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How do you explain breastfeeding a new sibling to a 3 year old?

I'm having my second child in a few weeks, and I had a horrible dream about breastfeeding her while my 3 year old was around! I realized she has no idea about what is really coming. How can I explain to her what is around the corner?

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Asked by cowgrlkat15 at 9:48 PM on Jan. 2, 2010 in Preschoolers (3-4)

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Answers (10)
  • just explain that you will be feeding the baby and sometimes they will need to be patient while you are busy with the baby. Our friends DS was 4 when our DS was born and he asked me what I was doing, I told him I was feeding the baby and he said ok and ran away... not a big deal

    Answer by peanutsmommy1 at 9:51 PM on Jan. 2, 2010

  • I told my formula fed two year old that her baby sister was getting mommy's milk. She accepted that with not problems and never had an issue with it. I had to switch to formula later but it was never really questioned. But while pregnant I was telling her that she had a sibling coming soon. That soon mommy would have a baby in the house and I helped her play baby with dolls. I think she got the idea quickly because she still wants to help mommy with her baby sister so much.

    Answer by isabellalecour at 9:53 PM on Jan. 2, 2010

  • my dd was 4 when we had out 1st ds. i got out a baby doll, and I asked her if she knew what breasts were for. she said no, so we practiced holding the baby, and we talked about how the baby would eat. that mommies (kind of like cows, lol) and many, many other mammals, make milk for their babies, and this is how they eat it. we talked about how she would have to be quiet when baby brother was nursing, and that we could have our special time too.

    often in those first weeks, she would sit down beside me and "nurse" her baby dolls. I even made her a sling so she could carry them like her baby brother.

    its a completely normal thing, and kids take it in stride as soon as they are told that boobs are for food.

    now when one of my kids hears a baby cry, they will make comments like "that mom needs to shove a boob in its mouth, it sure sounds hungry!!". lol

    Answer by ObbyDobbie at 9:54 PM on Jan. 2, 2010

  • Was the 3 year old breastfed? It really shouldn't be an issue.Teaching your child that bfing normal and healthy is one of the best gifts you could give her. She will ask questions but she's only 3, it's not like she's going to ask hard questions. Just be open and honest.

    Answer by NoahsMomma418 at 9:56 PM on Jan. 2, 2010

  • I just told mine that I was feeding the baby. It is such a natural thing that it was just accepted and not questioned. Little children accept things we parents tell them.

    Answer by admckenzie at 9:58 PM on Jan. 2, 2010

  • I dont think your DD will have a hard time adjusting to it at all.. She may want to be near you & close to you though so be ready to read books, cuddle & watch her fav. cartoons with her while your nursing.. Maybe see if she will nurse her dolls while u nurse the new baby.

    Funny story: My dd was mainly nursed until 22mo. She just turned 3 oct. .. On Christmas Eve at MIL house a cousin-in-law has a 5mo baby & was bottle feeding him.. My dd seen & ask "What are you doing" Cousin Said "Im feeding the baby, he is hungry" DD replied "Oh, my mommy feed me from her boobies!".... Too FUNNY! I thought it was odd since dd feeds her dolls with bottles! And has never tried nursing her dolls! (im sure she will if a brother/sister comes along in the next few yrs though)

    Answer by MommaTasha1003 at 11:21 PM on Jan. 2, 2010

  • i was straight up with my son.... I just told him that mommies boobies had milk in them, and it was a special milk for the baby. I told him that baby's tummy's were different from big boys and girls... they needed special mommy milk. He was totally cool with it. He knows that Lily is eating. I said the same thing to my 2 year old son... they both seemed to get it, and there's no awkwardness or concern at all. I still make a point of covering up- that's just me tho! I don't feel comfortable doing it without a cover :) Just be honest and let him ask questions. You'll find its not as big of a deal as you might think!

    Answer by livn4hevn at 12:56 AM on Jan. 3, 2010

  • I didn't do it ahead of time. My 1st was young enough when my 2nd was born it wasn't an issue. As they got older I just explained that mommies make milk for their babies to drink, and that's what babies eat (yeah, it did get miscontrued and one of them told lots of people at one point that sissy ate mommy's boobies), like they eat food and drink cow's milk. They've all seen baby mammals drinking from their moms (cows, horses, goats, etc) so they knew that it was normal for mommies of all sorts to feed their babies from their own bodies. We explained as we went. Now if they see anyone bf-ing in public they don't bat an eye, they know what's going on and are accepting of it because they know babies would be hungry otherwise - they do know what formula is too, and bottles, as they were all fed both ways ;).

    Answer by Anonymous at 12:58 AM on Jan. 3, 2010

  • You can't really make her understand until she sees it for herself. And then be matter of fact and open answering her questions. It will become very boring to her pretty fast. Also be really careful of her hands and fingers 'helping' you. Its a very fast way to get a breast infection. My oldest daughter reads books to her 4 yr old son during nursing times. This distracts him and he loves when its time to feed his sister now.

    Answer by MSugarKane at 8:54 AM on Jan. 3, 2010

  • Show her a picture of kittens nursing their babies and cows nursing their babies and then whenever you're nursing your baby just say "mommy's nursing the baby" TBH I have 4 kids and I've never had to explain breastfeeding to any of them. The first time you nurse just say "baby's hungry and I'm going to feed it mama milk"

    Answer by SmileyMoo at 6:58 PM on Jan. 3, 2010

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