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Breastfeeding and caring for other children

Reading time: Breastfeeding and caring for other children

When you've got more than one child, breastfeeding can seem a bit daunting at first.

If your other children were late night feeders, you might be worried about coping with long feeds and late nights, or you might be concerned about keeping an eye on your older kids when you and the baby are feeding. It can be a lot to think about, but the good news is that there are plenty of tips and advice out there to help make your life a little bit more manageable - as well as helping to keep your older kids entertained while you keep your baby fed and happy.

Got your hands full?

Sometimes breastfeeding a younger child can make an older child jealous. Don't let it put you off breastfeeding, your older child would probably be just as jealous if you bottle fed. Here are some top tips to help you breastfeed and give your older child plenty of attention too.

Tip #1: Explain what you are doing

Explaining what's happening can make older children feel involved. Tell them that this is how their wee brother or sister has their breakfast/lunch/dinner because babies can't eat the same food as they do.

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Tip #2: Try hands free feeding with the laid back nursing position

Biological nurturing (or laid back nursing) is ideal for mums with other children - being partly laid back means your body and whatever you're sitting on take most of the weight of your baby. Hands-free, you can cuddle your other child, read a book together, or simply watch a children's programme on TV.

If you aren’t too sure how to get into the right position (it can be so tricky to know without someone showing you sometimes!) then ask your midwife or health visitor next time they pay you a visit.

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Tip #3: Put together a nursing box

Some mums find a 'nursing box' really useful. This is a special collection of toys, games and things to do that you bring out only when breastfeeding. This makes feeding time something your older child looks forward to. You might find it useful to do this before your baby arrives (while you have a free pair of arms!).

You could even try to do this with your kids and ask them what toys they would like to play with when you are feeding. Books, paper and crayons are great ideas to have in the box because they get your kids to sit still (for a short amount of time at least)

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Tip #4: If the older kids don’t like you feeding, don’t feel the pressure to stop

Try not to stop breastfeeding your newborn because your other child demands attention. Carrying on means your younger baby doesn't lose out on valuable breast milk, and also helps teach your older child about sharing.

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Breastfeeding twins or more

If you've given birth to twins or more, breastfeeding can quite literally be a bit of a handful - but it's definitely not impossible. In fact, you may well be able to feed both babies at the same time. Find out more in our breastfeeding twins and more guide.

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Last updated: 20 May, 2019