If you decide to have more than one child you may find yourself at home with a toddler or preschooler when baby #2 arrives. You may be wondering how you are going to manage to breastfeed and care for a newborn with a busy youngster in the house.
Here are some tips from experienced mothers and parents to consider:
- Create a safe room in which you can nurse the baby and the toddler can play in sight without escaping. This may mean that your main “breastfeeding station” is in a different place than it was with baby #1. You may also find yourself nursing on the floor more often than on a couch or chair.
- Stock your breastfeeding station with everything you will need for
Yourself: (water, snacks, phone, chargers, tv remote, etc)
Newborn: (diapers, wipes, burp cloths, receiving blankets, outfits)
Toddler: (drink in unspillable cup, snacks, wet wipes or cloths for sticky fingers, books, puzzles, puppets, toys that you can use with your toddler while nursing, a baby doll for your toddler to nurse! )
- Use a sling or baby carrier. This allows you to keep your new baby close to you while you wander around with your toddler. You can even learn how to nurse in a carrier! A La Leche League meeting is a great place to learn how to do this.
- Try to make sure your toddler has everything she might need before you sit down to nurse your baby. Drink, snack, potty, favourite toy. This won’t keep you from being interrupted but it may decrease the interruptions.
- Find some childrens’ audio books or podcasts online or at the library. These are particularly enjoyable if you can borrow (or own) a physical copy of the same book.
- Find some children’s music that you would also enjoy listening to. If you search, you can find some kid-friendly music recorded by top artists.
- Have a tv show ready for your toddler for that part of the day when you really need it.
- Be careful to not “blame the baby” when your toddler has to wait for something. Instead of saying “We can’t go to the park because I have to feed the baby” you can say, “Yes, we can go to the park a little later but right now let’s sit down and read this book while I nurse the baby”.
- Take the opportunity when your baby is quiet and content (perhaps sleeping) to do something with your toddler. If your youngster is old enough you can even make a little joke of “asking the baby to wait” while you give your older one some special time.
- Remember that in many cultures babies are carried everywhere and breastfed as their mothers go about day-to-day life. They nurse very frequently but for short periods and they thrive. Your new baby is adaptable and will learn to nurse in a noisier house and with more interruptions than your first did. As long as he is peeing and pooping adequately and gaining weight appropriately, how and where you breastfeed doesn’t matter.
- Make time during your pregnancy to discuss the breastfeeding challenges you faced with your first, if you had any. Talking with a La Leche League Leader or IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant) can help you get off to a smoother start this time.
- Attend a La Leche League meeting (in-person or online). They are a wonderful place to meet and chat with other parents who are breastfeeding and balancing life just as you are. Find a local Group near you or Leader you can talk to by phone or email at LLLC.ca website.
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