Toddler: nursing again after baby's birth

I nursed my son until he was two years old. He is now three and I am expecting a new baby. I have shown him pictures of babies nursing to prepare him for our little one's arrival. He told me he wanted to nurse again, after looking at the pictures. What should I do if he expresses interest in nursing once our baby is born?

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Debbi Donovan

Debbi Donovan is a Board Certified Lactation Consultant, as well as a retired La Leche League Leader. For more than a decade, Debbi... Read more

How wonderful that you plan on nursing your baby-to-be! It's also great that you are taking the opportunity now to spend extra time with your son -- helping him as he transitions to his new role of big brother.

It is very common for older siblings to ask to nurse again when their new baby brother or sister is born. They're very curious. Your little one may wish he were still a little nursing baby, held tightly at your breast, like the babies he sees in the pictures. He probably remembers just how secure he felt cuddled in your arms.

There are different ways to handle this situation. You will need to decide what is most comfortable for you and what will work best for your family.

Many mothers tell their inquisitive older child that once the new baby is born, and their milk becomes plentiful, they will express some milk into a cup for them to taste. Most older kids are not too thrilled with the taste of warm, sweet breastmilk, and this alone will satisfy their curiosity.

You might decide to let your son give nursing a try. If you do allow your son to nurse again, it is very likely that he will not remember how to suckle, since it has been over a year since he has nursed. He will probably still get a sip and may very well pull away saying your milk is "yucky." Of course, with this method you take the chance that he may actually enjoy nursing again, and then you'll be nursing two.

Hoping you have a good birth and a safe birth. Best wishes in mothering!

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