MMB: I'm nursing a new baby and have a toddler running around. Help! What do you suggest?
Lindsey: I always recommend that my clients make a "Magic Box" for their toddler. This is a bin of 'new' toys that the child can only play with while Mom is breastfeeding! The toys can come from the dollar store, just be sure to rotate them every few days to keep them interested. Once the nursing session is over, the 'magic box' goes up so the toddler has something to look forward during those times when baby needs mom's attention!
MMB: I feel like I'm nursing constantly and I don't want it to be hard on the family. What can I do to make it a peaceful time -- for me, my baby and my other young children?
Lindsey: Talk to your older children during pregnancy about the baby, the baby's needs, and how they can be great helpers when baby arrives! Get the older child a baby doll and a hygiene kit so they can be caring for 'their baby' while mom cares for their newborn sibling! Also, as early as you can, try to practice and learn how to breastfeed laying down. This can save so much energy and help you get more rest! This position can really improve late night and early morning feeds. I also encourage Moms to make sure to do something for themselves. Whether that's a relaxing bath, a walk around the block sans kiddos, or getting your hands on a Mommy Mailbox!
MMB: My daughter/son is always asking questions about my boobs. Um, how do I answer those?
Lindsey: It's never too early to talk about where baby gets their food! It could be something as simple as, "This is how babies get their food. Isn't it cool that Mom can make milk that is a perfect temperature, amount, and taste for baby brother/sister?"
MMB: Is it okay to nurse uncovered in front of my other children? Nursing covers seem like such a hassle in my own home but I don't want to scar my children.
Lindsey: I think this is definitely up to your comfort level. Some moms will feel that it is a natural thing and there is no need to cover up. Other moms feel more comfortable when they cover with a light scarf/blanket. Your older kids won't be scarred - what's normal to you will become normal to them! Neither is 'right', what's important is what's right for you and your baby. Mama knows best!
MMB: My milk supply seems lower this time than with my first. What are some quick or easy things I can do? I'm splitting my time between multiple kids now.
Lindsey Plan some 'frequency days' in the next week. This is where you watch for and encourage frequent feedings throughout the day. Planning a few in a row tells your body to "Make more! Make more!". You may need to have some easy activities set up for older kids or plan for some extra play dates during this time. Baby wearing and breastfeeding can also be a great way to allow for frequent breastfeeding and attending to older kids. Things like hand expression and 'hands-on pumping' are also great ways to boost supply, which I discuss in detail in my video breastfeeding classes.
Lindsey Shipley, RN, IBCLC is a mom of 2, Registered Nurse, Childbirth Educator and Board Certified Lactation Coach. She owns Lactation Link, a private practice offering breastfeeding support through her video classes, website, and online support forum. She also offers e-consultations before or after baby arrives. Lindsey’s goal is to empower women through education to reach their goals, whatever they may be. Lactation Link creates confident moms.