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Thread: How do I nurse a newborn while caring for a toddler?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default How do I nurse a newborn while caring for a toddler?

    Hi all- Just trying to prepare ahead of time and not sure where to post this so here it goes: I am due in 6 weeks. My son is 2.5 years old. I BF him for 17 months. My husband was home for the first 8 months and so I had tons of help but still it was difficult! I can't imagine being sleep deprived, nursing, and caring for my son at the same time. My husband will be working 50 hours per week so I am in this mostly on my own except when my husband is home. He is a great help but baby needs me for the most part while BFing.

    Any suggestions as to how to do this? How do I show love for my son while constanlty holding my newborn? My son is the love of my live and we spend every waking minute together.

    Any advice on how others did this?

  2. #2

    Default Re: How do I nurse a newborn while caring for a toddler?

    Will there be anyone available (family, friends?) to help in the first couple of weeks while you adjust? Have you considered a post-partum doula? Will DH have any maternity leave?

    A few things you can do now are make/freeze meals (including toddler portions) so that you can have meals ready quickly (and with minimal effort).
    Have a "nursing basket" of toys/books which only come out when you're nursing (especially useful if your child is very clingy).
    DON'T FEEL GUILTY! Keep in mind everyone is adjusting and your LO will adjust with time.
    Listen to your toddler and try and niche out a little time to "catch up" when possible.
    Include him in babycare, talk about nursing and his job as a sibling (boy do tots love having "work to do").
    Cherish these last few weeks as a duo, there are challenges in caring for 2 young ones but the rewards are just as great!!!

    My DD#2 was 3 when DS came along. She isn't the nurturing/mothering type that my elder DD#1 is but she came around and now loves her new role.
    Punk-rock luvin mate to DH and mama to DD1 (born '03) , DD2 (born '08) and nursling DS (born '11) who survived infant botulism.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Apr 2010

    Default Re: How do I nurse a newborn while caring for a toddler?

    Awesome and thanks so much! So helpful. Going to start cooking now and great idea for a nursing basket. Going to get started on that as well. DH will be home for one week. I have a doula for birth and I think she comes post partum one or two times. Some family around when they can be. Thanks so much for the advice!
    , While at work I . Happily (for part of the night)
    Made it to ONE!!!

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2010

    Default Re: How do I nurse a newborn while caring for a toddler?

    I agree with PP about toddlers having "work to do" or little jobs - it really helps. DS was very clingly when DD was born (he was 2.5 yrs old) but as long as he could "help" he was OK. In fact, he would "help" nurse the baby - basically just me letting him put his hand on my breast while baby was nursing. It was a bit of a fiasco since newborns require so much support to nurse in the early days but it was better than him acting out for attention! I do a lot of pumping now (long story) and DS still "helps" - he will hold the horns in place or I will let him push the on or off button on my pump. Ha!
    Blessed with DS - born 9/2/09 - nursed/pumped for 12 months
    Blessed with DD - born 3/27/12 my dreamfeeder

    903 ounces donated.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Apr 2008
    Northern CA

    Default Re: How do I nurse a newborn while caring for a toddler?

    I was really worried how I would be able to care for DD when she was born 2 years ago as well. Looking back at that time now, it really was much easier than I anticipated. Our situations are very similar. My DS was 2.5 years old when she was born. He was weaned at 17months, and my DH works 50 to 70hr weeks. My best advice is to get a sling or similar type carrier so you can chase after your older child while caring for your newborn. The sling also freed up my hands so I could help DS and give him a hug while still holding DD close. As much as I hate nursing a newborn on a schedule, I ended up developing a loose one so I could anticipate ways to keep DS occupied. We read books while nursing or watched tv. I got very used to NIP at parks and playgrounds. I also would nurse sitting on the ground while DS played in the tub or sandbox. I second the advice for developing easy meals. Even now, we routinely cook meals for the entire week when DH is home. That way all I have to do is heat something up.
    During the weeks before she was born we read a lot of books about babies and becoming a big brother. They really seemed to help DS adjust.

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