29 answers

Mother of Newborn & 18 Month Old and Breastfeeding

My sister-in-law just had a baby last week and she also has another little one who is 18 months. She is breastfeeding the new baby and he is feeding every 2 hours which takes about 40 minutes. Her 18 month old is having a hard time adjusting to her feeding the baby. He wants to be held and wants her attention. She feels guilty not being there for him and then puts the baby down and then feels guilty because the baby then starts crying cause he's hungry. I also have 2 close in age (16 months)but didn't have this issue because I bottled fed and was able to have my oldest take part in the feedings. Do any of you have any advise on how she would handle this?

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Featured Answers

Good advice here already! Why not get the boy a baby doll and let him pretend with it. My son was 2 1/2 when my daughter was born and we got him a baby doll. (My husband did not mind in fact, he showed my son how to put the little baby doll diaper on and what to do for a diaper change - it was cute!) My son didn't play with the doll all that much but if he was acting as though he needed attention while I was feeding my daughter, I would remind him his baby doll might be hungry too and maybe he should feed the baby, and eh would come sit in his little rocking chair next to me and viola! Happiness! I would also let him "read" to her & I while I fed her, or sing to her - he loved being a part of it all.

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J.,
I recently had this problem. I have two girls who are just 18 months apart and I breastfed. I always fed sitting in my bed so my oldest could sit up there with me. I also always got prepared before I started feeding. I would turn on a movie for her and get a stack of books or puzzles for us to work on while I was breastfeeding. Also, my daughter was very interested in "helping" so she would "help" me burp her baby sister and wipe her mouth. It made it easier when she thought she was helping Mommy, it made her more a part of it. I also would put my free arm around her if she was just watching her movie so that she could still snuggle close too. Oh, this might not work because I have a daughter and I don't know how they would feel about this since they have a boy but we got my daugther a baby doll and sometimes we would get that and she would "feed" her baby too. Tell her to hang in there...it will get better and easier!

2 moms found this helpful

I would nurse my baby and snuggle my other child very close and read to him while the baby nursed. It worked wonders!

2 moms found this helpful

Hi J.,

How nice of you to be concerned !

Please tell your sister-in-law to get in touch with La Leche League. She can attend local meetings if there is a group nearby or look at their website or talk to a leader by phone. Their phone number is 1-800-LALECHE. If she calls she will receive phone numbers of leaders in her area. Beleive me, MANY breastfeeding moms have had this issue!

Since her baby is still very small, once they get into the swing of nursing she will be able to hold the baby while nursing and put her other arm around big brother. (at least sometimes!) She can talk or sing with him while nursing, maybe even read a book if he holds it. Maybe have a toy he can play with only during nursing times?

Eventually baby will not nurse so frequently or so long at a time.

He can still participate in feedings. If Mom uses a burp cloth for the baby, big brother can hand it to her. Many nursing moms get thirsty (and it is important to keep hydrated to keep up milk supply) so sometimes they have a glass of water nearby to sip on while they nurse. He can hand it to her. (Yeah, maybe she could have it in a sippy cup if spills are a possibility--I bet big brother would get a kick out of that!) If baby kicks off booties, big brother can pick them up. He can tuck a blanket around baby's legs if baby might be cold.

This is a good opportunity for "daddy time" with the older one. Then when mom can lay baby down, she can play/cuddle with him. Let the housework slide a little, the kids are more important! and if anyone says "What can I do to help?" by all means TELL THEM! if that means cooking meals, cleaning, taking big brother to the park, watching baby so mom can take big brother on an outing or walk, whatever!

did she nurse the older one? She can remind him that when he was the baby she fed him when he needed it so it's the same with the new baby. I know, he won't necessarily understand that but it can't hurt to try.

This is a big adjustment period for any family regardless of how they feed their baby. It may take a little time but they will manage it.

K. Z.

2 moms found this helpful

I had a 15 month old son & a three year old daughter when our third child was born. The 15 month old still needed a lot of my attention when his brother came along. While I was nursing Isaiah, Gabe would climb up in the chair & set next to me. I would read to him while nursing the baby, or sing to him, or just set & talk to him. Sometimes he would get a baby doll & a bottle & feed his doll while I fed his brother. Occasionally, he would nurse his doll.

There have been times when all my kids needed attention when I was nursing a new baby, but I always explained that they were the big brother/sister now & the new baby needed mommy at that time. Yes, there were squabbles & tears occasionally, but eventually they learned that baby can't feed herself.

My kids were all very interested in the breast feeding process. They wanted to be right on top of me watching what was happening. Helping out. Getting the burp cloth. Bringing baby a blanket. Singing to baby.

She could put together a bag or box of stuff to keep next to the chair she nurses in full of things to occupy big brother while she's busy. Only get the stuff out when baby is eating.

1 mom found this helpful

J.,

My kids are 21 months apart and I had the same issues. A sling is a lifesaver. If $$ are a problem, she can make her own out of a piece of cloth with no sewing. My favorite babywearing site is mamatoto.org It has instructions and VIDEOS about babywearing. She can nurse the infant in the sling while playing with the older tot. It does take some practice to get the infant in and out of the sling comfortably and to get used to nursing hands-free, but it is worth it. She can practice while the baby is happy, rather than while s/he is hungry and impatient.

The other thing I would suggest is to attend a La Leche League meeting. There is no membership requirement. There will be plenty of supportive advice there.

Best of luck to your sister in law.
Laura

1 mom found this helpful

Good advice here already! Why not get the boy a baby doll and let him pretend with it. My son was 2 1/2 when my daughter was born and we got him a baby doll. (My husband did not mind in fact, he showed my son how to put the little baby doll diaper on and what to do for a diaper change - it was cute!) My son didn't play with the doll all that much but if he was acting as though he needed attention while I was feeding my daughter, I would remind him his baby doll might be hungry too and maybe he should feed the baby, and eh would come sit in his little rocking chair next to me and viola! Happiness! I would also let him "read" to her & I while I fed her, or sing to her - he loved being a part of it all.

1 mom found this helpful

I have two girls, 3 and 5, and a little boy, 2 and 1/2 months old, and am also currently breastfeeding (and breastfed both the girls). I always sit on the couch while I am breastfeeding, so the girls can come up and sit next to me/cuddle while I am feeding the baby if they want to. The younger one often does. Sometimes she even brings her books up on the couch so I can read to her while I am feeding the baby. This has helped her adjust to the new baby and feel that she is not only still getting mommy's attention, but is also helping with the baby's feedings. In the early weeks when the baby was feeding frequently, if my husband was available, I often gave the baby to him to burp and hold after he finished feeding so I could then spend some one-on-one time with the girls.

1 mom found this helpful

Maybe she should try reading to him while she's feeding the baby. Find a comfy place to sit together and let him pick the book. If reading is not for them grab some crayons and coloring book and color together. Also a change communication about feeding the baby would help. Instead of sayng "I have to feed the baby now" why not try saying "Please sit with me while I feed the baby and we can read her/him a story, draw pictures, sing a song, etc." He just needs to feel a part of the whole process to still feel secure with the new changes in his life.

1 mom found this helpful

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