How to manage older siblings while breastfeeding
It’s your second baby and you’re all excited to breastfeed the way you want it to be this time round. You think you’ve got all the techniques down to a T and you’ve diligently taken your supplements and fluids and soups in a bid to boost breast milk production.
You pick up your baby to nurse and suddenly, in comes your toddler, throwing a tantrum or insisting that you carry him instead. All your grand plans seem to have gone out of the window with a crying baby and a whiny toddler at hand. But rest assured, there are ways to make breastfeeding manageable, and even an enjoyable journey, for everyone in the family.
Breastfeeding not only provides babies with the necessary nutrients, it’s also beneficial for mums!
Talk to your older child(ren) about breastfeeding the baby
If you can, speak to your older children about breastfeeding the baby before the baby is born. Let them ask whatever questions they might have and answer in a way that they can relate to and would understand.
After the baby is born, and before feeding time, speak to them again to remind them what you have discussed earlier. If they have any more questions, they can still ask them. Keeping them informed and involved would help them to cope with the anxieties and insecurities of having a new baby sibling around.
Involve your kids during nursing time
We all feel slightly more forgetful after childbirth, and sometimes we forget that extra cushion or pillow to prop ourselves up or that little hanky to wipe the dribbles off baby’s face. In come our little superheroes to save the day.
Instead of disrupting the feed, simply get the older siblings to help bring you the items. Remember to lavish them with praise, to thank them for their effort in helping to make nursing the baby go smoothly. Children love to be involved and praised, and you’ve just done both, so you’re off to a good start.
Make those breastfeeding sessions a special time for the family
When I used to nurse my baby, I’d read to my older child or sing songs with her. She’d get to pick out the book before the feed and sit right next to me during the feed. Sometimes, she would want to sing and dance to a song and we’d have a good chuckle.
If that’s too much activity for your nursing infant (not all babies are the same), you can try putting on a special cartoon or movie to watch together with the older siblings, or allowing them access to some toys which are only available to them during nursing time. You would be surprised that the older siblings might look forward to breastfeeding time!
A simple box containing some special toys reserved for nursing time can come in handy to keep older kids entertained when you need to breastfeed your newborn.
You can always ask for help from those you trust
“It takes a village to raise a child.” We are not supermoms all the time. Sometimes, even supermoms need a breather and some help. You canask for help when you need it. It is understandable that not everyone provides good or reliable help, so ask from those whom you trust your children to be with. They could take the older siblings for a walk in the park or keep them entertained while you nurse. That’s when dads could chip in too!
Dads are often neglected when it comes to the topic of breastfeeding. However, they can play a crucial role!
Mothering is a rewarding but challenging task. Not every day will be a good day and there might be more bad days than good ones at the start. But knowing what to do and having someone to help out and share the load with would make it less overwhelming. Continue to hang on in there as you supply your little one with liquid gold!
Do you have any more ideas on how to manage older siblings during breastfeeding? Tell us in the comments below!