Is It Hard, Breastfeeding With A Baby In A Pavlik Harness?

Breastfeeding with a baby in a Pavlik Harness? So is it hard?

I am here to help you know that although it is different from what you are used to breastfeeding your baby in a Pavlik Harness is totally doable!

In the early days of your baby being in a Pavlik Harness, everything can feel really daunting. If you have had a tricky breastfeeding journey all ready it may feel super overwhelming even upsetting, when it feels like you will have to relearn with your baby in a harness.

By the end of this post, you will have the tools to be able to breastfeed your baby confidently again! Don’t stress too much Mumma, you’re doing great!

Grab our ultimate nappy bag packing list and never get caught short again!

What You Need To Know About The Harness

There are a few things to know about your Pavlik Harness that can help in breastfeeding with the harness on! The biggest thing to remember is that in no time it will feel so normal to feed your baby in the harness.

Learning about your harness is a big confidence booster!

Where The Harness Goes

The harness is arranged in plenty of places over your baby. It really can feel like a lot at the start. Your baby’s Pavlik harness takes time to learn.

The harness sits over each shoulder and then around your baby’s nipple line. From there a strap comes off the front and back of the chest strap and connects to your baby’s leg straps.

One strap round under their knee, one strap around their ankle with a little stirrup.

Although the harness really is simple, it makes your baby feel a bit chunkier and more awkward to handle at the start.

From one harness parent to another we have all felt that way… it is normal.

What Position The Harness Puts Your Baby In

The goal of the harness is to hold your baby’s hips at a 90-degree angle. This is considered hip healthy, depending on each hip’s severity of DDH one could be fastened higher than the other.

So your baby ends up in what to the naked eye looks similar to a froggy position. Or some of our family thought she looked like a little star.

Why You Are Doing The Right Thing

Your baby has every chance to develop correctly and completely improve their hip socket development by your getting them into the harness as quickly as possible.

It can feel very overwhelming at the start and can be an emotional process so knowing that there are lots of people who go through similar can be helpful.

YOU are 110% doing the right thing for your baby by giving them a shot at a normal life with healthy hips.

Babies who are missed or don’t get the chance to go into the harness don’t have such a good prognosis. I would know. I was one of those babies.

Is It Hard To Breast Feed With The Harness?

Breastfeeding your baby in a Pavlik Harness can feel very awkward at the beginning. Keep in mind any new skill feels awkward for a while.

It takes time to get used to any new skill and feeding your baby in a Pavlik Harness is no different! I think within a week I started to feel back to normal.

That meant I was very relaxed feeding her and it felt second nature with no anxiety! It could take you more or less time to get used to it. Give yourself grace.

Is There Anything That Makes Feeding With A Pavlik Harness Easier?

Honestly, the best thing to make it easier is to try different positions and to keep practicing.

Practice, practice, practice, makes perfect! (Or somewhat close to it)

Making sure you give yourself a week or so to really crack down on practicing is a really important idea.

Limit your appointments and find your flow just feeding with the harness on. Then you will be ready to tackle any feeding situation that happens to you.

Breastfeeding Your Baby With A Pavlik Harness

Now down to the practical tips to help you get rid of that wobbly feeling you have when breastfeeding in the early days as soon as possible!

Again I can’t stress enough it is so normal and in no time you will be a pro!

Try Things Out!

Trying things out is the best way to figure out what is going to work best for you and your baby. Trying different positions is going to very quickly show you what you are comfortable with and what your baby is comfortable with.

There are a few different positions you can look at trying, I will go into more detail later in the post. I can’t stress enough that baby above positions were the easiest positions to use while learning.

If something doesn’t work just keep trying! There will be a position out there that works for you.

Learn From Your Baby

Your baby will be your biggest teacher. You just have to watch them carefully and read the signs.

Looks for things like:

  • A good latch
  •  Feeding with pulling off
  •  Feeding without choking or spluttering a lot
  •  A calm feed
  •  Your baby seems relaxed and not frustrated

These sorts of things are going to tell you that your baby is finding this position works well.

If your baby is:

  • Pulling off
  •  Frustrated
  •  Wound up
  •  Not latching properly

That could tell you the position you are feeding may not be working.

Don’t expect them to get a new position first go, just keep trying and see if they warm to it.

Positions That Work Well

There were four main positions I used when breastfeeding my baby when she was in a Pavlik Harness. The most important thing to remember is it isn’t going to be easy straight away.

Just like when you first learned to breastfeed your baby, you are going to take some time to figure out exactly what is going to work for you and your baby.

  1. I made sure that I fed my baby with them in an above position to allow a more natural way for their legs to sit with the harness on.
  2.  Standing up is a fantastic position and comfortable for you to lean into as well as comfortable for your baby’s legs.
  3.  Lying down allowed me to rest at night as I gave her a night feed and mean not only was she comfortable but so was I.
  4.  Sitting here on my leg and letting her lean into me was another good one that kept her legs in a comfortable position and mean I could lean back and rest my back.
how to breastfeed your baby with a pavlik harness positions

Use Feeding Aids If That Makes It Easier

Feeding aids could be:

  • Feeding pillow
  •  The armrest part of a chair or couch
  •  Your bed pillows
  •  A tri pillow
  •  Using a blanket to prop your baby up

A feeding aid can be anything that makes feeding your baby easier. By using feeding aids you can give your back a break. It is one thing no one talks about just how hard breastfeeding is on your back!

Standing Holds Can Be Comfortable

It does seem strange to recommend but the standing hold was one of the ones I did the most while my baby was in a Pavlik harness.

Instead of being hunched over, I could lean right back into a stretch and it meant if I help my baby between her legs and under her shoulders she was more than comfortable too.

When you don’t feel like you need a rest (if that is ever) the standing hold is absolutely fabulous for both you and your baby!

Other Posts You May Like…

Top Tips On Breastfeeding With A Pavlik Harness

These are our top tips to use when learning and breastfeeding with a Pavlik Harness!


Use pillows wherever you can to prop your baby up and take the strain off your back. Using pillows is going to make your baby more comfortable and also take care of your back in the long run.

Making sure you and your baby are comfortable should be the most important thing on your journey.

Pillows truly are more than helpful so use as many as possible and find what works best for you and your baby.

Practice Makes Perfect

I can’t say it enough. Any new skill will always feel a bit wobbly and yucky, so keep practicing and have faith that with time you WILL feel like an old pro!

It is so key to give yourself grace while you are learning as we all go through it so many things in life.

You and your baby have got this just give it time.

Take Your Time

Another great tip is to take your time. Once your baby is in the harness give yourself time to simply just allow them to figure out the harness.

It allows you to figure out the harness and figure out how to make the harness work well for both of you.

Time to practice and get used to it is really important.

Utilize Resources, Health Professionals, And Communities

There are some amazing Facebook groups, blogs, and Instagram pages, and just about everything you need to know can be found on them!

Do your research and you will find more and more growing resources around the place that will really help you on your journey with your hippie baby.

Use Baby Above Feeding Positions

Using baby above feeding positions is so helpful as well. By having your baby above you their legs can sit in a natural and comfortable position.

Feeding like that also allows you to lean back and rest your back.

Other Pavlik Harness Questions

Some quick Pavlik Harness questions + answers!

What Can You Not Do With A Pavlik Harness?

You can’t go swimming in a Pavli Harness! That is the only thing that jumps out at me, the best thing to do is talk to your healthcare professionals.

If your baby is allowed out the time they may well be allowed to go swimming but honestly when it comes to what you can and can’t do talk to your health care professionals every time.

How Long Does It Take For A Baby To Adjust To A Pavlik Harness

This is a flexible question, for our baby, we never had a tough adjustment period she was fine straight away. This is the case for some babies and other babies can take a week or so to get used to it.

The biggest thing to consider is your baby’s age, the older the are the tough it may be but each and every baby is different.

Harness Heros NZ on Facebook would be a great place to ask this question to get a range of answers.

Can My Baby Roll Over In A Pavlik Harness?

Your baby may be able to roll if the condition is perfect but chances are it is a no.

Our baby started sitting in her harness but she also start to belly flow/roll forward to get on her stomach out of attempts to try to roll not working for her!

Your baby will develop at their own rate it is all normal so don’t stress, but they will struggle to roll without being on an angle or other factors.

Can You Breastfeed With A Baby In A Spica Cast?

Yes, you can continue to feed! Research more information on Spica Cast’s specifically to arm yourself with the tools you need but the principles will be the same.

  • Practice
  •  Give yourself time
  •  Listen to your baby

So How Hard Is Breastfeeding With A Baby In A Pavlik Harness

It might feel hard to start with! But with anything in life practicing it will make it easier…

If you stick at it and use positions that have a baby on top of you, in no time feeding with the harness on will feel completely natural to you.

I personally loved the standing position with the harness on as it allowed me to lean back and stretch out my back as well as feed my bub, taking care of your back is really important.

You have totally got this and make the most of the resources around you and in no time you will feel like an old pro!


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