I think any mom would love to spend every moment of nursing staring down at her baby cradled in her arms and enjoying the special moment she is sharing with her precious child. Unfortunately, lives today are hectic and busy! While you absolutely must make time to feed your baby, there are many other tasks that must get done as well. Some people solve this dilemma with various nursing pillows which buckle on while others find a way to make a vertical carrier work by adjusting straps or repositioning baby. Still others are resigned to the fact that while breastfeeding a child, nothing else will happen. If you have already found a solution to make every moment of your time count, that is wonderful! However, if you are still struggling, Koala Kin has developed a very creative product that can support your breastfeeding journey.
The Koala Kin is a hands-free breastfeeding pouch. It was designed by a mom who was struggling with neck, arm, and shoulder pain while nursing. She wanted to be able to enjoy the closeness and benefits of breastfeeding without the pain. In addition, she had older children for whom she needed to care and needed to free up her hands to do so. She designed the Koala Kin with those features in mind: a design that properly positions baby to latch correctly, reduces the strain on neck, arms and shoulders, and allows you to be hands free. Furthermore, it is essential that this device is safe! It has met all of the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act (CPSIA) standards by going through a thorough testing process.
There are two pieces to the Koala Kin and each is sized separately. The first is the vest. This is the part that is actually worn by the mother who will be breastfeeding. There are two sizes: S/M and L. This sizing ensures that the vest will fit comfortably and securely regardless of the size of your child.
The second piece is the pouch. This is sized based on the baby that will be using it. Again, there are two sizing choices for the pouch: XS/S and M/L. The size you select will be determined by your baby’s height and weight. The smaller size is for birth to 24 inches, while the larger size is for 25-30 inches. Both pouches will support a child up to 35 pounds in weight. If you get the smaller pouch for your newborn and love the Koala Kin so much you don’t want to give it up after 24 inches, it is possible to purchase just the pouch portion separately.
In my own experience with the Koala Kin, I found it very easy to use. The first time will take a little bit longer while you figure out the proper adjustment on each of the straps. Future uses though, will only require you to put it on (no readjustment needed!). Step one is to put on the vest. It goes on like a backpack with straps over your shoulders. The straps should be quite snug and secure. You don’t want a wiggly baby to be able to shift the harness around! Putting this part on is very easy and no more difficult than putting on and adjusting the straps of a backpack.
The next step is to secure the pouch to the vest. There are two clips, one on each side, that connect the base of the pouch. Again, this is a very simple step. I think the only possible way to go wrong here would be to try to attach it upside down. So just check that it’s right side up and you’re pretty much golden.
The final, and most difficult (but not really that hard) step, is to insert the baby. For me, it is easiest to do this while seated. I put the empty pouch across my lap and then lay the baby on top. From there, all you do is pull the buckle up and clip it to the side OPPOSITE of the side you will be using to nurse. Make sure to adjust the strap so your baby is secure! Now you are ready to nurse. The only real difficult part is if your baby is moving all around. Then it might be harder to position and fasten the clip, but most of the time it’s easy enough to hold the baby with one arm while pulling the strap up to enclose him/her within the pouch. The clip is fastened on the opposite side that you are going to use to nurse.
The pouch truly does allow for hands-free breastfeeding, although I did find myself continuing to place my arm under or around her while she was in it. I think this is because it is a comfort for a child and mother to be able to pat and caress your baby rather than a fear that the Koala Kin would not hold. The Koala kin feels extremely secure.
So how do I spend my time while nursing using the Koala Kin? My favorite thing to do is eat. If your experience with breastfeeding has been anything like mine, every time you sit down to nurse, you get all settled in and comfortable, get a good latch, and then your own belly starts rumbling! The Koala Kin makes it easier not only to eat without having one or both arms occupied with nursing, but also allows for simple meal preparation as well. I’m talking pouring a bowl of cereal or nuking some leftovers. I would not recommend actually cooking in the due to the high temperatures of stoves and ovens ant the baby’s proximity to them if you were to be cooking.
Another note of caution, while we’re on the safety kick: the Koala Kin is intended for nursing only. It is not designed to be used as a baby carrier over an extended period of time. This is because it is safest for your child to be in a vertical position while being carried and ensures proper airways are maintained.
If you love breastfeeding your baby and enjoy that closeness and bond, but find yourself constantly needing to do other things (like eat!), then you will really appreciate the support of the Koala Kin. It provides a secure and very comfortable to use pouch for both mommy and baby, while enabling the mother to accomplish other tasks. My only regret is that I did not have one when my child was a newborn. I would have loved the Koala Kin to help with those initial weeks! To get your own Koala Kin, visit their website here.
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