I became pregnant shortly after my daughter weaned. She was two years old, and I am afraid that she will want to nurse again. What can I do to help her understand that she won't be able to, as I don't wish to nurse both children?

Before the baby is born, make it a priority to give your daughter as much focused attention as possible so your relationship is strengthened and fortified. Help her feel like an active participant in your pregnancy. Remind her of how you felt when she was growing inside of you, how much you loved her, and how excited you were about her birth. Talk about all the sweet memories after her birth while looking at pictures. Encourage your daughter to talk to her soon-to-be-born sibling to help her begin to feel attached to her or him. Talk about the ways that she can help you and her little sister or brother after the baby arrives. This will help strengthen your relationship and will remind her that you enjoyed this special time with her as an infant as well.

After the baby is born, be aware of her feelings and needs. If she asks to nurse, that may simply be her way of communicating that she needs to feel more connected to you or that she is hungry. She may also simply be curious about what the baby is doing or what your breasts offer the baby. If she asks to nurse while you are tending to the baby, ask her to help you in some way. Perhaps she could get you a blanket, diaper, or receiving blanket. Be sure to place these items where she can easily get them for you. If you are nursing, ask her to bring her favorite book and sit with you so that you can read to her. You could also tell her what the baby is doing and explain how the baby receives nourishment through nursing so that she understands why the baby nurses so frequently. Your partner can also bond with her by engaging her in special activities.

Filling your daughter's cup may keep her from focusing on the fact that the baby bonds with you through nursing and will continue to remind her that she enjoys a special relationship with you through other means. As a family, stay responsive, flexible, and creative in your efforts to help her feel included. Your concern and conscious awareness of your daughter's needs and feelings will help her lovingly transition to her new role as a big sister.

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