23 answers

Explaining Breastfeeding to My 4 Year Old Son

Hi Ladies...You are always full of great suggestions, so I was hoping for a little advice or some suggestions. I'm due any day now with my twin girls. I plan to breastfeed them, just like I did my son. Although, while I've told my son they'll have Mommy's special milk (as opposed to his milk that comes from the gallon jug in the frig), I haven't told him any more than that. Is this something I should try to prepare him for or just let him witness? I mean, with twins I'll be breastfeeding A LOT, especially during the first few months, etc. Just looking for any suggestions on how you prepared your older children for this. We've discussed a lot of other aspects of having new babies in the house, etc...just not this one. Thanks in advance!!

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I did not explain to my son when his brother was born. He was 3 at the time. I just did it. When he did ask, I told him that is how babies eat. I then told he had eaten the same way when he was a baby and that was explanation enough.

He did ask once if he could have some, I had to tell him he was a big boy and big boys drink out of a cup.

I didn't dscuss it in advance just did it. with my second the first asked question and I explained ( and had to prove) that milk was coming out and the baby was eating. When I had the thrid my son very proudly explaine dit to his sister and then lamented when he found out his boobies would mak emilk for his babies when he's bigger. Kids are pretty accepting of things like this. Mine just assume all babies eat that way/

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If you take the lead in being very calm and "this is very natural" attitude, he will follow. He is likely to be VERY interested at first (just as he will be about everything to do with the babies at first). He may want to climb right up on your lap and get a good look at what is going on. If you are comfortable with that, let him. The fascination will soon fade. If you are not comfortable with that, explain that this is mommy and babies private time. (my personal advise - with twins, you probably should become very comfortable with others seeing you nurse, as much of your days will initially be spent that way).

You may also explain that all animals feed their babies this way. Show him pictures of cows, dogs, etc.. giving "mommy milk" to thier babies. DO NOT be alarmed if he nurses his dolls. He IS NOT ruined for life - just mimic his mother. He will figure out all the differences between boys and girls in time.

As you will be nursing alot, start thinking of lots of special activities that he can do on his own. "big boy" activities, so that you can set him up with something to occupy him when you sit down to nurse. You don't want TV to be your only option, so perhaps a leap pad educational gamees, play doh, construction paper to cut and paste (glue stick), water color paints.

CONGRATULATIONS ON YOUR DECISION TO BREASTFEED TWINS!!!

I did not explain to my son when his brother was born. He was 3 at the time. I just did it. When he did ask, I told him that is how babies eat. I then told he had eaten the same way when he was a baby and that was explanation enough.

He did ask once if he could have some, I had to tell him he was a big boy and big boys drink out of a cup.

Congratulations on your twins!! But more importantly I want to commend the effort in trying to breastfeed them. My friend breastfeed her twin girls solely for 9 months. Congratulations again and let us know how it goes!!

I told my 3 year old that God made mommy's milk special. Letting her know that that was how I fed her helped also.

Hi C.,
I had a 3 yr. old son when I had my daughter. I had breastfed both of them. I sat my son down and explained that when mommy's have babies in their belly's, we make milk in our boobies to feed the babies. He was very interested. At first he had a look of disgust on his face, but I was very open with him and explained that I fed him the same way when he was a baby and thats how little babies eat. When she came along, he wanted to watch me feed her (he was amazed). I had to pump my milk to store up for when I went to work. He watched how that worked and that was cool because he could actually see that there really was milk in there. He had asked what it tasted like, so I poured a little in a cup and let him taste it.. he thought it was nasty b/c it was sweet and warm. But after that he thought that all girls had milk in their boobies, I had to explain that part again. I also explained that was why women have boobies and men don't.. He actully tried to use my breast pump himself which was hillarious! After our talks, it didn't bother him one bit, he knew how mommy fed his baby sister and that was normal to him. He was even protective as if someone came to our house while I was feeding, he would say "mommy someones here, cover up"--(my daughter hated her head covered while feeding). Hope this helps! Good luck!

just tell him. they are less squeamish about things than we think. Dr Sears has some great kids books about babies being born, and all depict Breastfeeding (in drawings) they are Baby on the Way,and What Baby Needs (also a potty and nutrition one) you might also check out some of the Breastfeeding books for kids on mothering.com and attachmentscatalog.com. both have great ideas for books that talk about and depict breastfeeding. (i look for the titles in the library!)

do you have any photos of him nursing? maybe a friend who is nursing who would let him watch? my neighbor brought her son over when he was about 7 to let him see how it worked, and i didn't care at all. maybe you could go to a la leche league for a meeting. there is always someone nursing there for him to see! depending on when you weaned him he may remember it. my five year old has very strong memories of nursing, and my three year old has some too.

yay breastfeeding!

My son was 3 1/2 when my daughter was born. I never even got around to explaining breast feeding before she was born and when we got her home, I fed her without any explanation. He sort of looked at first and I told him this was I how fed him when he was a baby. He really doesn't care and hardly seems to notice. If he and Dad are being rowdy, I take her into another room (she's 7 months old now) so she can focus; otherwise she gets caught up in the action. But I also frequently shower with my son, so he's seen my naked body many times and it's all totally normal to him. He sees us feed many times a day and couldn't care less. And he likes to cuddle up next to us for the first feeding in the morning. It's nice to sit with the two of them quietly on the couch in the morning until we all wake up a little bit more.

Good luck on feeding the twins!

Hi C.,

My son is four years older than my daughter and I breastfeed them both as well. He was so curious about everything to do with the new baby, just like your son.

When he asked this question, I explained to him that God has provided the perfect food for each of His creation. And that just like puppies and kittens (that he had seen nurse) that God had provided for babies as well.

I explained that breastmilk was perfect for their little belly and that it had lots of good things in it that helped babies grow big and strong, just like he had. :-)

But it was only for babies and that God prepared babies for big boy food when babies start to get teeth. Through our discussion, my son realized that I was going to be doing for his new sister just what I had done for him.

As curious as my son was about the new baby, he also needed a lot of assurance that his place was secure in our hearts.

We tried to include him as much as possible in the daily routine of taking care of his new baby sister. We also made sure that we set aside special time just the two of us, so that it wasn't such a hard adjustment for the little guy, who until his sister showed up - had our full undivided attention.

During this time, one of my dear friends gave us a baby shower and along with the new gifts for the baby, several of the ladies provided small gifts for my son. I had never heard of this before, but since then have included a small separate gift for new siblings when I've given a baby gift.

The new brother or sister think this is so cool! Everyone is so excited about the new baby that new brothers and sisters sometimes get shoved into the shadows.

God bless you and your family. Twins and a four year old. Wow, that's a blessing in itself.

Hope that helped.

Congratulations! When my now 4 year old girl twins were born, my oldest girl was 4 and my boy was 2 1/2. I didn't make a big deal about breastfeeding, just answered their questions in a matter of fact way. After some curiosity it became old news.
By the way did you get a twin nursing pillow? I don't think I could have survived without mine. I actually bought two different kinds and the one that worked the best was the Basic comfort pillow. It's flat on top, the other was slanted and the babies rolled toward me so much it was hard to position them, and it had a strap that went around my back that buckled. That really helped so if I moved around the pillow didn't scoot away. The other pillow would do that and the babies would slide off of it and we would have to repostion everyone and no one was happy! Anyway, that was some unsolicited advice, just wanted to share my experience :) Also take any offered help and it does get easier!
Good luck and blessings to your family!
B.

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