Breastfeeding can be hard in the early days, even if you only have one child to look after. But if you have a toddler as well, the level of difficulty will be much higher. During that period when your newborn is breastfeeding quite frequently, it’s helpful to be a bit prepared in terms of keeping your toddler entertained. Here is a list of activities that will keep your toddler occupied while you’re nursing your newborn.
Get out some magnets and a cookie sheet and let your child match the magnet by shape or color.
2. Read books
This is a great age to instill a love of reading. Have your child choose a book and read to them while you nurse.
3. Verbal games
The great thing about these games are that they can be played anywhere and don’t require any preparation:
I Spy—Choose items that are in the room. For example, “I spy something blue in the room”.
Word Association—You say one word and ask your child to say what they think. For example, you say “big”, and your toddler can say “small”. You say “green” and your toddler can say “yellow”.
Toddlers love stickers. Pull out some stickers and paper. For my toddler, I’ll buy stickers with her favorite characters and ask questions about them such as “What color dress is she wearing?, what color is her hair?, do you remember the name of her dog?”
Set your child up with crayons and coloring pages—or even better, with a large box to decorate.
6. Sing nursery rhymes
This is a perfect opportunity to teach the alphabet by singing the ABCs to your child. Nursery rhymes like Pat-a-Cake and Itsy Bitsy Spider are favorite classics.
7. Sensory bins or bags
Before you prepare to nurse, fill up a sensory bin or bag. Toddlers can play with these for hours!
Puzzle books or wooden puzzles is a fun activity for your toddler to do while your breastfeeding if they don’t need too much assistance.
9. Give your child a snack
Depending on their age, give your toddler a snack while you nurse your baby. Prepare something beforehand like fruit, cheese and crackers or chopped veggies. You can place them in a highchair or have them sit with you and you can enjoy snacking with them.
10. Play dough
This can be messy, but will keep your busy for quite some time. I usually give my child some play dough and kid-friendly cookie cutters to make different designs.
11. Attend playgroup type activities
It’s not easy to be cooped up at home all day with a toddler and a newborn. Use nursing time to get out and go somewhere your toddler can participate in activities. Try play groups, a play center, the park, the library, fast food restaurants that have play areas, etc.
12. Sort colored macaroni
Take penne noodles and dye them different colors and let your child sort them by color. You can also let them sort different pasta shapes.
13. Have a special toy box
Have a special bag or box filled with toys for your toddler that you only take out when you’re nursing. When you’re done nursing your baby, put the box away. This keeps the toys more special and your child more interested in what’s in the box when you bring it out.
14. Use household items
Let your child push pipe cleaners through a colander. Or, put out some bowls, spoons, cotton balls or colorful pom-poms and let your child mix and sort.
Give your child cups or blocks to stack and ask your child to stack according to color.
16. Pretend play
Set up a tea party or picnic with your child’s dolls and stuffed animals.
Can you add anything to the list?
Hello, I’m Kelly, a regular contributor on this blog. I live in Pennsylvania with my loving husband and our five beautiful children. I have a background in early childhood education, but I am currently homeschooling my kids. From pregnancy to postpartum to toddler life, I love sharing advice with other moms who are having a challenging time with this crazy but wonderful role of motherhood.
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