Feeding your baby is such a special time. There is nothing quite like snuggling your sweet babe in a calm, peaceful environment.
Then comes baby #2! Goodbye calm, hello chaos!
Unless kid #1 is napping, baby feeding time becomes a juggling act as you try to feed the baby and entertain your other child.
Here are nine simple, no-prep ways to entertain your other child[ren] while feeding baby.
1. Scavenger hunt
This can be easily adapted to any age. Either give the kids each a paper sack or have them get a bag of their choosing. Next give them five or more items they need to find from around the house. Some ideas…find five orange things, find five things that start with the sound “Ssss,” find five items that are circle-shaped etc. Have them show you what they found and then set a timer to see how quickly they can put everything back where they got it from. You can have kids work together on these too!
2. Silly Races
All of my kids loved these races! Basically you think of three silly things to do in three rooms of your house. For example, “First, run into the kitchen, clap your hands and say ‘I love bananas!’ Second, go into your brother’s room and jump off his bed. Third, flush the toilet in the bathroom and say, ‘Ahoy there.’” I always would repeat the instructions and have the kids repeat it back to me before they took off. They will want to do these silly races over and over again. You can also have them make up races for each other. This is a great activity because it helps them work on memory and listening skills.
3. Interpretive Dance
Turn on classical music and talk to the kids about how the music can make their bodies feel like moving in different ways. Sometimes when the music is fast we can move our bodies quickly, or if the music sounds sleepy we could lie down. Let the music move their bodies (and it’s great for their developing brains and the baby as well!).
4. Missing Object
Have your child bring between 3-5 objects (stuffed animals, small toys etc). Line them up on your lap or next to you. Say all of them in order together (horse, pig, shark). Then have the child[ren] close their eyes while you remove one object and place it out of sight. They have to guess what is missing. Have them do the same for you. Increase or decrease the number of items depending on the children’s ability.
5. Guess the animal/guess the cousin
We started playing this game when I was nursing babies but it is still a family favorite on car rides. It is basically 20 questions without the 20 rule. One person thinks of an animal, and you ask questions (does it walk on two legs? Can it fly? Would you want to pet it? etc) until you can guess what it is. We do the same thing with guess the cousin and my kids love it! This helps children develop logic, learn how to answer questions and think about family, which is always a good thing.
6. Critter/Dolly Doctor
This activity does require some preparation, but your child should be able to do it themselves. Have them gather stuffed animals or dolls or a combination of both. Have them get a roll of toilet paper (faux bandages) or some reusable ace bandages if you have them. A pretend doctor kit is a bonus but isn’t necessary. Put all of the stuffed animals and dolls within mom’s reach. One by one, give the animals to your child, who is doctor or veterinarian. Tell them what happened to the patient (sick tummy, cough, thorn in their paw, etc) and have the doctor fix them up. Ask follow-up questions, “Do I need to put ice on it? Do we need to come back for another check-up? Etc. It is so fun to help them build their imaginations.
7. Secret Ninja
Tell the kids that they are going to be quiet, secret ninjas. They need to get from one part of the room (say the door) to another part (behind mom’s chair) without being discovered. When they reach their goal they need to whisper “Ninja” to win. Have them go to the starting point and tell them they need to move as quietly as possible and stay hidden as much as they can. If they are spotted before getting to their final destination, they have to go back to the starting spot. Then, turn off the lights, close your eyes and let them sneak a bit. You can let them win every once in a while, or catch them often. And if you fall asleep for a minute, no one will notice. Haha!
8. Quiet Storytime
There are so many great resources to have a quiet storytime while you feed baby. One of our favorite DIY storytimes is called “The Magic Wand.” I start telling a story about how one day, my kid(s) open the front door to discover a beautifully wrapped present that contains a magic wand. Then I say, “the first thing Maya wanted to do with her magic wand was _______” and let that child say what they would do. I continue with the story (adding in as many silly things as possible) and letting the child decide where the story goes. If you have an Amazon Echo device, you can also turn on Amazon storytime, and let the device do the work for you. Another free option is to check out books on CD from the library. My kids love to look at the pictures in the book and turn the page when the chime dings.
9. Make comfortable nests and turn on a show
There is no shame in having screen time for your kids when you are transitioning to life with a new baby. To make kids cozier (and therefore more likely to stay put) I would sometimes create little nests out of blankets and pillows and settle the older kids to watch a show while I nursed the baby. And mama, take time to close your eyes and rest while you can, guilt-free.
Juggling babies and older siblings can be so hard, but hopefully these no-prep ideas for keeping your kids occupied while you nurse will help make the transition easier. You’ve got this!
For more tips for NEW moms check out this post about finding joy in motherhood!