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Whether you’re expecting your second, third or fifth child, plan for a successful breastfeeding journey with these five tips
Your family is growing! When you thought you couldn’t love anyone more than your first baby, you quickly find out that love is not a finite resource; there is an abundance to share. With a new baby comes change for the rest of your family—especially if you have a toddler at home.
Planning your breastfeeding routine with a toddler around can be a serious challenge, but here are some tips to set yourself up for success.
Start before baby comes home.
As you prepare for the arrival of your little one, bring your older kids into the excitement. Get them ready for baby by having them pick out toys and outfits, put their touch on the nursery and get them involved in every step of the process. During this time, explain to them that being a big brother or sister is special and that you’ll need their help and understanding once you bring the new baby home. Talk to them about why making time for mommy to breastfeed is important and answer any questions they may have about the arrival of your new baby.
Consistency is key.
We know this is a tall order when you’re trying to balance a newborn, a toddler and everyday life. But trying to maintain a semblance of a schedule will pay off big time. While breastfeeding is all about cue reading for baby and not watching the clock—try explaining that to a toddler. Your family will thrive, and you’ll feel more organized and in control once you’ve established your daily routines and breastfeeding plan. Figure out what works best for you, and work to get your baby and your other bundles of joy on sleeping, eating and play schedules.
Rally mommy’s little helpers.
One easy way to make breastfeeding with a toddler a little easier—let them help! When it is time to breastfeed, have your older children be in charge of part of the process, from getting the burp cloth or blankie to running to grab your water for your nursing session. They can sit next to you and be the baby’s foot-tapper when the baby gets sleepy at the breast.
Explore your older children’s interests together.
After you bring your new baby home, your older children may feel a little jealous that they have to share their time with mom. Change takes time. Remind them that they are loved and adored by scheduling special one-on-one time with each child. With activities like coloring, reading and cooking together, you’ll be able to explore their interests while having some quality time together.
Set yourself up for success.
Find little ways to make your life easier. Pick up a few activities to keep your big kid entertained while you’re nursing or taking care of the baby, like no-mess markers, water-reveal books, stickers, figurines, Play-Doh or a special snack. These also come in handy when you need to redirect (or bribe) for better behavior. Rely on online shopping, prep for mornings the night before, order takeout or grocery delivery, enlist and accept help, and let things go. Do what you need to do. And repeat this mantra: screen time is guilt-free when you’re in survival mode.
At the end of the day, your kids want and need to be close to you, so bringing them into the experience of nursing will make it easier on all parties. Find the best routine for you and your family, and get excited for this new chapter in all of your lives. If you need help finding the best insurance-covered breast pump for you and your family’s lifestyle, we can help!