Supporting Breastfeeding

La Leche League Canada

Breastfeeding a Newborn When You Have a Toddler Tips

on September 7, 2015

As many families in Canada have their babies two to two and a half years apart, mothers often find themselves thinking about how they will nurse a newborn with a busy toddler in the house.  When they think back to the hours spent sitting on the couch breastfeeding baby #1, they wonder how they will manage.

Here are some tips from experienced mothers:

  • Create a safe room(s) in which you can nurse the baby and the toddler can play in sight and without escaping. This may mean your breastfeeding station is in a different place than it was with baby #1 and you may find yourself sitting on the floor more often than on a couch or chair.
  • Your breastfeeding station needs to include all the things you had handy with baby #1 (water, snack, smart phone, burp clothes etc.) and a similar stash for your toddler so you don’t have to keep jumping up to get things.
  • Toddler’s nursing station stash could include: drink in an unspillable cup, a snack, and wet wipes for sticky fingers.
  • Things that are easier to do with a toddler while baby is latched on include reading books, singing songs, puzzles, colouring, building blocks, puppets; basically any toy that mum can manipulate with one hand. Some mothers keep a basket of special toys aside that only come out when baby is nursing.
  • Subsequent babies get nursed in slings and baby wear carriers far more than first babies did so mum can wander around with the toddler. If you never nursed baby #1 this way find some mothers of two or more and get some tips.
  • Try to make sure the toddler has everything she might need before you sit down to nurse the baby. Drink, snack, potty.  This won’t keep you from being interrupted but it may decrease the interruptions.
  • Many mothers mentioned that the occasional TV show or DVD saved their sanity when the toddler and baby both needed attention the same time.
  • Toddlers with new sibling suddenly find themselves being asked to “wait a minute” while mum does something for the baby. It seems silly but it can help the toddler if sometimes you also tell baby “to wait a minute” while you do something with the toddler.  Baby will likely already be quiet and content when you say this so it makes no difference to baby but it can make a world of difference to how the toddler feels about life.
  • Some mothers worry about how they will explain to the toddler what they are doing. Children are very accepting so telling your toddler that you are feeding the baby and not making a big deal about it is probably all that is needed.  Some mothers explain that babies get “mummy milk” because they have no teeth to chew and big kids get to eat …. (fill in the blank with a favourite food).  Check your public library or LLLC Group library for books that show breastfeeding as a normal part of life.  Your toddler (boy or girl) soon will be breastfeeding dolls, stuffed animals, and any other available toy including trucks and dinosaurs.
  • Remember, in traditional cultures babies are carried everywhere and breastfed as their mothers go about day-to-day life. They nurse very frequently but for short periods and they thrive.  Your new baby is adaptable and will learn to nurse in a noisier house and with more interruptions that baby #1 did.  As long as he is peeing and pooping adequately and gaining weight appropriately how and where you breastfeed doesn’t matter.

feeding momma

If you struggled with breastfeeding with baby #1, make time during your pregnancy to discuss the challenges you faced and get some tips to help things get off to a smoother start this time.  Attending an in-person meeting (where available) will introduce you to mothers who have already been down this road and can share their tips. 

If you need more information or have a breastfeeding problem or concern, you are strongly encouraged to talk directly to an accredited La Leche League Leader.  In Canada, Leaders can be located by clicking or Internationally


If you have found this article helpful, La Leche League Canada would appreciate your support in the form of a donation at  so we can continue to help others breastfeed. Thank you!


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