Research: Carrying a baby in a sling helped increase breastfeeding rates 6 months after birth
Quick Summary: Research finds babywearing parents were more likely to be breastfeeding or feeding expressed human milk at 6 months postpartum compared to non babywearers.
A new study finds the power of babywearing (carrying a baby in a sling) as a fantastic yet simple way to hugely improve breastfeeding rates 6 months after birth.
As you know, immediate skin-to-skin contact after birth increases initiation and duration of breastfeeding.
Indigenous communities around the world already know the importance of carrying a baby for breastfeeding. Indeed, carrying a baby may promote breastfeeding through increased responsiveness to early hungry cries, increased bonding and decreased crying.
Now a recent study by Little E. et al., (2021) found babywearing parents were more likely to be breastfeeding or feeding expressed human milk at 6 months postpartum (68%) compared to parents in the control group (40%).
Researchers and community health professionals from Project Concern International, University of California Merced, University of Oregon, and University of Texas at Austin investigated this question:
If parents were provided with soft-structured carriers (and good quality instructions) during pregnancy, could this increase the likelihood of breastfeeding and expressed human milk feeding 6 months after birth?
A randomized parallel-group controlled trial was conducted between February 2018 to June 2019.
The researchers looked at how babywearing affected feeding outcomes.⠀
At 30 weeks’ gestation:
- 50 parents received an a soft structured infant carrier and instructions on the proper use to facilitate increased physical contact with their babies (the intervention group).
- 50 parents were assigned to a “waitlist control group” (the control group)
Parents in the intervention group used the infant carrier for an average 1.7 hours a day.