Involving Your Older Children in Your Breastfeeding Journey
Normalizing Breastfeeding Starts in the Home
As a mother, we feel that my greatest gift to the world will be how we raise our children. We want them to be conscientious and caring, with strangers as he would be with friends. No matter our children’s assigned genders, the things we normalize in our homes, will be the way they see the world when they’re older. In this way, we can normalize breastfeeding once and for all.
For moms who have multiples, there comes a time when you must make a decision about nursing your second (or third, or fourth, etc.) in front of your older children. It might be easier to cover up while you feed your baby, or to go into your baby’s room, or to occupy your other children so that you can have a bit of privacy while you nurse or pump. You avoid conversations about body parts, questions that might be challenging to answer. But there is also a missed opportunity to normalize breastfeeding for each of them.
How Can We Involve Older Children in Breastfeeding the Baby?
Talk to Your Children Before You Bring Baby Home
If you explain how breastfeeding a baby works before they see it for the first time, you help to normalize breastfeeding for them. They won’t be shocked, or ask questions that you aren’t prepared for because you already went through it together. You can take this time to share stories of how you breastfed them when they were little, what it was like, and how happy you are that they are there to help you this time.
Give Your Children a Task When You Breastfeed
Even a small task like fetching a burp cloth, or reading a book to the baby while they nurse is a great way to involve your children in the process of breastfeeding your baby. It allows them to feel like they are a part of this journey, that they have a vital role to play in the family, and it enables them to be close to you. With every new baby you bring into the house, your other children go through a transition, a change to their identity and the world as they know it. There are times when you are caring for the baby and they cannot be close to you. In this way, you can all snuggle up together on the couch or bed and share in the comfort and warmth of mom.
Pro Tip: Allow Them to Feed the Baby
If you have a child that is really curious or really would like to be involved in your breastfeeding journey there are a few ways in which you can take the advice that we’ve given one step further. Naming your milk, or even your breasts is one creative way to engage your older child in breastfeeding your new baby. It gives them a sense of involvement, ignites their creativity, and excites their curiosity.
Another such way to involve your older children and help normalize breastfeeding for everyone in the home, is to have your child go so far as to help baby latch.
Are you a pumping mama?You can read our tips for pumping with other kids at home in this blog post here.