I remember the FEAR I had in my final weeks of pregnancy over this exact topic – I couldn’t imagine being tied to my nursing chair while trying to make sure all of Piper’s needs were met.
Last week we took a reader submitted ‘Tip Tuesday’ question and I’m excited today to share the advice from the community on how to best handle this transition period!
My advice: Remember it won’t last forever (the newborn, the nursing, the needed toddler). Life adapts and you figure it out as you go. Also remember a newborn won’t remember being set down for a few minutes (maybe crying) while you tend to your toddler. I remembered this frequently when I was alone and trying to manage the needs of both my girls.
So – here are the tips!
Have easy snacks on hand for your toddler. Snacks cure just about anything in our house!
Target dollar section bandaids! Give your toddler a box to play with when you sit down to nurse. (Similarly I had a BAG of toys + stickers etc. that I picked up at the Dollar Spot & Dollar Store to use as needed in times like this).
Get a special new toy for your toddler that you get out only when you’re nursing. Our reader suggested Green Toys Flowers (which my girls LOVE).
A ‘nursing box’ of special toys to play with!
Nurse outside if you can so your toddler can play!
It’s hard, you will adjust though – extra screen time is OK!
Nurse in a baby carrier!
Spend one on one time with the toddler when you can – it really helps make them feel valued and will increase their patience while you nurse.
“I gave my son a babydoll he pretends to feed while I nurse so it’s like we are still playing.”
Read to your toddler while you nurse – and no shame in screen time!
Have the toddler help you as much as you can and involve them- ask them for help and read together with the baby.
Schedule play dates for your toddler, having a friend to play with while you’re nursing is nice!
Don’t feel GUILTY about screen time!
Recruit family to visit and play with the toddler, sensory bins, new toys, TV shows, GRACE.
Jobs! Give your toddler special big brother/sister jobs.
Focus on the essentials – the needs of the kids and you. EVERYTHING else can wait!
Slow down life a lot. Take baby steps in everything you can.
Try to have a special plan for after you nurse with your toddler, for example “After mommy feeds your sister we are going to make muffins!”
Be verbal with the baby. “Baby please be patient, it’s your sister’s turn to play with mommy” so the older child is not the only one told to wait.