After years of secondary infertility, I was ecstatic to be pregnant with my second child, and my daughter, Eva, was immediately over the moon in love with her baby brother. That didn’t stop me from worrying incessantly about her feeling left out when he came home from the hospital though. Fortunately, she fell right into her big sister role, and my worries were mostly unfounded.
However, Jackson was very needy, and I continued looking for ways to include her during the many endless nursing sessions. If you are also on a desperate search for ways to include your older child, do not worry. Many of these things will come naturally to you out of necessity, but I may have a few ideas you might not think of.
Before the feeding, big sister or brother may like to hold the baby or entertain them on a play mat while you get prepared. Take advantage of it! While the baby is nursing, they can get you snacks or water, fetch burp cloths and other supplies, or read the baby a book. Eva loved to cuddle up next to me and stroke Jackson’s head or arm and talk to him. Sometimes I would ask her to get us some coloring books or cuddle up with me to watch her favorite t.v. show. One of the great things about breastfeeding is that, once baby latches on, you have a free hand for things like crayons or a remote. If your child likes playing beauty shop (or something similar), you might let them play with your hair, put makeup on you, or give you a pedicure. Disclaimer: hair and layers of skin may be lost in the beautification process. Since the closest I have been to a salon in years is the open-the-dishwasher-sauna-facial, I find these beauty makeovers quite relaxing despite the hair and skin loss. After the nursing session, ask your older child to assist you with changing baby’s diaper, burp the baby for you, or sing baby a bedtime song. Even toddlers are capable of handing you wipes or singing a song to the baby.
Of course, many of these things will depend on the age and maturity of your child. So, use your best judgment! In either case, just remember to include them as often as possible. Most likely, they’ll be begging to be un-included before you know it. In our case, after approximately three months.
Hi readers! I’m Natalie, writer and mom of two. I am so excited to join The 16 Minute Club’s new blog, and I look forward to sharing my experiences with you. My pudgy breastfed baby, Jackson, is 8 months old and looks like he subsists on whipping cream. You would never know he was once “failing to thrive.” Breastfeeding has certainly had its ups and downs. Like most moms, I spend my days wavering between maternal bliss and horrification at some of the realities of motherhood. After my first child, I was sure I had things figured out. I just knew breastfeeding would be easier with my second. But the truth is that every baby is different, and they each present new challenges. Sometimes they even present the same challenges, but require different solutions.