Early Childhood: Breastfeeding Tips

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Older Sibling
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How do you cope with the demands of the older sibling?

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Breastfeeding with an older sibling around can be tricky.  I will share my experiences and tips with you on this page, and would love it if you could share too. Also read what others have said!

Very lively older sibling

I have found breastfeeding with my 3.5 year-old daughter around very difficult because she is extremely lively. She does not sit in front of the TV for long, and usually needs lots of activities to keep her occupied. Before my second baby came along, her older sibling would attend nursery every morning and I would take her along to classes or playdates every afternoon. She got better at staying at home, but I found that she was a much happier child if we were going out and doing something, and preferably walking there.


When my second baby arrived, I hadn't prepared myself for the fact that I would need to be sitting down to breastfeed A LOT.  In the first couple of weeks, my mum came to help out for the first few days, and my husband was on paternity leave, so he gave me lots of support and took our older child out as much as possible so that I could establish breastfeeding.  She is a real Daddy's girl so luckily loved it. When my husband went back to work, we booked my older daughter into nursery as much as possible. Luckily she really enjoys it there, and didn't seem to mind or notice the longer hours.  When she came home at around 4pm in those weeks, I would try to give her as much attention as possible.  Thankfully my baby would fall asleep in the pram on the journey, so I often did a craft or baking with my older child when she arrived home. 

Suggested activities for A 3.5 year-old girl

Unfortunately for me, when my older daughter became bored during breastfeeding, she would basically climb all over me. To try to avoid this situation, just before a feed I would grab a pile of books, stickers and crafts. They had to be different every time or she would lose interest. We would also sing through nursery rhymes or play 'I spy'. She really got into Disney Films around this time, so I spent a fortune on those.  We worked our way through Frozen, Beauty and the Beast, Tinkerbell, Sleeping Beauty, Snow White, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid. On top of all of that, I got into the bad habit of buying her a magazine from the local newsagents, just to occupy her for a little bit. Nursery Rhymes on youtube on my phone were also successful. All of these things worked some of the time.

Get an Ipad!

One day though, I had just had enough.  My older child was playing up and my baby was sucking on very sore nipples.  I was feeling very irritable and worried that I was being a bad mother to my older child. I therefore told my husband that we desperately needed an iPad. We ordered one and I asked my friends for suggestions for apps.  It totally transformed our lives, and I would recommend an iPad to anyone in this situation. Not only is it good for feeds, but for when I need to do housework and want to stop my my baby from being bothered by her older sibling.

And a gro clock!

The other miraculous invention I would strongly recommend is the Gro-Clock.  Since my baby has arrived, my older child has taken to joining us in bed in the middle of the night. My husband has had to move to the sofa bed in the lounge so that she can join him there without waking up the baby, and so that she doesn't get re-awoken if the baby demands a feed. In order for us to try to get her to sleep in her own bed, we have a sticker chart in place so that if she stays in her own bed until the sun comes up on her Gro-clock, she will get a sticker. If she gets three stickers, we go and buy some Frozen stickers for her Frozen sticker book. This has worked for several nights so far.

Do you have any tips for occupying the older sibling while breastfeeding??

Please share here!

What Other Visitors Have Said

Click below to see contributions from other visitors to this page...

Play dates and play cafes Not rated yet
I found the only way to cope with my older son was to have lots of play dates with friends I felt comfortable breastfeeding in front of in order to keep …

Special Box only to be used during Breastfeeding Not rated yet
We had a special box for my older daughter when I was breastfeeding my son. I would put different things in it every few days. Part of the fun for her …

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