Managing a Toddler While Breastfeeding a Newborn

Breastfeeding a newborn typically comes with its own set of challenges, such as sore nipples, sleepless nights and a complete lack of schedule. Add a toddler to the mix and life becomes pretty crazy. Is establishing a routine even possible in the beginning? How do you entertain your toddler while breastfeeding your newborn? What works “in theory” and what works in real life?

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Featured Expert

Featured Segments

  • Overcoming Societal Booby Traps

    We want you to have a positive breastfeeding experience… without feeling “booby trapped” by the cultural, institutional and legal barriers that prevent us from making informed decisions? How can we change the overall perception of breastfeeding within our society?

  • The Best Online Breastfeeding Resources

    There’s a lot of breastfeeding information online. What are the most reliable sites for the best breastfeeding support? What are some great sites where you can network with other breastfeeding moms?

Episode Transcript

The Boob Group
Managing a Toddler While Breastfeeding a Newborn

Please be advised, this transcription was performed from a company independent of New Mommy Media, LLC. As such, translation was required which may alter the accuracy of the transcription.

[Theme Music]

Robin Kaplan: Breastfeeding a newborn often comes with its own set of challenges, such as sore nipples, sleepless nights and a complete lack of schedule. Add a toddler to the mix and life can seem to be pretty crazy. Today, we will be discussing, how to manage a toddler while breastfeeding a newborn. This is The Boob Group, Episode 8.

[Theme Music/Intro]

Robin Kaplan: Welcome to The Boob Group, broadcasting from the Birth Education Centre of San Diego. I’m your host Robin Kaplan. I’m also a certified Lactation consultant and owner of the San Diego Breastfeeding Centre. At the Boob Group we’re your online support group for all things related to breastfeeding. Wondering how you can be involved with our show? Please send us your comment or suggestions through our website or call The Boob Group hotline at 619-866-4775. Also, join our conversation on our Facebook page. Do you love our shows and wanna help support them? Consider making a donation to The Boob Group. Any amount is greatly appreciated and if you are feeling especially generous and donate over $50, we will personally thank you on our show. We’re all volunteers here and your contribution helps us pay for operating costs needed to produce great shows for you week after week. Today I am joined by three fabulous panelists in the studio. Ladies, will you introduce yourselves please?

Keegan Sheridan: Sure, my name is Keegan Sheridan, I am a Naturopathy Doctor and Natural Food and Lifestyle Expert for major cereal company. I’m 35, and I have 2 children who are 17 months apart.

Val Velasquez: I’m Val Currier Velasquez. I am 26 years old and now stay-at-home mom. I have 2 daughters that are a little bit short of 19 months apart.

Sunny Gault: And I am Sunny Gault. I’m actually the host of our sister show called Preggie Pals which is all about pregnancy. So that’s what I do for a living and I have 2 children, 1 just popped out, two and a half weeks ago and so this topic is right up my alley, because I have a toddler and a newborn.

Robin Kaplan: And how far apart are they?

Sunny Gault: And they are 21 months apart.

Robin Kaplan: Okay. And this topic is very near and dear to my heart as well because my boys are 15 months apart, so we are definitely dealing with this issue, I’m with my second one decided to show up.

[Theme Music]
[Featured Segment: Overcoming Societal Booby Traps]

Robin Kaplan: Before we get started with today’s topic, here’s Lara Adela talking about ways to overcome societal booby traps.

Lara Audelo: Hi Boob Group Listeners, I’m Lara Audelo, a certified Lactation Educator, retail marketing manager Best for Babes and owner of MamaPear Designs. I’m here to answer some of your most common questions about how you can achieve your personal breastfeeding goals without being undermined by cultural and institutional booby traps. Such as, why do only have a hospital help moms initiate breastfeeding in the first hour after birth. Let’s start with our babies at very first feeding. Research from its far back in the 1970s has shown the timing of the initiation of breastfeeding is important preferably in the first hour. It’s such a special time that some have dubbed it “The Magical Hour”. The evidence is strong enough that the initiation of breastfeeding in the first hour was made one of the 10 steps to successful breastfeeding. In CDC Surveys pulled out some hospitals for 2009 only 51% reported they are greater than 90% of healthy post-term breastfed infants initiate breastfeeding within one hour of uncomplicated natural birth. This is up from 44% in 2007, but the current percentage only half shows that we have a long, long way to go. The lowest numbers are in the South-East and Southwest regions of the country at the rates of 39 and 43% respectively. In the West, have the best rate, 59%, wondering what the 10 steps say about the timing of the initiation of breastfeeding after a caesarean birth of the complying footstep in the case of a caesarean birth, babies are to be placed skin-to-skin, in the mother’s arms within a half an hour of the mother’s ability to respond to them. The rate of compliance with this practice isn’t measured by the CDC Surveys. If you’re planning a hospital birth, don’t let this Magical Hour get lost. Include your wishes in a birth plan that also have details about breastfeeding and make sure to discuss your plan with your labor and delivery care person. A special thank you to Tanya Lieberman IVCLC providing the booby trap series of best for babes. Visit for more great information about how to meet your personal breastfeeding goals. And my business for breastfeeding supported wearable. And be sure to listen to The Boob Group for fantastic conversations about breastfeeding and breastfeeding support.

[Theme Music]

Robin Kaplan: Today in The Boob group, we are discussing the challenges of breastfeeding a new born when you already have a toddler. When my son Ryan was born, my older son Ben, was only 15 months old. I felt like my breast feeding hiccups was somewhere exacerbated since I wasn’t able to sit and figure out things as well as I had when I just had one child. So ladies, how did you feel when you first found out you are pregnant and were still in the baby state with your first?

Val Velasquez: Well, my biggest problem was that I had a horrible morning sickness, and a very, very rambunctious little 12-month old, so, it was really hard, that I couldn’t just lay and nurse my morning sickness, I had to, you know, chase around. So that was really hard and I definitely have a stage of morning. [Laughs] A different type of morning.

Sunny Gault: You know I think for me it was a little bit different because we tried so hard to get pregnant with Sayer, my 1st born and when we found out we were pregnant we were just static and so going into a second pregnancy, we didn’t think we were going to be pregnant. I mean, it was literally I thought, I was going to have to, you know, call up the fertility doctor again, get all the pills, and do all the shots and all that fun stuff, and so we were just kind of having fun and low and behold, I take a pregnancy test and I’m like, are you kidding me. So for me, I think like most of them, the rest of the ladies, I wasn’t overwhelmed, I was just as static, “oh my gosh, I can’t believe, my body was able to do that.” I mean, I literally thought this is going to be months and months of going through all of this again. So I might be a little bit different from everyone else.

Robin Kaplan: How did you prepare your toddler for this new baby?

Sunny Gault: You know, I don’t know that I did any real preparation. I mean, you know, my kids are really young. I mean Sayer is, you know, 21-22 months and you know, so obviously younger than that one when I was pregnant and so I don’t think he really understood, it didn't know what was going on and I really kind of wrestled with that, I was like should I do any kind of preparation for this, but, you know, I was just trying to get the kid the pick of his toys. He understands mommy’s belly is growing and I like lift up my shirt and whatever and have him kiss my belly or whatever, but he didn't really get it.

Robin Kaplan: Absolutely, I mean, there was no way we could even prepare Ben, because he was seven and a half months when I got pregnant with Ryan and so yes we have pictures of him, you know holding my belly and everything and we just laughed at them like, there’s no way you have any idea what is it about to rock your world and it’s so funny when we came home from the hospital with Ryan and we introduced Ben to his brand new brother. All the pictures are, you know, Ben trying to poke Ryan’s eyes out and then putting his fingers in Ryan’s mouth because it was like, “Oh! I have this doll that’s alive in my house”, and so, and for nursing I mean, we actually stopped or I stopped nursing Ben, when he was about 7 months old which ironically I became pregnant two weeks later. I don’t think he had any memory of nursing at all, so I didn’t find that there’s any jealousy with the whole nursing aspect, and actually he pretty much ignored Ryan, until Ryan started to crawl. So, there really was no preparation done on our part either. I did find that I really had to kind of establish a breastfeeding routine way more the second time around, because I did have this toddler who was essentially all over the place, and although our house was baby proofed, it definitely was a different sense of how to get nursing off to a great start. What did you do to establish a breastfeeding routine in the beginning?

Sunny Gault: A lot of it was just trial and error and I still feel like am so new in the process, just trying to figure everything out. I do find that I have to take care of Urban, you know, my newborn first. I feel he’s gonna cry no matter what there’s nothing I can do to remedy that, so I need to feed him first before I tackle the toddler. Usually I can kind off pacify the toddler with, you know, Mummy will be right there and he understands more, right. As far as breastfeeding like a routine goes, obviously, I try to make sure, like when I get up in the morning, you know, feeding the new born is the first thing that I pretty much do, even before my eyes are really open, just stick the baby on the boob, and then, you know, really just feeds on demand. The more I try to plan up my day, the more my day gets interrupted.

Robin Kaplan: Absolutely, I think I found as well that, there was no scheduling because, everything was the Ben show. You know, my older child, and so Ryan learned how to feed on the fly all the time. We were nursing in the car, we were nursing at the park, we were nursing everywhere. I mean, I remember the first time I breastfed Ben in public, was when he was about 6 weeks old. Ryan, I remember exactly where I was, it was in a restaurant, we were getting brunch n he was 10 days old and we were sitting and he started kind off squawking a little bit and I was like alright, here we go. He wasn’t a great nurser either so wasn’t like, you know, we’d gotten off to this fabulous start but it was just, I think this second one learns how to kind of go with the flow a little bit more because it was not all about that child and for me, I didn’t necessarily set up a routine but what I did do is, actually a little bit opposite of yours, mine was, I had to satisfy the toddler first, because I figured that, the infant kind of walk around, kind of keep him pacified a little bit, but my toddler was like me, me, me, me, me, like I need this now, so we had a box of toys, that he could play with, like they were only set up for when I were nursing, so they were like his special toys, a special snacks that I knew that would be safe and I wouldn’t be giving the Heimlich Maneuver you know, while I was trying to breastfeed. And so once I got him set up, we spent a lot of time on the couch, and in the living room and just kinda hanging out, he became a very big fan of the wiggles, exactly, like tv, it just kind of had to happen, because, it captures attention, he enjoyed it and then I didn’t feel like it was building this jealously because he was able to have something that only it occurred while I was nursing Ryan and so, it was something that he looked forward to, “okay, mommy’s got to feed the baby, let’s go watch the wiggles”, and he was like all excited and he snacks and he sat in this huge alma chair and he was just all set up and so that way, you know, I could focus on my younger baby and my older baby was seemed pretty content. The one thing that I found that I did have a little bit trouble with two, when we were home, if Ben decided that the wiggles weren’t super interesting at that time, he would start getting up and just you know, finding his way somewhere else around the house. So, Sunny, have you encountered that as well and having to kinda stand up walking around and nursing Urban while your chasing after Sayer?

Sunny Gault : Yes, I’ve invested a lot of money on those baby gates, to try and to contain them to one room. Sometimes that just doesn’t work. Sometimes, you know, Sayer would just start crying. I think, I’ve yet to fully master what to do with that, and we actually just moved and we’re in a new house and its more of a open floor plan. So there’s a lot less containing going on, so it’s more managing and hoping my baby proofing skills are pretty good. But yeah, I mean, so many times, you know, your toddler has some sort of mouth down and your trying to breastfeed and I too become pretty good with balancing the new born with one arm and you know trying to tackle my toddler with the other arm. I love the wrap that carrier idea that you’re talking about, that’s something, you know, whether you’re breastfeeding or you just have to manage your toddler while you’re taking care of your new born. That’s something I really need to explore. I have a couple different carriers, but I’m always nervous about the new born, because I really can’t defend them that one, I’m just so nervous, that it’s going to be attack at the boob, you know, like I won’t be able to breathe, or whatever, but, I think, you know, the more, more mums I talk to, I think a lot of them use some sort of carrier to solve this problem.

Robin Kaplan : Absolutely, I just found it so helpful, because, no matter where we were, you know, because Ben was obviously walking around and trying to explore everything. At least Ryan, I mean, if he would in a stroller, I would have constantly walk away from him and that would have been really anxious, am not a super anxious mom, but at the same time, I don’t wanna leave my new born son, at one corner of the park lounge chasing after my older son. So, the carrier was just so incredibly helpful, because, you know I could, he was on it and he also slept in that thing, oh my goodness, it was like the baby whisper and so, you know, I could really actually spend, I actually was in the house a lot too because I could spend more time with my toddler while my infant was sleeping on me. And so that way we had a lot of you know, enjoyable time together, but I knew that my younger son would actually stay asleep longer because, he was so warm and cozy in there. So definitely, that would be my recommendation for something to try, and then just baby proofing.

Baby proofing the heck out of your house, because that’s just, there’s gonna be times where your older child will use it as an advantage, that you’re sitting there on the couch kind of sedentary and at least if he’s curious like my little guy and sounds like your little guy as well, they’re gonna be like sweet, it’s time for me to check out this big house that I’ve been waiting to kind of check out. So the baby proofing was just huge for us as well, so that way I knew at least if we just found his way outside of the room we were in there’s pretty much he probably couldn’t hurt himself or drink drain or something like that.

Sunny Gault: Yeah, the trainer thing and also just making sure that you know, your front doors and anything that leads to the outside is extra baby proof. Oh my gosh, that’s a story in itself but essentially my new born, that would be interesting. My toddler just locked me outta house and I didn’t know he could dead bolt the door. But apparently not only he can do that by .25 seconds, so that’s always good to know.

Robin Kaplan: Well fantastic, when we come back, we’ll be discussing tips for breastfeeding you’re new born in public while keeping an eye on your toddler. We’ll be right back.

[Theme Music]

Robin Kaplan: Alright, so we’re back. One thing I recall about the first year after Ryan was born, was that, it was still the Ben show, essentially that Ryan fed, and napped on the go much more than Ben did as an infant, because Ben was in charge, I mean he had a personality and we needed to make sure that he got his energy out. So did you find, that you were nursing in public sooner with your second, maybe than your first, because I definitely found we were doing that.

Val Velasquez: Much sooner, the park, the trees have all seen me nurse. We were at the park a lot, just because I felt Olivia was happy when we weren’t home, and like you said Mila was jus kind of along for the ride. So yes, definitely a lot of nursing, outside of the house.

Keegan Sheridan: Yes, same for me too. I guess, the thing that was really different is with the first one, like I had the cover, you know, that you put over, to kind of shield yourself, I don’t even know what that thing is, I didn’t even bring it out, for the second one, I had all these like special shirts, I didn’t even get them out. I think part of it was I was just lot more comfortable on breastfeeding but also my feelings about breastfeeding how it evolved so much. I’m so much more comfortable being breastfeeding women that I just do it wherever and so I think that the only thing that really changed for me is that I wasn’t looking for a place to do it in private. So even if I was outside, I would be kind of shielding myself somewhere now and right on the picnic bench, right by the toys nursing like hey, we’re all parents here. If you guys have a problem with it, then you know, that’s really your thing to own, not mine and you know, I’m moving forward.

Robin Kaplan: How about you Sunny? Have you ventured into that yet?

Sunny Gault: You know, not so much, out in regular public, but one thing I did notice and I know this isn’t public out to speak, but yes, I did have a C-section, so was in a hospital for a few days afterward. I kind of felt very empowered, by the fact you know, people always come into your room after you have a baby and they’ve got to check this on you and they’ve got to check this on the baby and I pretty much just went without the top for 3 days. Pretty much the baby was always on my chest, but if they had to take the baby and do something or whatever my boobs were just out there for the world to see it and I did not care who saw them. You know, and I understand that’s a little bit different because it’s a medical environment and they are used to seeing all that kind of stuff. I actually think my husband felt more uncomfortable with it, because he was kind of staying with me for the few days, and I could tell, he was like, could you cover up, aren’t you going to do something? I was like, I think this is very free, fantastic, I like it, you know, because it takes a lot of energy. Just last night we had some good friends over the house. Again we were, in our own house and these are friends we had for a long time and my son, my new born needed to nurse and you know, I wanted to be respectful, because I wasn’t quite sure how they felt about the whole breastfeeding thing. So my intention you know, was to kind of cover up, but, I didn’t do it right away, and my husband’s like, you better cover up, and I was like, first of all this is my house, you know what I mean, these are good friends and I still was going to cover up, but it was like, you know, I was trying to get the kid latched, before you know, I throw something over my shoulder or whatever, but, so I think my husband has more of a problem with it. I am more of free, you know, what you see, is what you get.

Val Velasquez: It’s actually really quick, I just want to share a funny tip. My best friend and I had my second and her first together. We were both pregnant at the same time. And I would nurse Mila again without covering or anything, just because, you know, like Keegan I was over it, you know, I was done with that, I was done with that, my priority was to keep her happy, feed her, other people, they can look away, if they needed to. Anyway, she always said, when I breastfeed, I’m gonna cover up more, I am going to be more, I think she said, I forgot the word she used, but, I was like, no you’re not. Once you get comfortable with it, you’re not gonna care anymore because, it just puts more of a burden on you. I’m not uncomfortable, and you shouldn’t be uncomfortable. Anyway, a month later, she’s breastfeeding free for all, so, I just thought it was funny.

Robin Kaplan: Amazing how opinions change. And then another thought I was thinking about when I was thinking about questions I wanted to ask you all off of these tips was napping ‘cause I remember that I did not nap as much after my first child was born because we spent a lot of time just relaxing and things like that. But then, I remembered that one of my favorite things was actually looking forward to those naps after my second one was born because I’m so much more tired because we were going and going and going with the first. And so, what I would do is I would lay my older one in bed with us and Ben would go take his nap and then I bring Ryan in and I nurse Ryan then I move Ryan over to the, you know, the co-sleeper and then all three of us would just take this monster naps for like, 2 1/2, may be 3 hours. Yeah, I know. It was awesome but, I found that the napping kind of having that coincide with the nursing schedules and stuff like that was just so helpful and so did you find that, you know, you ended up nursing more with your, once your second baby was born?

Keegan Sheridan: You mean, napping?

Robin Kaplan: Napping, did I say nursing? I meant napping, yeah. Did you find that you were coordinating napping schedules and nursing schedules and things like that?

Val Velasquez: Not me unfortunately. I mean I was very tired and I still am very tired. But, no I would use that time to shower, get ready, clean, I know I should, I wish I would have not, but no. I used the time to, I was like, “oh my gosh! They’re asleep. What can I do?” Usually I would just sit on the computer and like, read my email and Facebook or what.

Robin Kaplan: It was still your time and do whatever you want to do.

Keegan Sheridan: Yeah, it was as same as Velasquez, I don’t lay. I’m not a good napper anyway but, yeah, there’s always, I always felt so behind on so many other things. Well, in also at the beginning too because I was so stressed out about how to manage the two children together, I used the nap time as the reset for the next activity. So, I used that to get snacks packed and the diaper bag refilled and get the stroller out into the car and map quests, whatever I was gonna go so that, when my son woke up from the nap, I didn’t have to be trying to do that in addition to nursing and getting him ready and all of that so…so no, I wish, but no. Yeah, I’m finding that I need more naps and that I think that last week I did take a couple naps during the middle of the week. But, my husband also takes sometimes off to help me with the new born. So, if he wasn’t there, you know, I always just is torn because you guys are right. Like, you want to get stuff done. Whatever that stuff is, you want to have time to get it done. You need to have some me-time.

Robin Kaplan: Well, so what final tips you have for moms who are managing a breastfeeding new born with a brain bounteous toddler in the house as well?

Keegan Sheridan: I thinking go of expectations is really important. Being more flexible, especially with other things that don’t have to do with your kids so, the cleanliness of your house, yeah, when you do things, kind of be more flexible with your time. If you can just give yourself permission to let go of those things and not worry that someone’s gonna judge you for it or judge yourself for it. I think things will go more smoothly just because you’ve kind of, lowered the border for yourself. So, I mean there’s a lot of things you could do but, I think generally, that’s a nice thing that anybody can implement.

Val Velasques: I think for me, in much respect going back on the last, you know, almost 11 months is that I think the baby, the new born, you know, is happy as long as she’s close to you or he’s close to you and nursing. I think that honestly, now that I look back on it, the priority needs to be the toddler because they’re taking in so much and as long as the baby, the new born is nursed and happy, I really recommend baby wearing for this because the, you know, the baby is going to be happy and content in there and just giving that attention to your toddler because you’ll notice less tantrums, less fits, a happier toddler means a happier house. [laughs] You know, a more relaxed mom so, definitely what Keegan said about just, focus on your kids, forget about, if your house is messy, if you’re messy, as long as everyone’s happy, that’s way more rewarding than a clean house.

Sunny Gault: Yeah, my advice goes along with you guys and that’s is to live in the moment as much as possible because they’re only new borns for if you’re sure if you’re ahead of time and then, you know, there are toddlers, and then, you know, the whole process starts over again and so, yeah, whether it’s, I’m kind of in neat freak too. So, this whole parenting thing has been really tough on me because I don’t really like it when stuff in my house doesn’t match, my woods don’t match and whatever and I’m just like suddenly I have this bouncer just like this bright green color does not match my wine décor. I am going crazy, I have so many different levels. But, I had to take a step back and just be like, you know what though, I mean, this is a very precious time. My kid does not care that, you know, my house does not match at times and that’s fine and he likes to play with his cars and his cars are all over my living room floor and yeah, it drives me crazy. But, you know, it’s creating a better environment if I don’t freak out about it and if I just kind of roll with the punches so to speak and so, I’m just trying to live in the moment and just appreciate the fact that they’re kids and they don’t care about the stuff that I care about and they’re happy and that should be my primary concern.

Val Velasques: Roll with the punches, definitely my motto, that’s just how you have to be.

Robin Kaplan: Absolutely well, thank you so much, ladies for your insight into how to manage a toddler while breastfeeding a new born.

[Theme Music]
[Featured segment: The Best Online Breastfeeding Resources]

Robin Kaplan: Before we wrap things up, here’s Amber McCann talking about the best online breastfeeding resources.

Amber McCann: Hello, Boob Group listeners. I’m Amber McCann, an international board certified lactation consultant and owner of Nourish Breastfeeding Support, just outside of Washington DC. I’m here to answer some of your most common questions when it comes to finding quality breastfeeding resources online. Such as, I read a great book about breastfeeding, is the offer online? I am crazy, crazy lucky to have the opportunity to meet so many offers of the books that were my favorites when I was breastfeeding my own children. I can tell you without exception they’re widely normal people. It’s a bad experiences of mother and turned into an opportunity to support others. One such author is Nancy Mohrbacher, author of Breastfeeding Made Simple and as much as I love her book, I love her blog even more. You can find it at That’s She has a way of taking the latest breastfeeding trends and research and turning that into blog post that make me say, “Oh, now I get it.” For recent blogs about the effects of swaddling and the impact of free formula samples in the hospitals has been particularly insightful. She also shares her personal experiences as a lactation consultant then also as a new grandma. We are lucky in my profession that people like Nancy who are committed to breastfeeding mothers even in forms of media like, blogs and Facebook that weren’t around when they started their career. Check out Again, that’s Thank you for listening. I’m Amber McCann and I would love for you to check out my website at for information on my business and a little bit more about where to get connected with great online breastfeeding support or join me on my Facebook page. It’s and if you have a great online breastfeeding resource you’d like us to know about, please send me an email at or share it on the Boob Group Facebook page. Be sure to listen to the Boob Group each week for more fantastic conversations about breastfeeding and how to find great breastfeeding support.

Robin Kaplan: Thank you to all of our listeners. I hope you’ll visit our website, and our Facebook page to offer your advice on how you managed your toddler while breastfeeding your infant. If you have any questions about today’s show or the topics we discussed, call our Boob Group hotline at 619-866-4775 and we’ll answer your question on an upcoming episode. If you have a breastfeeding topic you’d like to suggest, we’d love to hear it. Simply visit our website at and send us an email through the contact link. Thank you for listening to the Boob Group because mothers know breasts.

This has been a New Mommy Media Production. The information materials contained in this episode are presented for educational purposes only. Statements and opinions expressed in this episode are not necessarily those of New Mommy Media and should not be considered facts. Though such information materials are believed to be accurate, it is not intended to replace or substitute for professional medical advice or care and should not be used for diagnosing or treating health care problems or disease or prescribing any medication. If you have questions or concerns regarding your physical or mental health or the health of your baby, please seek assistance from a qualified healthcare provider.

[00:29:56] End of Audio

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