Breastfeeding your baby around your toddler.
How to make it the new normal at your house.
Prior to giving birth it’s a good idea to casually introduce your toddler to the concept of how mothers feed their babies. A good way to begin the conversation by saying “do you know what the baby will drink?” Most toddlers may say “bottles” or “milk.” They usually have an idea that babies drink milk from a bottle. You can lead the conversation by saying “that’s right babies do drink milk from a bottle but they also get their milk from their mommy/mum/mother/mama.”
If you don’t want to use the term breast you can say bumps, mommy’s chest, etc. This is your personal choice and what you’re comfortable with your child yelling out in public (trust me this will happen).
There are several story books that you can read with your children to help them understand breastfeeding. Most of these books can be purchased online or through a retail bookstore. The most helpful advice is to not make a big deal and let them know that it’s very natural and normal to feed a baby this way. The first few times you nurse in front of your toddler they may be curious but then it becomes an afterthought and you may even find them encouraging you to pick the baby up to nurse when the baby starts to cry.
Tips to help them adjust:
- Make them feel important.
- Give your toddler something special to do occasionally when you breastfeed. I.e. a special toy they can play with, screen time (if you’re cool with it), or a puzzle.
- Let your toddler snuggle next to you when you’re breastfeeding.
- Ask them to hand you the boppy, a burp cloth, a bottle of water, etc.
- Offer a lot of praise and recognition when they behave while you’re breastfeeding.