BirthBreastfeedingParentingPregnancy

How to breastfeed with a newborn and a toddler, and not lose your mind.

While you may not have any idea how you are going to do it, not only can it be done, breastfeeding has the potential to make taking care of two little beings, easier than if you bottle feed.

Toddler demand a lot of your energy, and that is the biggest reason to breastfeed–it is something that is less time consuming over the long haul, in addition to being a healthier way to feed, for both mom and baby.

Did you breastfeed your toddler?

If you had a hard time breastfeeding your first, then you may fear going through the same ordeal, and feel it’s easier to just never try. Luckily, babies are all different, and the experience is different, as well. Plus, you learned a lot the first time around! Hire a lactation consultant to get you through the first learning, and help boost your confidence.

Is your toddler still nursing? Kids enjoy tandem nursing with their siblings. It is a dedicated time for you, when you can sit quietly while caring for your kids.

You will spend the same amount of time feeding, however you feed.

Many parents have been surprised to find their baby slowly suckling a bottle for 45 minutes. Babies feed at the speed they feel most comfortable with. There are fast feeders and slow feeders, snackers and loungers. The only way to know what yours will be, is by getting to know your baby.

All babies wake up and feed at night.

If you breastfeed, there is no bottle cleaning, or bottle making, and no waiting for the bottle to warm, while you are jostling a crying baby. Warming bottles means the baby wakes up more, and then you both may struggle to get back to sleep.

Babies also don’t sleep better when they have formula feeds–they may still wake 10 times a night–and they are more likely to have ear infections and eczema, which can also cause restlessness. While breastfeeding may be challenging in the beginning, by 3 months, studies show that breastfeeding takes much less time than bottle feeding, unless you have domestic help doing it for you.

But, if you have domestic help, why not let them entertain your toddler, while you snuggle your little bundle. Babies grow so fast, and you don’t want to miss a minute!

One mother shared her story. “I seriously could not have handled bottle feeding at night. I fostered orphaned kittens who ate every 1.5 to 2 hours around the clock. I heated formula in the microwave 6 times a night. My husband was like, “This is unreasonable, can’t you just nurse them?” 😀

Babywearing can make breastfeeding much easier.

Learning to breastfeed while babywearing is a game changer, when you have other littles to attend to. It makes things much easier by freeing up your hands. The new baby is not-so-much “the center of attention” even while you are keeping them close, frequently fed, and safe from toddlers who want to “help.”You can do things while nursing, that you could never do while bottle feeding.

With breastfeeding, you actually have one arm and hand free to help a toddler with.

“I did potty training over maternity leave, wiping my toddler’s bum, while nursing my new baby. I feel like the multitasking queen!”

Breastfeeding requires less stuff when you do go somewhere!

Bringing bottles of milk takes preparation before leaving the house and requires a bigger diaper bag. You will be shocked at how much stuff is required with clothes, diapers, and snacks when you take your littles anyplace. Now, imagine adding bottles, sterile water, and formula. It’s sooo much easier to have at least one person’s food literally “on you” ready to eat, at the first peep.

Breastfeeding does not have to be “all or nothing”

You probably feel overwhelmed being responsible for all the feeding, in addition to taking care of your toddler. Many moms have anxiety about this. You always have the option to add bottle feeding, if your partner is able to help, and most moms do receive a pump from their insurance company, for just this purpose.

You will find when breastfeeding is going well, that having to sit down and pump to prepare a bottle, takes so much longer than you’d expect. And if breastfeeding is not going well, you will resent being plugged into the pump, while others snuggle and feed your baby.

If you don’t want to be the only one feeding, and you don’t want to pump, you can always feed bottles of formula. This is your life, and you are the boss. Consider all your variables, and decide what is going to work best in your situation.

No matter how you feed, your toddler will also want to eat, have your attention, and cuddle as well, because they still feel like “the baby,” at least some of the time.

Here are some ways to keep your toddler content while nursing:

  • Have snacks easily accessible, like in a “Snack Basket”
  • Keep a box filled with rotating toys and coloring books
  • Have a playlist of “special songs” on YouTube, so you can sing while nursing
  • Read books together- ask them questions about the pictures, so they do some of the talking
  • Have your partner bond with your toddler by feeding, bathing, or playing outside.

And while they are outside playing with your little buddy, you have a chance to nurse and watch netflix, daydream, or take a nap, without worrying about your exuberant toddler’s needs. Enjoy!

Mother of three, including twins; Lactation Consultant; Partner of Michael;

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