When I was pregnant with my second baby, I was really worried how my very-attached toddler would handle things–especially breastfeeding. Although she’d been weaned for a long time (over a year), I was concerned she’d want to nurse, she’d be jealous and then things would disintegrate into tantrums and misery for all three of us. But, when I finally had baby #2, things seemed to work themselves out, when I implemented these (super-easy) ideas. This is How I Turned Breastfeeding My Infant into Bonding with My Toddler, and you can do it, too.
How I Turned Breastfeeding My Infant into Bonding with My Toddler
- I encourage my toddler to join us. If I’m about to breastfeed, I always ask my toddler if she wants to come sit with us. Or if she wants to read a book while the baby eats. I don’t ever want her to think that I “snuck-off” to play with the baby and didn’t give her a chance to participate.
- If my toddler wants to join-in, she joins-in, but I never force it. There’s no reason my toddler can’t lay her head down on the same pillow that the baby’s head is laying on. There’s no reason both my girls can’t sit in my lap. I never make it a requirement, though. If my toddler wants to, she can run screaming through the playroom with a box on her head while I breastfeed. Which leads me to my third breastfeeding mantra:
- I never tell my toddler “no” when breastfeeding. If my toddler wants to “brush” my hair while I’m breastfeeding (meaning, she wants to tangle it beyond redemption), I let her. If she wants to climb on my shoulders and sit perched behind me as I nurse–as long as she’s not going to get hurt, I let her. That means that even if she wants to take to the nipple, I just go with it.
- Snacks are provided. If the baby is eating, I make provision for the toddler to eat, too. We keep those applesauce pouches right beside me on the couch where I nurse so that, should my toddler decide she wants a bite, we’ve got something she can put in my free hand and I can open easily.
- Cuddle both babies. A lot of the time, I end-up with the baby in my lap and my toddler curled next to me, her head on my shoulder. Nursing the one baby has become almost a “calm time” for my toddler, because she’ll just sit there and watch, talk to me and play with her little sister’s hands, feet and ears. If I can, I put my arm around her, too, giving them both the mommy-attention they need.
So, see. Good ideas…now if I can just talk the hubby into another baby, I’ll have EVERYTHING figured out…LOL!