Breastfeeding your newborn can be stressful enough, but when you add in an active older toddler, it can be challenging. Here’s 5 tips to help!
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As I prepare for the birth of baby #2, I know that nursing will be much different this time around. Not only do I have a busy and rambunctious toddler that requires a lot of attention but I also have a toddler that is still very much attached to nursing.
It’s very important to prepare your older child for this new nursing relationship, especially if your child has weaned or was never breastfed.
Explain that mom makes milk for baby, that nursing is how baby eats, and that nursing also helps baby feel better when he’s sad or scared or feeling bad.
Personally, I have been talking to my older son about how he and baby will both nurse after the baby is born. Be sure to point out that since baby can’t eat other foods like your toddler can, he/she will need to nurse a lot.
I have a feeling that my Boppy pillow and Boba Wrap will be my very best friends. While you’re nursing, a pillow can help bring baby to breast level so you have a hand or two free.
A sling will also free up a hand or two. Free hands allow you to keep nursing or holding your baby while tending to and playing with another child. Don’t worry if you can’t master hands free nursing right away, with some practice, you’ll get it!
Kolt already loves helping me around the house, so I’m sure he won’t mind being my little errand runner. I’m sure I’ll be asking him many times to fetch things for me like a diaper, my phone, the remote, or a bottle of water. I’m sure he will love helping me care for his baby sister.
I also plan on having a nursing area. I will keep a box of filled with books, snacks for Kolt (and me!), water bottles, some toys, and other activity/coloring books to help keep Kolt entertained while Baby Girl is nursing. There are other games you can play to help keep your toddler occupied while nursing.
- Read books and snuggle and talk with your toddler while you’re nursing. If you don’t have a free hand, get your toddler to hold a book and turn the pages while you read.
- Play games – “I Spy” and “Simon Says” are often a big hit with toddlers.
- Play with your food – try counting (and eating) cheerios or raisins with your toddler.
- Some toddlers like to pretend-nurse their dolls or stuffed animals (or trucks!) while mom is nursing baby.
- Look at your toddler’s baby book or baby pictures. Tell stories about when your toddler was a little baby. Tell stories about what your toddler can do now that he/she is bigger.
Take a deep breath and be calm. This is a time of adjustment for everyone in the family. Reduce outside activities, relax your housekeeping standards, and focus on your current priority…adjusting to your new family size.
A special thanks to Marah for this guest post.