Managing your toddler while breastfeeding your newborn. Hey, good luck with that.

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My new friend Vaness asked me to do a guest post on her blog for her “mat leave”. The real post is right here.

But, if you do decide to read these words, on my blog, that’ll be exactly like INCEPTION. Here goes.

When my baby was born, my toddler (aka Mr. Stubborn) had a REALLY hard time dealing with it. Even if we had done lots of different things to prepare him for the new baby’s arrival… (Btw, we tried not to go overboard. Some days, your toddler just doesn’t want to hear AGAIN about that stupid new baby arriving ‘soon’. lolol)

So when I was breastfeeding the new baby, my toddler was: a busy/needy toddler AND also a real jealous big brother.

Here are tricks to help manage a toddler when you are breastfeeding a newborn. I didn’t try everything but hope you can find something useful in there! If they don’t work that great the 1st time you try it, don’t despair and try again!

Before baby is born

  1. Talk with your child about newborns. Tell them that they are pretty freakin’ boring and that they pretty much just nurse/sleep/cry! That they need to be held all the time!
  2. Toddlers (and big humans sometimes too, HA!) are SELFISH creatures: Tell stories about what he was like as a newborn and how you took care of him and nursed him all the time.
  3. Toddlers are selfish (see point 2) but they LOVE to help. Talk about the things that the child will be able to help you with, while you are feeding: bring your bottle of water, the baby’s blanket, his plush toy, the TV remote (!). Tell him that he’ll be able to sing (softly… hahaha) to baby.
  4. If possible, get your child to see really young babies and nursing babies: in person or on youtube! Read books that show newborns and nursing babies.
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During

  1. Make a special ‘breastfeeding toy basket’ that comes out only when breastfeeding. Toys he hasn’t seen before. Easy puzzles, toy cars, stickers, a shape-sorting toy, a couple of new books. They can all be used things, as long as he hasn’t seen them (don’t spend too much $$). And you can rotate the toys in there.***To be honest, I though this was the best tip EVER! I heard a few moms saying it worked well with their kids. Unfortunately, my eldest is so stubborn and he was in his tantrum phase, BAD. Taking away the basket when the feeding was over created just more problems for me! I really hope this will work for you!!
  2. Nurse sitting on the floor in a small safe play area where he can play, but can’t escape.
  3. If you and the baby are comfortable nursing in a sling that’s great! Also your toddler won’t try to brush the baby’s hair or, pinch him in the face(!) while you are trying to nurse.
  4. Read books, snuggle and talk with your toddler.
  5. If he is old enough, play games like “I Spy” and “Simon Says”.
  6. Breastfeed during your toddler’s snack time. He will be busy eating!
  7. Get a fresh toy out of the toy box that he hasn’t seen in a while.
  8. Allow “special” TV time. Hey, I don’t like my kids to watch TV either but sometime you just need to let go!
  9. iPad anyone?
  10. I’ve read that some toddlers like to pretend-nurse their dolls or stuffed animals while mama is nursing baby.
  11. SELFISH, I TOLD YOU: Look at your toddler’s baby book or baby pictures. Or tell stories about when your toddler was a little baby, when he was born. I have done this in other situations but talk to them about them to diverse the situation and abort a tantrums and it has worked well!
  12. If you have the energy, go to toddler groups some mornings. They keep busy and don’t even want to hang out with you!
  13. On a really bad day, don’t be afraid to ask for some H.E.L.P.. A neighbor, your sister-in-law, a friend. The worst that can happen is that people will say no!

Good luck and congrats Vaness!

Marie xxo

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