Breastfeeding is such a beautiful and natural thing, yet so many times, for many mums it’s a scary, painful (ouch!), frustrating and totally confusing time. Add another child into the mix and we can go a little cray cray!
Something I have heard from other mums, and noticed myself, is that the breastfeeding advice you get is very often conflicting, confusing, or even plain weird! Note: I will not be travelling to the New Mexico desert to eat rare cactus hearts, no matter how much it strengthens the spirit animal of my breastfeeding bub!
So rather than confusing you with my personal tips on posture, how to hold your child for best latching on, or when to breastfeed, I would love to give you all some practical advice for dealing with breastfeeding while caring for a Toddler. Hopefully it’s helpful!
So.. just ahead of the birth of my second beautiful girl, I cast my mind back to the days of my firstborn, remembering all the time breastfeeding took up...yep, lots. My mind was swirling as I nervously considered how I was going to do it all over again, and look after myself – with the added bonus of a toddler in toe! Cue anxiety!
The women I’d always admired who naturally and effortlessly ‘juggled’ everything, were a little more organized than me in my natural state, and a little less prone to winging it! I began asking around and got some great advice from lovely ladies who helped me “survive and thrive” in that period. It is my wish that I can do the same for you now with these three tips. (Spoiler - Be prepared)
TIP 1: If you’re on the move tomorrow, organise foods tonight!
If you are going to be out and about, make a simple packed lunch of healthy snacks for you and your toddler. Breastfeeding takes a lot of energy out of you and keeping constant healthy snacks nearby is super important. Even better, if it’s a special Mummy / toddler, prepared together shared lunch, it encourages your toddler to eat too – the perfect opportunity for a breastfeed! So get into a soft cheese (hello dairy) or two (how much did you miss them?), some vegetable crudités, dried fruit and crunchy biscuits! There is not much food that is off limits while breastfeeding!
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TIP 2: Get that Toddler entertained!
A great trick that allows you to spend your time breast-feeding, is to arrange a VERY SPECIAL activity for your toddler that ONLY happens when you’re feeding baby.
While you are focused fully on feeding your newest child, a fun little activity that will take their full attention such as a special toy or easy-peel stickers to go in a new colouring-in book. Whatever special activity suits your Toddler, they’ll be fully engaged in their thing while you are in yours. No disruptions!
TIP 3: Look after yourself – and stay hydrated!
You’re no good to your baby or Toddler if you’re not looking after yourself. Now that you have at least two to attend to, it’s more important than ever to care for yourself properly. And rule number one for self-care while breastfeeding is hydration! Water! Water Water! We can’t emphasize this enough!
Newborns often feed well over 8 times a day. Keeping a bottle of water by your side is a crucial part of a plan. Every time I sat down to breastfeed I had an automatic desire to sip water. This is because the hormone oxytocin send the “I’m thirsty’ signal to your brain. Since we know that’ll happen, save yourself from getting up again or sitting there thirsty, and keep a bottle or two strategically placed at your most comfortable home breastfeeding location!
Good luck on your journey and remember to look after yourself.
Pam - Mum of 2