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Talking About Breastfeeding with Older Siblings

As I’ve mentioned before, nursing is a family affair around our house. Before Max was born I was worried about how the older kids would react to me breastfeeding the baby. Would they be jealous? Would they remember nursing? And, um, would they want to taste the milk? My husband and I did our best to prepare the kids for me breastfeeding because it’s a commitment that requires time and effort and as silly as it sounds I wanted everyone on board.

We started talking about “mama milk” – or “mama milt” as my 3 year old called it – from almost as soon as we told them I was expecting. We wanted them to understand that the baby would get all his food from me and that was just a part of bringing a baby into the house. I took every opportunity to point out a mother nursing her baby so they would have a general image of what it would look like. One of my close friends had twin boys several months before Max was born and she breastfed both babies. Luckily she was totally open and okay with my kids sneaking peaks under her nursing cover and asking lots of questions. It was such a blessing to have her nursing around the kids while I was pregnant!

The kids have been really awesome about breastfeeding from day one. I know they do get frustrated with me when I can’t jump up to immediately meet their needs while I’m feeding the baby. And, my 5 year old has caused me to feel some mommy guilt when he told me that I love Max the most. But, over all it’s been awesome to see that the kids are understand how important it is that I breastfeed Max. I admit I feel a sense of pride when my daughter “nurses” her dolls or when my older son explains breastfeeding to a friend.

Every once in a while I have a moment where I see the situation from an outsider: me sitting on the couch, breast hanging out, Max on my lap, 5 year old resting on my knee, chatting with my husband and 3 year old bouncing around all of us. To some more modest people this may seem odd. But, I have to say I do it without an ounce of self-consciousness. It’s just a fact of life for our family and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

How do you prepare siblings for breastfeeding a baby?