Ok, real talk mamas. I’ve got 3 kids and figuring out tricks to keep the toddler busy while tethered to a nursing baby is no easy feat. Yes, I have walked around the house nursing the baby while opening an apple sauce or disconnecting stubborn lego blocks. I can say with absolute certainty that it is neither graceful nor effective as inevitably both the toddler and the infant will feel slighted.
So I share with you, in my infinite wisdom, some tricks I’ve picked up along the way to keep older children happy while still bonding with and keeping the tiny human paperweight alive.
Tricks to Entertain Your Toddler While Nursing
If you’ve got a toddler at home with you, mindlessly scrolling through your phone or catching up on Netflix are not options. But there is a way to bond with both kiddos at once.
Keep a basket of favorite books next to your nursing chair. Enjoy some quiet story time together. My kids love to help by holding the books and turning the pages while my hands are full. Fair warning - you may get a little dizzy following the words in a book held by a toddler.
Ask the toddler to help you. Intentionally leave the water bottle on the other side of the room and ask them to go get it for you. It can be their job to keep you hydrated. Hydration is so important while nursing so if this doesn’t work with your kiddo, pick a different object to try it with or just skip this suggestion.
Have toddler accessible snacks on a low shelf. My kids were always somehow starving the minute I sat down to nurse. The apple sauce and fruit are always kept within reach. This has had the added bonus of me not having to get up even if I’m not tethered down by a baby.
Play games like “I Spy” or “Silly ABCs”.
Have other activities ready to go nearby. My daughter loves to color so I make sure that the crayons and coloring page are right there so she can entertain herself and still have me to talk to.
Encourage nurturing play. Have dolls or toys and little tea towels that your big kid can “put to bed” or nurse while you’re taking care of baby.
Have a special box of quiet toys that you pull out only when nursing. Felt books, soft blocks or even Magnatiles. Sensory bins are great too. If the weather is nice, consider a bucket of ice in the backyard while you nurse in the shade. Another fun outdoors one is giving the kiddos a spray bottle of water and a towel to clean.
Practice meditation and deep breathing with your little one. My daughter’s favorite is to breathe in the scent of a flower and blow out a candle. Helps both of us relax!
At the end of the day, it doesn’t really matter what you do as long as you can maintain the quiet so baby can get a good meal. I found that the quiet enabled some wonderful bonding with my older kids that may not have happened otherwise.
Are there any tips that have worked for you to entertain your big kid while nursing? Let us know!
Also - if you’re looking for ideas to get out of the house with your toddler and newborn, consider these great indoor play spaces to keep the big one entertained and contained and come see us for Stroller Strides & Stroller Barre!
Keywords: breastfeeding, nursing, newborn, Parenting, Simple Parenting Tricks , toddler, toddler activities, motherhood