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Toddler hates newborn breastfeeding

(12 Posts)
upthewolves Fri 03-Nov-17 09:29:41

Hi all. Wondering if anyone else has experienced this and has advice. My DD is 2 yrs 3 months and DS is 4 days. We've had the expected challenges bringing him home ( general naughty behaviour, teariness) but she likes the baby and things are generally ok. Big problem however is she hates me feeding him and cries every time I do it. Obviously on day 4 I am feeding often! She can't say why she doesn't like it just repeats " I don't like it" or " no baby milk" and cries. She is genuinely really upset by it, crying real tears. She has attempted to pull DS's head off my breast and also attempted to pull my top down mid feed.

I have explained that this is how DS eats. I have reassured her that I can cuddle her at the same time as i feed him. We have watched YouTube videos of baby animals suckling so she sees that this is normal way babies eat.

Any other advice? Is this a normal sibling reaction?

Bucketsandspoons Fri 03-Nov-17 09:41:37

Awww, you can see her point, she's suddenly having to share the most important person in the planet to her who was all hers! flowers hard for both of you. Might it help to give her some 'baby time' with you when newborn is asleep? And some special privileges only available to her 'helping you and baby' when he feeds (like the dreaded iPad or a really favourite snack?)

TittyGolightly Fri 03-Nov-17 09:43:24

Cuddle her with your other arm and read a book of her choosing with her. It’s calming and bonding and she won’t feel like that time is “baby’s” time.

Iwasjustabouttosaythat Fri 03-Nov-17 09:49:42

Not much help I'm sure, but ideas that were suggested to me include a special toy or box of toys that only appears at breastfeeding time. Also reading to her while breastfeeding or watching something special to distract her while feeding. I remember someone saying to me that would be the hardest thing for DS. Turns out DTs wouldn't breastfeed anyway and he was totally ok with the breastpump. hmm I hope it gets better soon. Early days yet.

HebeMumsnet (MNHQ) Fri 03-Nov-17 09:54:48

flowers for you OP. That sounds hard. Good ideas above. If those don't work can you try total distraction? Let her watch an episode of a DVD she likes (or buy some new ones) and make her a special chair to sit in (big pile of cushions and a teddy to cuddle) - then the feed can just be 'the job you're going to get out the way while she's watching her programme'. Worth a go maybe.

Or go the other way and really include her. So ask her to hold the muslin close to the baby 'in case you need it' or even see if she wants to help with winding?! She might suddenly be more keen if she can get him to do a big burp!

Good luck with it anyway. This too shall pass!

Hatstand Fri 03-Nov-17 10:03:22

Similar age gap between me and my sibling. My DM did what Titty suggested, she would read to me while I had the very important job of turning the pages and describing the pictures. Obviously I don't remember but apparently I was much more contented once I associated feeding with mummy time for me too.

QueenAmongstMen Fri 03-Nov-17 10:04:04

Did you breast feed your daughter?

I've got a new baby (11 weeks) and a 3.5 year old. I breast fed my eldest until he was 2.5 years old and although I stopped feeding him just before I fell pregnant he obviously has clear memories of himself being breast fed.

When I was pregnant with DS my breasts naturally started getting bigger and he started to show signs of interest in breast feeding again and asking if he could have some milk. I explained to him that he couldn't because my body was making milk for when the baby came and he then went through a phase of pointing at my left breast and saying "That's my milk" and then pointing at my right one and saying "And the baby can have that one." For the last 3 months of my pregnancy he kept asking me about the milk and if it was still his. I was very nervous about how he'd react to me breast feeding the baby when it was born.

Following the birth my DS came in to meet the baby and coincidentally I was breast feeding at the time and DS got really upset, crying and saying "Get the baby off my mommy, that's my milk, that's my milk" and it was quite distressing actually.

Thankfully when I got home on Day 4 my DS seemed to have done a bit of a U-turn (I think DH spoke to him a lot about it at home) and he then became fascinated with me breast feeding the baby. If I was feeding my DS would say "I want to watch him" and then just stand next to me and stare at the baby feeding. When the baby de-latched my DS would say "I want to stroke your nipple" but he never asked for a feed himself or make reference to the milk bring "his" anymore.

Every time the baby started crying my DS would holler at the top of his voice, "Mommy, the baby is crying, I think he wants some milk!!!"

I was very lucky that the baby was always a very quick feeder so I was never distracted from DS for long. Is your baby feeding frequently?

I find that now the baby has been here for 11 weeks and is having longer periods of being awake and needing my attention my DS's behaviour has deteriorated because he misses the one-to-one time we used to have.

Does your daughter go to a nursery at all?

Even though I was on maternity we kept our son in childcare because we wanted him to have some time where he could just be him, having fun instead of always being in an environment when he felt like he was second best to the baby. I found that at home I was constantly having to say things like "In a minute" "I can't play with you yet"
"let mommy just see to the baby" "leave the baby alone, he's trying to sleep" etc and it all just felt so negative and I think he felt a bit pushed out. When he goes to pre-school he doesn't have any negativity and can simply have fun all day and be focused upon in a way that he couldn't be at home.

Prior to having the baby people would tell me to make breast feeding a special time for DS too, I.e use the time to read a book together etc but I don't think that can be practically done. I don't know about you but I was constantly fiddling around with the baby, trying to get him to attach properly, changing positions, winding at frequent intervals, putting him back on when he came off etc and I don't think I could have been focused on reading a book to be honest and would probably have just irritated DS. But like I said, thankfully I didn't have to worry about this as DS was very accepting of me breast feeding.

I suppose it's difficult for your daughter as she isn't able to vocalise properly why she finds it upsetting, do you have any idea what her particular upset is about? Is it the act of doing it or resentment that your focus is on the baby?

Don't forget that it's still very early days for her to accept and adapt to a new baby being in the house. My baby is 11 weeks and my DS still shows signs of jealousy or annoyance regarding how much of my attention has to be spent on DS2 now and not just him.

I would recommend that you carry on doing as you are because it sounds like your explanations are good and the fact you watch YouTube videos of baby animals feeding is a really good idea - I think you just need to give her more time?

Has she been exposed to women breast feeding at all or is it a new concept to her?

Maybe you could watch videos of women breast feeding their babies so she can see that it's something normal for people to do af well, not just something animals do as that may be confusing or upsetting her as she won't understand that as people we are also technically mammals who feed their young too.

Sorry for the length of this post smile

BellyBean Sat 04-Nov-17 22:48:44

Maybe try to big up that the newborn isn't as lucky as ds and can't have yummy food like <insert fave here> because only a little baby.

Share some yummy snacks (ideally while baby asleep) making a big deal about them being big boy food.

Popskipiekin Sat 04-Nov-17 22:57:27

Aww OP we had completely the same situation when I first brought DS2 home. DS1 batting away the baby’s head and saying “stop it mama!” Our age gap is also 2yr3mths.
I think your DD will adapt. It’s all such a shock poor things. All good suggestions above but I wanted to say that DS1 did get used to it very quickly and was soon imperiously saying “feed him mama!” whenever the baby cried grin. We found lots of cuddles helped and extra tv time during feeding (I could never manage to read and feed, at least at the start when breastfeeding wasn’t going so well and poor latch meant I had to concentrate hard on the baby), and I found it helpful to pass off the baby quickly after the feed to someone else and show I was now fully present for DS1. Not always possible of course. But in the first two weeks when DH was still around.

Ilovelampandchair Sun 05-Nov-17 04:27:34

I'd get her up for a cuddle beside me every time and put something on the TV for her. Maybe even a chocolate button for baby feeding time treat.

It will pass.

HettyB Tue 07-Nov-17 16:48:16

Does she understand that he’s not hurting you? I ask as my DD is 2y 1m and DS is 5 weeks, when he first arrived she got upset when he fed because she thought he was biting me. I explained that he wasn’t hurting me and then she spent a few days asking if she could have milk from my breasts too - I made a big deal of how she has her milk from her “big girl cup” and she stopped asking after a couple of days.
When I feed I make sure I can still cuddle her - it can be a bit awkward but it seems to be working!

upthewolves Wed 08-Nov-17 01:39:03

Thank you all so much and sorry for the late reply. It has been hard to find time to respond! There are some brilliant suggestions here.

To answer some questions, I don't know exactly what the issue is and she doesn't seem to know either. I don't think it is that she thinks he's hurting me as I know she could articulate that. I think it is jealousy and she obviously can't explain that feeling.

I tried going out of the room to feed him but she tracks me down! She will leave whatever it is she is doing - yesterday she was in the middle of her dinner and she got up from the table because she wanted to cuddle me. She knew I had gone to feed him.

Tried having a book to hand but she can't focus on anything but the feeding. I can try chocolate buttons but she would then be eating chocolate all day as he feeds at least every 2 hours and sometimes cluster feeds for hours at a time!

I did breastfeed DD but only for 8 months so she has no memory of it. I think this is her first experience ever seeing breastfeeding happen. I wish I had taken the time to explain it to her before DS arrived.

I think it is the closeness she is craving. I had a C section and now can't lift her. She hasn't complained but I think it must bother her.

Gosh it is all so hard! You have given me a lot of tips though and thanks to those who shared their own experiences. You give me hope!

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