Nursing and the Older Sibling(s)
When I had my daughter nine years ago (gasp, where did that time go?), I took each nursing session as my opportunity to sit down (usually with a snack or cup of tea), relax, and sometimes drift off to sleep with her. Mostly it was a time to catalog into my memory the sweet milky grin and the so-soft perfect toes and velvety skin.
Fast forward four years. Avery was a bustling 4-year-old and she and my new sweet baby boy Oliver were both vying for my attention. Another four years, and it’s Oliver now who is 4, and my newest baby, Montgomery, is hungry. What is a mama to do? Without sacrificing the special nursing relationship, how does a mama give time to her older children?
I looked to my mother. We were poor, so my mom got creative and became the master of making up free games to keep everyone entertained and happy while she nursed and took a moment for herself. Here are some fun ideas that I learned from the master and a few that I made up on my own….happy nursing!
Breastfeeding on the Bus: Set your toddler up with a piggy bank on the kitchen table deposit some coins in (obviously being careful if your toddler might eat the bus fare). Then give him an unbreakable plate or really anything circular (this serves as the steering wheel) and settle down in the backseat with your baby. My little guy is happy driving us all around town, and especially likes it when I tell him to hurry or turn on his wipers because it is raining. A great imagination game!
Flashlight I Spy: If your little one likes to sit right next to you, this is a great game to play. Have them cuddle up close or even rest their head on your lap. Play “I Spy” as usual, but give them a flashlight to shine when they see the item. Only let them play with the flashlight during this special game, and it will be a fun toy to see each time the baby nurses.
Stage Play: If your child likes to be the star of the show and is battling for your time with the new baby, lay down a bath towel or blanket and tell your child this is the stage. You can give them a ticket to come to their show and let them take it away a time to dance, perform, play “Simon Says,” etc.
There is always snuggle room, or reading a book, and yes, sometimes a cartoon for your older child when you nurse, but try some of these fun games and please share your ideas, too!