So many of my friends are having their second babies now, and I’m having fun doling out advice on how to handle baby number two. I finally (sort of) know what I’m doing these days! But it does seem surreal now that it’s been 3 1/2 years since we brought our second daughter home. Bedtime with two little ones was by far the worst for me, getting used to bathing both, and putting them to sleep. But a close second was feeding the newborn baby with an active toddler.
I was terrified of leaving our firstborn alone and spending so much time with the new baby. I fretted and wondered what to do when I was feeding the baby so often with our toddler in tow. It’s ironic now that I’m chatting with our pregnant friends and breastfeeding baby number two is high on their list of questions. Will our older child feel left out? How do I keep them entertained when I’m feeding the baby? So here are some things I learned and did to help our oldest feel included in the process.
things to do with your toddler while feeding baby #2
1. Involve Your Toddler – It’s best from the start to include your older child in the feeding process whether you are nursing or bottle feeding. I even pumped and let the little one hold the bottle sometimes! (Nipple confusion wasn’t an issue for us.) You can also put a stool at the changing table for your toddler, ask them to get you diapers or burp cloths, and even teach them how to help burp the baby. This encourages little ones and empowers them to be a big brother or big sister!
2. Read During Quiet Times – We found that reading while nursing was a great way to bond together. Our toddler loved to turn the pages and show the pictures to her little sister. This was a great activity to keep a two year old’s attention for 15-20 minutes. This was one of Lila’s favorite’s to read called “The New Baby“. This one called “My New Baby” was good too, especially explaining why babies need so much milk!
3. Give Your Child Their Own Baby – Most experts encourage parents to give your child a baby doll prior to the arrival of a sibling to prepare the older child. So let them nurse or feed their own baby! Even boys do this and that’s perfectly normal. (My nephew used a stuffed squirrel!) Teach them to diaper the baby and how to touch and hold the baby…gently of course! Lila loved her Cinderella baby doll and this bath doll during bath time.
4. Fill a Basket with Activities – I had a basket in the nursery filled with little items from the Dollar Tree and $1 bins at Target for Lila when I nursed the baby. There was silly putty, coloring books and crayons, invisible ink books, water wows, a slinky, and other little odds and ends. When she would get antsy it was fun for her to rifle through and pick something new to do! It’s ironic though that my water broke while standing in line at Michael’s to pay for said items. I waited too, and paid before I drove myself to the hospital. Oye!
Just like any transition, it takes time to adjust to a second baby. We found that after eight weeks we were in an awesome groove of feeding baby #2. You will be too!