Perhaps when you were pregnant, you had visions of sitting down to nurse the new baby while quietly reading a book to your toddler. But what you actually experienced when your second child arrived was a far cry from this pleasant mental picture. You could see the writing on the wall as D-Day approached, but kept hoping your oldest would soon find an interest in books (or even TV- or ANYTHING for that matter). Struggling to find activities for her 15-month old to do that didn’t involve todder's fully, undivided attention?
What you do with your toddler while you feed the baby will depend on not only on his personality, but also on his age. Books, puzzles, coloring books, PlayDoh, puppets, trains/cars, and snacks are all time-tested favorites. Some moms have success with a special “nursing toy” that comes out only when mom is nursing. Some Baby Bunchers have a box with various goodies Big Baby to play with during the feedings and rotate the items out every few days so they were new and exciting.
In the very early days, babies don’t really care much about their surroundings. They are hungry and tired, and if it means you feed the baby while you conduct book club for your toddler (drag the story out by talking about the pictures) or feed the baby at the dinner table while supervising toddler’s feeding frenzy, at least you’re on the road to multitasking.
Of course, for many moms, the favorite feeding toy is ultimately the TV. Please do not beat yourself up if you have to sell your soul to the Teletubbies to get half an hour of peace and quiet. It’s probably not a good idea to use this ploy every time you feed (which in the beginning is basically all day long), but don’t be afraid to pull this weapon out of your arsenal once in awhile.
Trust us when we say that every month in a toddler’s life makes a difference at this point. A 13-month-old child is different developmentally than a 16-month old. You need to have lots of tricks in your hat and you need to be able to think fast on your feet in order to keep the situation stable and you sane. Don’t be afraid to resurrect an idea a few weeks later. Maybe by then your daughter really will want to sit down and listen to a book.
Linda’s oldest child also wasn’t into books at 16 months and didn’t want to be read to while she was nursing her daughter. By the time the grandparents left and the baby was seven-months old, Linda was able to plan baby feedings around her son’s nap/play/eating schedule so she didn’t have to be too creative with activities. The baby’s morning, lunch and bedtime feedings were done while the older one was sleeping. The midmorning/afternoon feedings usually required older son to be eating a snack.
Other Baby Bunchers admit that hosting playgroups in their homes offer the added bonus of making feeding time easier. These events can help you have it all — playmates for your toddler, friends and morale support for you, and a chance to nurse with many extra hands available for your oldest one if he needs it.
Make note of what will always keep your toddler busy. You need a “last resort” trick up your sleeve, whether it’s listening to music, watching a DVD, singing a song, playing with your wallet or cell phone, destroying a magazine, reading a book, etc.
Get your routine:
Always get your toddler set up with an activity BEFORE you start to feed baby. If you can strap her into the high chair for the activity, even better. PlayDoh in a high chair means fun and stationary. Do not ever try to sit down to breastfeed with toddler running around wild. This is a recipe for disaster.
Take another look:
Has PlayDoh lost it’s magic during your nursing breaks? It might be time for a new trick. Maybe now toddler is old enough for crayons or looking at a book?