things out and see what wasn’t working. See what was working? Because that’s so important, right? I mean, I feel like that’s a process that every mom goes through, right? You register for all these products, you think, Oh, this is the best. I’ve read all of the reviews. It’s recommended by this magazine. And then you use it on your baby. And you’re like, oh, maybe that one is not the best.
Meagan Pa 6:00
Yeah, exactly. Babwearing is really personal for a lot of different reasons, you know? Because it depends on what you want out of it. You know, like, Are you the mom, that’s just gonna, you like it to be hands-free when you’re out maybe going for a hike? Or do you want to do not get into babywearing until you’re having your second or third baby and you find that you need to be hands free? Or is like you are you really into it, you know, like you want to collection your baby wearing all day long from sunup to sundown. So all of those things kind of will determine what you gravitate towards. But I kind of found that I married my two passions, which is breastfeeding and babywearing. And once I became a lactation consultant, I was able to help other moms do those two things together, I did really find that there are certain carriers that are easier to, to nurse on to nurse in, especially if like you’re new to everything than others.
Jacqueline Kincer 7:05
Yeah, maybe you can tell us a little bit about that. Because I think that sometimes people end up thinking, you know, whatever they got is like, you know, something they can use right off the bat. And then they find out Oh, my baby doesn’t weigh enough or they don’t there’s no head support? Or, like, how do we go through these different stages of infancy and postpartum? Right? Because your body is very different right after you’ve given birth, you still look and feel somewhat pregnant, right? versus maybe you know, three months postpartum where you know, you don’t have that. So like, let’s just chat about that. Because I found that a huge learning curve for me when I first had a baby. I was like, Yeah, I definitely want a baby carrier. And then the one I had, I was like, Oh, I can’t use that right now. So what do I get for my newborn?
Meagan Pa 7:52
Yeah, 100%. So first, I kind of want to start with like, nursing in a carrier can be accomplished in pretty much any carrier, but like you said, there’s going to be some that are easier than others based on their design styles. So with one thing that is you want a panel, so that’s the back portion of a carrier to not be too high that it limits the baby’s range of motion. So when a baby latches onto the breast, they do need to lean back a little bit to get that latch, their head needs to lean back. And if the panel is covering their head, or just up too high, that makes it more difficult and it’s harder to adjust. I also found that it’s easier to have a carrier that has a waistband. Because when you’re putting a baby in a carrier, the correct position is if they’re high enough that you can look down and kiss the top of their head. But your breasts aren’t that high. So you need to have this waistband that or it’s easier. Let’s say you don’t have to have it, but it’s easier to have a waistband that you can loosen the waistband, drop the baby down on your hips, rotate them to get to the breast that you want to nurse on.
Jacqueline Kincer 9:09
Oh, that’s such a good point. I cannot tell you how many times I was pulling the underside of my boob up to try to get it to my baby’s mouth. Like what the heck is going on? That doesn’t seem normal, you know? And it took me it took me a little while to figure out okay, you know, it really had to I was using like a ring sling so it wasn’t, didn’t have that waistband that you’re talking about. But then other carriers that did it was so much easier. So I love that and just like you mentioned because you are a lactation consultant, you understand this too. If you’re putting pressure or there’s something against the back of your baby’s head, you know, a newborn phase, they’re generally going to have this sort of, you know, jerking back like, it’s gonna be very difficult to try to latch your babies. So if you have something that’s behind there and it’s not in the right spot, it’s definitely going to make it harder to latch them while you’re babywearing.
Meagan Pa 10:06
Yeah, but you bring up an interesting point, because, you know, a lot of moms may think that, like their size matters like they can’t, because there are certain size that they may not have an easy time nursing and a carrier. But the cool thing is like you can, you know, it’s just little little tricks or little tips, tips, the right word. So for a mom that has, you know, she’s a larger size, you know, and perhaps you know, the weight of her breasts may pull out of baby’s mouth, she can still even in the carrier, put a wash cough up under her breast, or any kind of like, cloth to prop it up, she would also want to loosen the carrier on the side that she’s nursing on a little bit more than a mom that’s maybe not as large. So that also like size, they can, it doesn’t matter, you can still nursing the carrier, but tips are going to be helpful things like that.
Jacqueline Kincer 11:04
So true. I’ve also found for even if it’s, you know, just body size or breast size, when you do have larger breasts that having a nursing bra that when you fold it down, so you unclip it and you fold it down, you can actually roll that and put that under the breast as well. And so for those reasons, I’m a big fan of the nursing bras that have padding because when they’re absorbent, but to it gives you a little extra lift and support there. So it’s kind of like built in. I oh my gosh, you should design a nursing bra. Like that just like automatically supports the breast. Because I mean, maybe your mom can because she is the sower I love that. But yes, any size, right? I mean, I think that’s what people miss is they they sometimes make this assumption. And I understand there’s a lot of internalized feelings when you are larger size, or maybe you weren’t, but now postpartum you are. And so you know, you’re just not feeling your way around your body as well as you might have. So we don’t want anyone to be scared away from babywearing because it’s really valuable.
Meagan Pa 12:15
Yeah, you know, that was a great tip with the within nursing bra. I also think that like when it comes to marrying the two, like when you’re a new mom, and you’re learning to breastfeed, and you’re also new to baby wearing, it can seem overwhelming, because there’s so many options and a lot to learn. So I have found that when I’m with a mom that keeping it as simple as possible, is going to make her the most successful and even just will you know, help encourage her to try it from the beginning. So having you know, I don’t always push her to necessarily start off with a soft structure. She can use whatever she’s been babywearing at home with and what she’s already comfortable in. But also moms that are struggling with nursing, having the baby in a carrier skin to skin and just giving that baby, the frequent access to the breast is going to be helpful, you know, that even helps like bring in mom’s milk supply. And it helps, you know, encourage mom to get familiar with baby’s cues and helps decrease baby’s crying and all those things actually give her such a boost in confidence. So that she feels like I’ve got this thing, you know.
Jacqueline Kincer 13:34
Yeah, absolutely. I love what you said about baby’s cues, too, because they’re right there. And you’ll notice any small shift in movement or a change in their breathing. You’ll you’ll notice when they’re rousing from sleep, and if they go back to sleep or not, and what works and what doesn’t you noticed movement helped as being quiet helped as noise helped, like, you’ll start to learn all of those things just automatically. It’s like, you know, through osmosis, it just sort of happens. Yeah, you don’t have to think about it, which is really cool. Um, I guess for you know, just this piece of nursing in the carrier for someone who’s never done it before, what would you recommend for them to try to just get started? You know, maybe it matters, you know, what type of carrier they have. Maybe it doesn’t. But I think there’s this you know, moms are like, I would love to do that. I just don’t even know how so, you know, they’re just they really don’t know where to peak.
Meagan Pa 14:38
Yeah. Yeah, that’s a great question. So my I’m first going to ask the mom if she’s ever baby worn like if she’s worn her baby if she’s got a carrier at home. So I would start off with something that she’s already familiar with. If she has not if she has never touched a carrier, then I do tend to gravitate to so Our structure carriers because they are so easy to adjust, it’s just a simple buckle at the waist, buckle at the chest strap. And then you can tighten it or loosen it as you need to get baby situated to nurse. That tends to be the easiest thing. And that is one of the things that you know, of course, like I thought of when I was designing the Neptune baby carrier, because I was always nursing my babies, it’s just, you know, around the clock, you know, I, my babies. It was really 10 years straight. So like I wouldn’t, I wouldn’t. I would nurse through pregnancies, I tandem nurse and I just needed something that was easy. So that’s what I found in experience was those soft structure carriers are easiest to nurse. And I personally also like soft structure carriers that have an attached hood. Because, you know, you certainly do not need to cover up when you’re nursing in public. But for a mom that will be more inclined to do so because she has some slight privacy, if it makes her feel more comfortable, then the hook can be used as a privacy barrier. So that was something that I took into consideration as well, when design the tune was having like a hood that, you know, I could cover what I was doing, like he really once you have the baby in the carrier, the hood up, nobody knows if you’re nursing in that courier or not. So I find that to be really helpful as well.
Jacqueline Kincer 16:35
Although that is so true, you know, that that element of privacy. And, you know, I also think about, I live in a very sunny, warm climate. So one of the things I noticed is, you know, I’d be outdoors maybe with one of my babies, and I’d be wearing you know them and nursing and just, you know, it couldn’t get into labs or what have you. And you know, for them, the angle of the sun was different than for me and I would go oh, the sun’s in their eyes. So even just that little, you know, cover right there would be great for those sorts of instances or when it’s cold out, right. So if you’re going to be nursing the carrier, now you know, your upper breast is exposed, if it’s cold out, putting that hood up can help insulate things and keep you warmer, which is really nice. So yeah, I think there’s all sorts of if it’s raining, if it’s snowing, you know, you can just, if you’re outdoors, I think there’s so many great use cases for it. But also I found to wear you know, those hoods are really helpful for those babies that are, you know, maybe going to fall asleep and they’re not gonna have that head control. And it gives you a little peace of mind and security where you can like, truly be hands free and not have to hold their head all the time. So you guys, the hoods are the best. I seriously, I love the hoods. I really do.
Meagan Pa 17:56
Yeah, that’s absolutely I mean, contact naps are fantastic. You know, you’re gonna get a baby sleeping longer. You certainly don’t like always have to do a contact nap. But it’s nice when you’re out and about. Or even if you’re just at home. And, you know, I’ve had moms that work from home, and I’ve been one of them that will need you know, just have that contact naps and baby will sleep that extra 20 minutes that you can get a little bit more work done, you know?
Jacqueline Kincer 18:26
Oh, yes, absolutely. i Yeah, it’s it’s so valuable. You know, I’ve always, I don’t know, I guess I didn’t really, you know, look into any baby sleep stuff. When I had my first he was a terrible sleeper. And he’s better now. He still has a hard time sleeping though I just as nature, I don’t think there’s anything I could have done. You know, we’ve had this conversation with the pediatrician. He’s 10. So it is what it is. But my husband’s also a terrible sleeper. I’m a great sleeper. So I could not relate. But for me, contact naps were everything. Because otherwise he wasn’t going to nap for more than 20 or 40 minutes. And that’s not good for him. It’s not good for me. But I could put him in the carrier and I could go and live life. I could go on a walk with a friend, I could go to the grocery store and he could nap. Like it didn’t prevent me from doing all those things. You know, so I think those are really valuable things and like you’re saying it’s not like you know, you have to do it all the time. Right but you can you know, get some more sleep for your baby. Maybe you can get something done to work or what have you and oh my goodness, it’s it’s so great once you get used to it.
Meagan Pa 19:41
Yeah, you know what’s really interesting too, is that I think sometimes especially as a new mom like things can be going on with baby that may be your end. Let me just backtrack and say you’re absolutely right. Some kids like that’s just them like they are not great. Like what we would say is a great sleeper like, you say your you said your husband really isn’t like, My husband works nights like has always he’s a night owl. So like, he does not sleep much at all. And we also had a son that just who needs sleep. But when you’re when you’re a new mom, you do so. So um, yeah, but but so with that, absolutely, some babies are just, that’s just not them, they’re just not gonna lay down and sleep, these nice long naps, but there also can be other things going on. So sometimes, you know, we don’t recognize right away as a new mom, if our babies maybe struggling with reflux, like silent reflux. And what I also like about baby wearing is because let’s say you don’t even nurse, but let’s just if baby eats and they have reflux, like the recommendation is that they need to remain upright after they’ve eaten. So being able to keep them in a carrier allows them to be upright. And then the added benefit of that is that while you are moving around, your body is actually putting gentle pressure on their stomach, which actually helps promote digestion. So you’ve got a couple of great things going on. Right. So their upright, which helps them from preventing spinning up, the movement is helping their digestion and the contact with their body is helping keep the keeping them calmer. So lower cortisol levels so that you’ve got just this like, more physically relaxed baby calmer baby. So that, you know, maybe if that’s something that has been been causing your child to be more anxious seeming, now you’re able to address those issues.
Jacqueline Kincer 21:48
Wow, that is huge. I never even thought of that. And that is an excellent reason to baby where and reflux is fairly common. And it could be just, you know, temporary. Maybe you just have one of those reflux see babies, and oh, my goodness, you know, one thing you mentioned, too, is, you know, obviously, you know, you can nurse in the carrier, but you can bottle feed and the carrier too. So I’d love to hear your tips on that.
Meagan Pa 22:17
Yeah. So the way that I practice, and I do this in a lot of like, any kind of capacity where I’m supporting other moms, because you’re gonna get as a new moms so much advice, right. And, of course, they’re going to be this is what is research based, and, you know, medically recommended. But all the other noise, you know, you got to kind of filter through what works for you. So, so if you know, a mom has just decided that nursing is not working out for her. That can be okay, that’s fine. You know, you can breastfeed and pump, you could do you know, combat feeding, whatever. But you can certainly bottle feed in your carrier. So one thing that I I like about bottle feeding in a carrier is that it naturally kind of sets you up to do paste bottle feeding, which is I’m not sure if you know, you’ve talked with your readers about but like, you kind of want to hold the bottle horizontal so that the baby’s just not chugging it, right? They’re doing a slower feed. So this also helps with babies that have reflux to slow that feed down. You wouldn’t, you wouldn’t want to be holding the bottle like upright, like you’re talking about water. So again, you’re holding it horizontal, you can do it right above where the panel, the panel should be right underneath of their ear, right? So you have that space. And it’s going to be horizontal to the panel, if that makes sense. And they can do a pace bottle feed that way. And and then they’re upright. And so again, it’s just benefiting benefiting those babies that need some help with digestion.
Jacqueline Kincer 24:11
Yeah, absolutely. I love that. I’m like the biggest fan and proponent of paste bottle feedings. So yeah, it’s just kept babies. You know, I tried to tell parents this, like your baby should never be laying on their back and eating there is no case where I would say that that is safe or beneficial for baby. And why is that? Well, we don’t lay on our backs and drink or eat. So that’s just not how the human digestive system works and babies or babies are no different. Right? So I always love to parents will go well. Yeah, my baby splits up a lot. But that’s that’s normal, right? And I’m like, Well, I mean, do you spit up a lot like babies will have some spit up when there’s, you know, positional things and stuff happens but like, in general, if they’re doing it I after every meal, like, if you don’t happen to you and go to your doctor, so those little things right, and so yeah, but some of the stuff like I find, like reflux can be positioned to do. So if you are feeding your baby laying on their back, like you see in every TV show and movie that you’ve ever seen with a baby being fed, then yeah, it’s more likely that they’re going to spit up because of the way the swallowing and all of that is happening. So feeding into carrier like automatically even can reduce that possibility of further reflux. So how did you know in terms of the bottle feeding, though, so if the baby is in the carrier, and they’re sort of, you know, tummy to tummy with you. Now, how do you get them to bottle feed? Like, do you need to change the straps of the carrier like you would if you were nursing? Because I, you know, I think a lot of parents struggle with, how do I get the bottle between me and the baby? Or I don’t want them to crane their neck too far?
Meagan Pa 25:55
Got it back? That’s a great question. So you do have options. Depending on baby’s age, you can slide them to either hip for a hip carry, and then that frees up their that frees up their face, right. So then again, I would still make sure that you’re doing pace bottle feeding holding the bottle horizontal. So that’s one option. Another option is to loosen the shoulder strap. So again, we’re kind of I’m, when I talk about shoulder straps and loosening it like that I’m referring to like a soft structure carrier. So you can loosen the shoulder strap on one side, you are still going to be supporting babies back with your other arm. And they’re again, still secure in the carrier. And that just gives them by loosening that shoulder strap, it gives them that more freedom of motion, that range of motion to kind of lean back, turn their head to the side. And you are as the parent going to be holding the bottle bottle and closer to your body so that they can baby can latch on to it. But you don’t have to worry as much about dropping them down on your hips like you would if you were in nursing. So that is going to be one difference.
Jacqueline Kincer 27:12
Oh yeah, that’s yeah, and a hip carry. That’s such a great reminder to that that’s an option. And I’ve actually seen that work out fairly well for nursing to where moms who might have more separation of the breast tissue from the chest wall, aka saggy boobs, which are great for nursing, by the way, you know, if you have not appreciated your saggy boobs previously in life, when you become a breastfeeding mom, there is some benefit there. I gotta tell ya, having that flexibility is kind of nice. And you totally if you’re nursing on the right move, you could kind of do a hip carry, right? And just it works. It does.
Meagan Pa 27:54
Absolutely. And the more kids you have, the easier that’s gonna be.
Jacqueline Kincer 28:01
Right. Also, just because we said this, I do want to clarify a little piece of information out there for misinformation out there for our listeners, I have seen I get it. It’s funny, let’s make jokes and you know, all of that right, but like breastfeeding does not make your boobs saggy. Okay, you know what does pregnancy. Pregnancy is when your breasts grow and stretch and develop and all of that skin and tissue changes. Breastfeeding did not do that whether or not you decide to breastfeed after giving birth. All the stuff for lactation is there and your app, you’re actively having to turn it off. So I just wanted to clarify that for folks. Also, if you didn’t know this, when you when your breasts go through this process of involution where the fat and the glandular tissue has to remodel and it moves around in the breast. So where glandular tissue took up space because it’s making and holding milk that goes away and your fat tissue over several months, moves back into place. So basically, you’re not doomed. And you do not need a boob job just because you breastfed, but pregnancy might have caused some issues.
Meagan Pa 29:15
You will absolutely because when you’re pregnant, that’s when your body produces the relaxin hormone relax and that is what helps loosen Oh, all the good stuff there. So it’s getting you prepared for birth which
Jacqueline Kincer 29:26
it’s right in the hips and yeah, bras right.
Meagan Pa 29:30
That’s right. And I I can attest to another thing that you said as a mom that has just recently weaned her last child a few months back the involution you know I was a nice, a much nicer busty or size. And now I’m back to my smaller cup bras so they do you know involute in our I guess I don’t want to say go back to exactly Were they were but,
Jacqueline Kincer 30:01
you know, there’s Yeah, they’re they’re not I know some moms miss that right? They’re like, Oh man, I wish I still had the fullness of when I was lactating other moms do not like having bigger breasts so right. No, we can’t when
Meagan Pa 30:17
teachers get me I’m sorry. Yeah to true.
Jacqueline Kincer 30:19
Yes. Um, well, I know you have said to you, you’ve kind of nursed through pregnancy. Did you baby were through pregnancy? And if so what was that, like?
Meagan Pa 30:30
I absolutely did. Yeah, I did all those things. So baby wearing when I was pregnant, it’s, it’s very much. For me, my comfort level was very much the same position wise in those early months. So I still had the carrier waistband around my waist as I got bigger. And again, you can either for that waistband, you can either move the waistband below your belly bump, or above, and it’s really dependent on your comfort level. It can also depend on your body shape, right, so some women have bigger and longer torsos versus others. So for me personally, what I chose to do in the early months was keep it where it was, when I started to get that belly bump developing, I would go below, I would wear the carrier waistband below my bump. And then as I got bigger, depending on the length of time I was gonna wear my toddler, my older baby, I may move it around. So it may be above the bump, or it may be below. But you can absolutely still baby where and you need to listen to your body, your body is going to tell you when you need to take a break. And that’s also a really good time to during the transition that older baby. So if you’ve got a baby that’s used to being worn a lot, especially like mine, my, my younger children, because they were the third and the fourth, like they, they almost lived in the carrier. So when I was pregnant, that was a great time to to kind of transition like Mommy’s not going to carry you all the time, you know. So it was a slow, steady progression of there’s going to be a new baby soon, that’s going to be in the thing, you’re going to start walking and it was really it was good. It helps them to, to understand and take it slow, to be more independent. And the other thing that I love to share with parents about babywearing is that your babies just because you baby word doesn’t mean your baby’s not gonna hit their milestones, it doesn’t mean that your baby’s not going to be independent. In fact, actually, some studies show the opposite that when baby feels very secure, and they are they’re very comforted and their needs are met by their mother, they are more independent. So I do want to just kind of point that out, as well.
Jacqueline Kincer 32:56
Oh, yeah, I’m really I’m really glad that you mentioned that. Because, yeah, I think there can be this idea of am I you know, coddling my child too much, am I teaching them to rely on me for everything while you know infants kind of do rely on you for everything. So I don’t know if you can do anything to teach them that because it’s sort of natural. And then toddlerhood Of course, they still need you a great deal, right? Humans, unlike other species are born so dependent on their caregivers. So that’s important to remember. And I love what you said about just, you know, teaching that independence, as you know, your pregnant body was changing. And that became an opportunity for you were no really I cannot, you know, continue to wear you or hold you in this way. Right. Which made me think of something in terms of, you know, the mom and her posture. Because I’ve heard from moms, a lot of the time they’ll say something like when i Baby where it hurts my back. And I think there’s probably a few different reasons why that might happen. But you’re absolutely more knowledgeable on this than me. So maybe you could talk about that. Because, you know, is it an issue of like, maybe they’re not wearing the carrier in the correct position? Maybe it’s not the best carrier for them? Is it their posture, which obviously changes so dramatically with pregnancy and postpartum? You know, I don’t know. So I’d love to hear your thoughts on that.
Meagan Pa 34:26
That’s a great question. I’m so glad you brought it up. So when you’re pregnant, actually, especially as your baby is developing, your belly is getting larger. It’s, you’re gonna have a better weight distribution if you’re wearing your older baby or toddler on your back. And then you’re also gonna want a carrier that offers padding. So depending on how you choose to baby wear, obviously like ring slings, woven wraps, while they can be great and they can still disperse the weight evenly. They’re not padded. So Will, depending on your comfort, you may want to then invest when you’re pregnant and a baby care that has padding. And absolutely wear the baby on your back for that distribution of weight. The other thing you mentioned, we talked about it earlier as when you’re pregnant and your body’s producing, relaxing, and your everything is starting to loosen up, this can put more pressure on your hips, especially when you’re babywearing. So kind of reiterating that how the importance of listening to your body. And when your body is saying, okay, you know, maybe now we can only baby wear for 20 or 30 minutes. Versus before we might have done it all day, you know, that’s important to listen to your body and take a break,
Jacqueline Kincer 35:50
huh, yeah, I love that. That’s that’s a great point, too, right? We try to sometimes fit ourselves in these molds. But it’s like, well, discomfort is usually a signal that something should change. And that’s worth listening to you. In what you said to you about wearing for shorter periods of time. I don’t know if this is correct. I’ve given this advice to clients many times over the years, but they’ll say, Oh, my baby hates the carrier. And I’ll say, Well, you know, it might be good for you to just start in small increments at a time, like just wear them for five minutes and see if being stationary or walking, you know, either one improves, you know their experience of it. And work your way up. Like you don’t have to wear them for an hour. You don’t have to commit to a Disneyland trip with a baby in the carrier. Like, how, how do you tell parents who you know, maybe they didn’t start baby wearing from the beginning? Or they do you have a baby that just expresses that they’re unhappy in that carrier? How do you kind of onboard them to that experience?
Meagan Pa 36:56
That is a great, a great question. And you are giving great advice because I would definitely not suggest Yeah, I wouldn’t tell them on to go and you know, just go for it. And they’ll get used to it. Don’t say that. They you don’t want a baby that’s gonna like hate it. And then we’re pushing it and they haven’t, you know, create an aversion to it. Start with short increments. Also, when you’re pregnant, think about that, like when you’re pregnant, you’re constantly moving. So if you’ve got a baby that does not seem to enjoy being worn, I would actually tell the mom to put the baby in the carrier and go for a walk. It doesn’t have to be a long walk. But but move and don’t just sit there and sway because we may think oh, let me comfort the baby. Let me Pat there. But let me sit here and sway, you actually need that to recreate more of that sensation of they what they have when they were in utero. So literally going for a walk and the movement that that produces and will help relax the baby and get the baby more comfortable. babywearing then to standstill. And you would build up in time increments, right. So you would start with this short walk. And maybe this is only 10 minutes. And then you would try again. And always make sure that when you are acclimating the baby to being worn, you’re doing it when they are in that quiet alert state. So you know they are, they’re not fussy, they’re not like it’s not time to eat. They’re not like, you know, upset or hungry, like they’re, they’re in a quiet alert, ready to, you know, ready to be worn. So I would say start within like that, build up in increments and make sure you’re moving.
Jacqueline Kincer 38:51
Wow, yeah, even just the baby’s state is so important, like you said, and that’s a really great consideration. Yeah, walking is definitely different than swaying. So that’s a really good distinction to make, too. I know you mentioned just, you know, that padding can be really helpful on a carrier, the hood can be helpful. What are some other sort of features or design elements of baby carriers that you see work? Well, for a lot of moms and babies, like, you know, I think wraps unless somebody is really, really into baby wearing and that’s their thing. Those can be very cumbersome for a lot of moms, in terms of just even what size do I buy and you know, all of the things right? And they’re very cool, I love them. But it was not for me. I’ll admit I was more of a how quickly can I get this on kind of thing. So what are some of the things that you have just seen are really helpful for moms with carriers, or dads too, because it’s not like you know, moms just have to wear them.
Meagan Pa 39:58
Yeah. Oh, Have I like cares that are easily adjusted because you brought up a great point just then about, if mom’s gonna wear it versus dad’s body, mom’s body and dad’s body are completely different. So you It’s nice when, okay, if we’re transferring the baby, it’s dad star, now mom maybe needs a break, or wants take a nap. And it’s Dad’s turn to baby where that they can easily get the carrier size for their bodies. Personally, you know, I found as a mom of many kids, for us, not that many, but for kids, that I liked having a carrier with pockets, because I was always, you know, sometimes I was taking them carrying, so carrying the baby, the new baby in the front, the toddler in the back, like, where am I going to hold a diaper bag, you know, like, I rather just have a carrier that I can shove some to go wipes a diaper to like just the necessities and run to the grocery store or wherever we were going to be. So pockets were huge for me. Also, again, a carrier that I can very quickly and very easily adjust from whether I had my newborn baby in it versus my toddler. So you know, it’s something like the Neptune baby care, all you have to do is pull the toggle, and it just tightens that waistband. So it’s easy to go from one one child to the next was important. Having the versatility of not having a being able to do a lot of things. So I wanted to carry on where it would grow with my baby. It was easy to adjust easy to get on off quickly. And I could do a lot of different things with it. So you know whether I was going out for a hike or getting in the pool or even stepping in the shower, you know, the maybe baby has some congestion that I wanted to clear up and stay I’m gonna stay in the shower for 20 minutes or whatever. Just having a carrier that was really versatile was important. Something to that I didn’t like about my raps. And not this is gonna be different for some moms. And it may not bother them, but I didn’t like being out of the house. And having long straps that would dangle down and like hit the ground. Like if I’m especially if I’m like going into like maybe a 30 public bathroom, you know, like you can like there are different things that you can do to like, wrap the straps around you or like tuck them in. But I just it was just one. One thing I didn’t want to have to worry about. Right? I didn’t want long cumbersome straps. So I you know, in any case that those were the things that I was looking for in a carrier, and those are the design elements that I put into my Neptun baby carrier, you know, that have really been helpful for me as a mom.
Jacqueline Kincer 42:59
Yeah, I love that. And you’ve mentioned a couple of times, like how you had I think something like mesh, and going in a pool and then like you were talking about just going in the shower. I don’t think a lot of parents realize that that is an option with carriers. So you have your carrier that you have designed called the Neptune carrier. And that can go in the water, I’m assuming. Yeah, absolutely
Meagan Pa 43:23
waterproof. So I’m talking about, there are different water carriers on the market. So kind of giving moms the rundown of your options, right, so you have the mesh wraps. Those are just like any other rap in the way that you rap, put it on your baby and put your baby in it. Typically, with this particular rap, it goes up to about 35 pounds. So if you’ve got a bigger baby or you’re carrying longer, that may not be the option for you. Also, personally, I found that wasn’t the right option for me because of the length of time it took to get in and out of it. And as we moved about the wrap needs to be readjusted which I also found cumbersome. And, you know, I didn’t want to have to stop what I was doing assisting other kids or just, you know, whatever I was doing for myself to rewrap. The other option that you have are what is called mine eyes. And I’m sorry if I’m pronouncing that wrong. But it gets a tie right? Well, actually, no. Yeah, so that’s like the sometimes the Western way of saying
Jacqueline Kincer 44:32
Meagan Pa 44:35
they’re Asian and design, and I believe they’re pronounced my eyes. But I could also be messing it up. In any case, it is like a square panel with four straps that come out. So to at the top and then at the waistband. So the waistband can even either be straight or curved. So they have those that are like well otter carers, but they’re made out of swimsuit material. And the problem I found with those is that if you put a baby into the swimsuit material, it stretches. Yep, and the baby will sink down even more. So when it gets wet, so then you’re constantly retiring it. Also, I found that a bit frustrating, which is, again, why I gravitated towards a soft structured carrier. And it took me years to figure out the right type of material to use because I would put the buckle, I designed it with the buckles, and then maybe just using the swimsuit material as the back panel, but then still, I had a problem and the baby would sink into it. So I ended up using neoprene, which is the same material that wet suits are made out of. And I actually use in my carrier specialty new neoprene, it’s not the stuff that you would get, you know, at your local fabric store. Because neoprene comes in different thicknesses, it also comes in different tensile strength. And that also affects is affects the stretch. So that’s really important. Like you don’t want to get in the water and have the baby sink. It’s just it’s not safe, and it’s not comfortable. You know,
Jacqueline Kincer 46:18
I can personally attest that I had one of those, you know, water carriers and living in a warm climate we like live in our swimming pools during the summer. And they absolutely stretched to the point that I felt like it was unsafe, like more than five or 10 minutes in there, and it just was like, it would be so much easier for me to hold the baby in my arms than to try to wear them. So I sure wish I had what you’re talking about when I had my littles because, yeah, it’s it’s not a good feeling when water is already creating some slippery nests. And then you’ve got this just unsupportive fabric.
Meagan Pa 46:55
I’d also like to bring up a point that we see a lot because there are carriers, it’s better water carriers where the option is given for forward facing out. I personally find that to be unsafe, if you cannot see your baby’s face when you’re in a body of water. And when you’re in a pool splashing is happening. You know, if you’re, you’re at a beach, like waves are coming up at you like I, I need to be able to see your child’s face to make sure that they are not swallowing and ingesting water which could be unsafe. So, you know, I definitely encourage parents that if you are water wearing to keep the baby facing you. And that is another thing that like, you know, my current my carrier now the Neptune carrier, it’s not designed for forward facing out. And that’s why I just feel like you know, safety matters.
Jacqueline Kincer 47:56
Right? Oh, that’s that’s an excellent point. You know, not in a water environment. How do you feel about forward facing.
Meagan Pa 48:04
So not in a water environment, I think you need to make sure you’re crossing your T’s and dotting your eyes, right. So for facing out is not for babies under four months, they can get overstimulated very quickly. Also, I think that the time limit in which you do it, so if they’re over four months, the time limit in which you do it is important to note. So you need to make sure that they’re you know, if you’re doing it once they’ve hit their limit, which could be different for different babies, but you are paying attention to that. So when they start to show signs that they’re overstimulated, you turn them back around. Also, if they’re falling asleep, you don’t keep them forward facing out, you know, that’s they can put their chin to their chest, and then that’s blocking their airway, and they’re not breathing well. So you definitely need to turn them back around. And the other thing that’s really important when you’re deciding on any baby carrier, is that your child’s hips are in the correct position. So you want to make sure that they’re in kind of what we talked about in the baby were enrolled in an M shaped right. So their knees or horizontal or slightly above their hips, if that makes sense. You don’t want their their legs just hanging straight down. So if that is the case, their legs are hanging straight down for too long than the risks or they could potentially develop hip dysplasia so that we want to avoid
Jacqueline Kincer 49:36
Yes. Oh, such a good point. Yeah, and for anybody, like if you’ve ever sat on like a really tall stool and your feet don’t touch the ground, and there’s no bar for you to rest your feet on. Like, think about doing that for a long time. It’s not comfortable. So even that, right we want your baby to be comfortable in the carrier. So I think that’s very important. You know, it sounds like Like, because if you’re using this neoprene, like material for your Neptun carrier that it probably isn’t an issue. But I know in some other carriers that can be where moms just feel like they get too hot, right? Like they get sweaty, the baby gets sweaty, they worry about the baby getting hot in the carrier. You know, we don’t obviously want baby’s overheating. So I’d love for you to chat about that. Because, you know, we’re kind of talking about safety. Right. And I think heat is very important to be aware of.
Meagan Pa 50:28
Yeah, great question. That is something that as I was developing this carrier 100%, I noticed so neoprene, especially waterproof neoprene isn’t not, it’s not breathable. So, in the summertime, what I ended up doing to make this carrier more comfortable was I actually lined it with cool Knox mesh wicking material. So it kind of creates some airflow, and keeps the baby a little bit cooler. With that said, in the summertime, I think it is 100% important to pay attention again to your baby, because, and this doesn’t matter what kind of carrier you are using. But if you’re going to be outside in the hottest part of the day, which for most areas is kind of around like 10 to three, if I’m getting that right, that you’re limiting the amount of sun exposure that you know, baby is in because they can get overheated whether they’re in a carrier in a car, see what have you. So, you know, paying attention to to the amount of time that you’re out during the hottest part of the day, paying attention to baby’s cues. So how is their skin? Like? Is it getting clammy? You know, making sure they are well hydrated is really important. So nursing more frequently. Or if you don’t nurse if you’re bottle feeding, giving them you know, just more frequent, more frequent, smaller amounts is going to be okay if you’re outside. And just when you notice that, hey, they’re getting a little bit too hot. Take a go inside, take a break, seek shade. Those are all important whether you’re choosing to baby whether or not
Jacqueline Kincer 52:20
Oh, such great tips. Yes. And it’s not like the strollers any better folks. And one of the things that I see happening, especially where I live and it’s sunny all the time, is where people will drape blankets or Carsey covers and that kind of thing. If you’ve haven’t gotten the memo yet, that’s not recommended. Your baby actually heats up more when you put a piece of fabric and block that airflow and ventilation for them even if it’s a thin Muslim blanket. So you know if it’s if it’s a car seat or a stroller, there’s always some sort of little cover, right? That’s usually built in or you can attach that can provide shade. But you do not want to be closing off that whole space. Because your baby can very easily overheat and they’re so baby wearing stroller, whatever it is car seat, right, we always want to make sure your baby’s at a good healthy temperature. Yeah,
Meagan Pa 53:13
one thing I actually want to add to this is about neoprene is so when you get wet. So let’s say you aren’t wearing baby in the hottest part of the day, but you’re getting into a pool or a bottle of water or a splash pad. When you get it wet. It actually helps keep them cooler for a little bit longer. So that can that can be helpful. So if the water is cold, you’re getting the baby the wet like it’s it’s acting to help keep babies to the more comfortable temperature.
Jacqueline Kincer 53:42
Oh, that is awesome. I love that and then probably keeping
Meagan Pa 53:46
you who’s wearing a baby. Right? Exactly, exactly.
Jacqueline Kincer 53:50
Yeah. Oh my gosh, I love it. So I this is so informative, and oh my goodness, I just feel like there’s so many tips and tidbits that you’ve mentioned, that are just very helpful. And maybe the little bits and pieces that go get overlooked in the larger conversation that people will have about babywearing. And I think what I’m hearing you say is that, you know, there’s things that are important, like you know, your comfort, the baby’s comfort, right functionality, all of that, like how easy is this to fit into your lifestyle? Is there anything else that you would say is like, you know, an important factor and, you know, decision making for either, you know, if you’re going to get into babywearing or what type of carrier you’d get or how you’re going to do it.
Meagan Pa 54:37
Yeah, I would pay attention to things that you may not think about like is the carrier machine washable. Some of the carriers now that you know you find on the market there now advertising to only spot treat it and I know as like a mom I’m like if I can’t throw this thing into a wash. Like if I’ve got to put extra effort into it like the chances of me using it or wearing it like, I want to be honest. Like, for example, I don’t iron anything. If I cannot just throw it into the washer and dryer and pull it out and put it on, it’s not for me. So if you’re a mom that needs to be able to wash something, that’s all you need to look at that, you know. So that’s just another consideration. Can I wash this in the machine?
Jacqueline Kincer 55:25
Yeah, that’s huge, huge, right? Like, oh, my goodness, I’m the same way if it can’t go on a machine, I don’t want it. Yeah. Oh, my gosh, I love that. Yeah, I did have like a very beautiful linen ring sling. And the thing that was hardest about that was one, the rings are metal. So I did not want that clanging around the inside of my machine. To then even if I took it out and lay it flat right away, it would get very stiff. If I let it air dry, again, didn’t want to put it in the dryer, whatever, because then it’s gonna get super wrinkly, it might shrink there in the rings or cleaning around. So I would have to iron it. And like just No, no, no one has time for that and your baby, your baby’s diapers gonna leak they’re gonna spit up, you’re gonna drop food on it. Like something. I guarantee you it’s just gonna get grubby after a little like, yeah. Who was making these non washable baby carriers? And do they even know what it’s like to be a mom? Yeah, exactly. Oh, I love it. I love it. Well, oh, my goodness, you’re just like such a wealth of information. And what I love is that you have come from this place of you have these children, you’ve been super passionate about babywearing about breastfeeding about just you know, parenting and all the things right. And you’ve created this product, which solves a lot of problems. Like I know, people a lot of times will say, you know, oh, there’s so many carriers or, you know, every soft structured carrier is the same. No, it’s not. Where was my waterproof one when I had kids? Like, this is the coolest thing of all time, to be honest with you like the versatility? That alone is like mind blowing. So yeah, I don’t know if there’s anything else you want to say you’ve said so much about your Neptune carrier. So it goes you know, you can go from the newborn stage, all the way through toddlerhood, that’s huge. Because I know, I was like a big, you know, I want the convertible car seat. We’re one and done. Right? So this is kind of like that version of that somewhat.
Meagan Pa 57:37
Yep, exactly. And that was the whole goal. One and done. Right. It’s an all purpose, versatile carrier, you know, all purpose all season, and you don’t like if you are that minimalist mom, that you don’t want to, you know, spend your money on five different carriers, you don’t need to like this is an option where it grows with your baby, you can use it anywhere. It has all the features, bells and whistles that I hope you would want. And, you know, really, it’s just my, my, the place that I come from and working with moms or designing products is that I know what it’s like, and I want to help moms feel empowered, and that they’ve got tools that they can use that work for them. So that you know, parenting is just more focused on enjoying it, you know, enjoying your kids and enjoying your life.
Jacqueline Kincer 58:36
Oh, I love that. That’s so beautiful. And, you know, I Gosh, what a what an amazing just goal to want for people and you know, through the work that you do as a lactation consultant, as a doula as the creator of AMPA the baby, you’re just putting that out into the world. So we’ll link up, you know, your website and everything. But where do you hang out online? Where can people find you and connect with you?
Meagan Pa 59:07
I am mostly on Instagram at amphibia baby, I do have a Facebook page. But I am a one woman show. So I’m more active on Instagram people can also message me through the website, but you know, I am always there. I will answer any question very quickly and just happy to chat with people.
Jacqueline Kincer 59:28
Ah, I love that. And yeah, I also love that you’re, you know this awesome small business and I love supporting mom run businesses because well heck, I have one and it’s so important. You know I so many people I’m sure you’ve worked with to like and you know, maybe those of you listening right? You’re maybe you’ve got like, you know you’ve rethought some things about your career since having children. Maybe you’ve left the workforce maybe you’ve got a side hustle that you’re hoping to grow Um, all of that, like, when we support one another, I think it’s just one of the most important things that we can do. So, go check out amphibia baby, follow her on Instagram, don’t overwhelm her. No, just kidding. But truly, Megan, it’s, it’s so awesome to have this conversation with you. And thank you so much for sharing all of your knowledge. I think it’s been just wonderful to learn from you and get to see how truly knowledgeable you are about all of these things with, you know, feeding in a carrier and whatnot. So thank you so much for being here.
Meagan Pa 1:00:35
Thank you so much, Jacqueline. It’s been great.
In this episode, Jacqueline is joined by Meagan Pa, Founder and CEO of Amphiba Baby and creator of her very own baby carrier. Together, they discuss things like how to support milk supply through babywearing, how to bottle feed in a carrier, and how to choose if babywearing is right for you.
Choosing the right carrier can get overwhelming for a new mother. Meagan walks through how to choose, when to choose, and how to use a carrier correctly. She also discusses the benefits of babywearing not only for baby but mom too.
In this episode, you’ll hear:
- How to choose if babywearing is right for you
- What to do if you or your baby don’t like babywearing
- How to nurse in a carrier and what type of carrier to use
- How to bottle feed in a carrier and adjustments to make
- What to look for in a good carrier
A glance at this episode:
- [1:59] How Megan got her start in birth work
- [5:34] How personal babywearing can be for a mother
- [7:05] Choosing carriers for each stage of infancy
- [9:04] Nursing in a carrier for larger-breasted women
- [12:19] How Megan helps new moms not feel overwhelmed
- [14:12] How to get started nursing in a carrier
- [16:35] Contact naps and their benefit and ease in a carrier
- [20:30] How babywearing can help with reflux
- [22:10] Tips on bottle feeding in a carrier
- [25:31] Positioning of the carrier while bottle feeding
- [30:19] Babywearing through pregnancy
- [33:54] How to babywear without back pain
- [36:43] What to do if your baby doesn’t like the carrier
- [39:15] What to look for in your carrier
- [43:16] Megan’s waterproof carrier
- [47:59] Forward-facing carriers
- [49:48] Tips for controlling body temperature while in carriers
- [54:17] Important factors when choosing to babywear
- Amphibababy Instagram
- Amphibababy Website
- Amphibababy Facebook
- Holistic Lactation Website
- Discount on Products Use Code ‘PODCAST15’
- Follow on Instagram
- Book an Appointment
- 🍼 If you are truly struggling with breastmilk production, check out our Advanced Lactation Formula supplement or consider booking a Low Milk Supply Consultation or Pumping Consultation with us
- 🤱If you are experiencing clogged ducts, engorgement or mastitis, check out our Lactation Flow Formula supplement or consider booking a General Breastfeeding Consultation with us
- 📚 Looking for more trusted knowledge and a deep dive on how to know what’s what with breastfeeding and how to overcome problems? Check out our support community The Nurture Collective®
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