9 Tips for Pumping or Breastfeeding When You Have a Toddler
With my first baby, I didn’t feel the need to pump very often. I was home all day with him and didn’t mind taking all the night feeding shifts as well. While exclusive breastfeeding may have worked out the first time around, that doesn’t necessarily mean it will be the case with my next baby. For this reason, I have been thinking about and looking up some good ways to pump, and even breastfeed, with a crazy two-year-old roaming the house. Here are 9 tips for pumping or breastfeeding when you have a toddler or other children in the house.
Screen time reserved for feeding/pumping timeI’ve never been especially strict when it comes to screen time. But I do believe there can be major benefits to limiting screen time to certain times of the day to preserve the interest and entertainment it can provide. When it comes to using shows or tablet time for distraction purposes, like for breastfeeding baby or pumping with some privacy, I suggest reserving screen time to those times for the best outcome.
A special toy boxAlong the same lines of screen time, designating a special box of toys or certain activities during feeding/pumping time allows your other child, or children, to be occupied with something different than the rest of the daily routine. Hopefully this keeps them occupied long enough for you to get done what you need!
Set aside attention for older childThis is pretty obvious, but the more attention your child receives throughout the day, the more likely they will be okay with you taking a little break from them for pumping for or breastfeeding the new babe.
Daddy takes control during feedingsOf course, this method wont work for most mommas, but there are a few out there who have the lucky chance of having dad home: whether for a short time for paternity leave, working from home, or a seasonal. If dad is home and available, use him! Take the pump, or your babe, to a quiet location while daddy keeps the kiddos occupied. And maybe stay there for an extra minute or two!
Pump while toddler sleepsOnce again, this may not work for some people: maybe your other child doesn’t nap any more, or maybe they wake up way too early, or go to bed too late, for you to have the desire to use that time for pumping. BUT if you are fortunate enough to have a sleeper on your hands, this is ideal time to pump without worrying!
Snack time for all kids!Baby is getting a snack, why not everybody? Set up your child with a safe snack you know they’ll be fine with on their own. Use the short time while they’re eating to keep them occupied enough to give you some space. It’s not a bad idea to grab something of your own, too!
Same room entertainmentIf nothing else seems to work and your toddler insists on being right next to you while you’re pumping, do your best to childproof the room you are in so you know you’re okay to sit down for the long haul. A gated area or a pack n play with a few toys may not even be a bad idea. Reading may be the activity of choice here; minimal work on your part and highly entertaining for the kiddos. Another idea is to involve your toddler in what you're doing. Let them help you and ask questions, this is also a great time for an anatomy lesson!
It will get easier!If anything, have hope that this part of life won’t last forever and it gets easier with time! Especially as the feeding time decreases and the amount of feedings or pumping goes down throughout the first year of your new baby’s life. Like most things, experience helps make things easier. You’ll figure out a groove that works and your older child will become more and more accustomed to what is happening.
The perfect pump
While a handheld pump like a Ameda One-Hand Manual Breast Pump w/ Tote may be preferred, it might not be the greatest choice for when you have other children around that need your help. An automatic version like an Ameda Purely Yours Double Breast Pump is great because it is hands free! There’s also an option for more on-the-go pumping with a handy battery powered pump like our Medela Pump in Style Advanced - Metro Bag.
Good luck to you mommas trying to balance multiple kiddos! Soon I'll be right there with you trying to figure out how to juggle feeding a newborn and entertaining a toddler! Do any of you have more to add to my tips? We would LOVE to hear from you!
Featured Image PC: @odetohrs