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Mothering › Groups › November 2011 Due Date Club › Discussions › Activities for older children while breastfeeding baby

Activities for older children while breastfeeding baby

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

Just thought I'd start a thread where the repeat-mamas could pool ideas on what to do with our older kids while we are breastfeeding the newest family members, especially since it will be autumn/winter at the time. Then, when we are stuck for ideas we can come here and get inspired. 

 

I have a toddler, two-and-a-half, and I'm hoping to put together some activity packs for her to play with while I'm busy with the baby. I also wanted to have a basket of new-to-her toys that only come out when I'm breastfeeding.

 

Some ideas for activity kits:

 

Homemade playdough, cookie cutters etc.

Felt board and felt animals, also felt dress-up dolls

Safety scissors and strips of paper, pieces of yarn

Contact paper and little colourful bits (when they are done, a parent puts another piece of contact paper on the top for a see-through collage that you can hang in the window)

Glue sticks and paper bits

A cleaning kit, so she can "clean" things (sponge, spray bottle, rag)

 

We're also partway through making her a dollhouse, and hope to have a couple of little people to go in it (I'll probably needle-felt them) so that she can play dollhouse whenever. 

 

She loves imaginitive play with her little animals, dolls and stuffies, so I'm trying to think of things I can have around to facilitate certain "storylines" that she can run with. Like: 

 

A doctor's kit

 

OK, that's all I've got for those. :P I need to think a bit more. 

 

I will always have markers/crayons/paper/colouring books handy, as well as books, blocks and her usual toys.

 

She's not great at independent play just yet, so I'd love some more suggestions of things that a toddler-almost-preschooler can do by herself. I don't mind a bit of mess that can be cleaned up after the baby has been fed. 

post #2 of 16

Aww... what a great thread idea! smile.gif

post #3 of 16

I agree, this is a good idea.  This kind of thing hadn't really occurred to me!  My first two are 5 years apart, so this kind of thing wasn't really an issue.  I will probably count on Christmas presents helping us along.  I would hate to buy too much stuff right before Christmas, as it seems like we get so over-run at that time of year anyway.  Some things I might do though..

 

Complete our doll house.  It's mine from when I was a kid, but it needs some repairs.

 

Easy craft stuff.  I really like the idea of glue, scissors, etc.  I already have a ton of things, I just need to make it easy to grab.

 

New dvd's

 

New books

 

New doll clothes or other things for her babies.

 

I am thinking about making a tiny Moby carrier so that we can carry our babies together.  Should be easy enough to cut a long piece of fabric.

 

I also have a puppet theater that we've never really used.  My DS really wasn't into playing pretend, so it's been in the cabinet for years.  Maybe I'll get a few puppets and some tension rods (it goes in a doorway) and set it up for her.

 

 

 

 

 

 

post #4 of 16

Well I have planned on wearing my baby in a Moby and sling for most of the time, and probably BFing in them too.  I did not do this with my first- do you think it will be too difficult to BF while doing other things when the baby is newborn?  I always sat down or layed down to BF DD, I never nursed in a carrier but I have heard it is easy....

As far as the things for toddler to do, DD loves to get into her toybox and just sit in there and play with things and throw them out lol!  Thankfully DH will be home for at least 2 weeks, maybe a month after baby is born so we can really get the hang of BFing, and he can be there to entertain DD while I do so.

post #5 of 16

I got a bunch of new and interesting toys for when the baby comes. I'm hoping it will help. I'm also thinking about putting together activity bags like this. This site has lots of great ideas- http://www.mydeliciousambiguity.com/2010/06/toddler-busy-bag.html

post #6 of 16


I plan to sling a lot too.  I hadn't done that with DS1 either so I'm sure there will be an adjustment period but my DH is also taking the first 2 weeks off work and then going back part-time for 4 weeks.  I think I'll have the hang of it by the time he goes back though.  My DS is a really independent play-er so I didn't really think much about this.  He is content to play trains or trucks or puzzles all by himself (or DH will be here).  

 

So basically, I could have written your post myself, Ilove4ever :-)  lol!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 1love4ever View Post

Well I have planned on wearing my baby in a Moby and sling for most of the time, and probably BFing in them too.  I did not do this with my first- do you think it will be too difficult to BF while doing other things when the baby is newborn?  I always sat down or layed down to BF DD, I never nursed in a carrier but I have heard it is easy....

As far as the things for toddler to do, DD loves to get into her toybox and just sit in there and play with things and throw them out lol!  Thankfully DH will be home for at least 2 weeks, maybe a month after baby is born so we can really get the hang of BFing, and he can be there to entertain DD while I do so.



 

post #7 of 16

I'm actually sort of wondering how it will work out to sling a baby and have a 2yo.  I feel like my toddler still needs to be carried or helped a lot.  I wore my DS and DD almost constantly while they were newborns, but I didn't have to juggle a toddler too.  I've never mastered nursing a newborn (I can nurse an older child in an Ergo though) in a carrier, but I can nurse and walk around.  I suppose it will all work itself out in the end..

post #8 of 16
Thread Starter 

I plan to wear the baby a lot too - but I know that I'll likely have trouble nursing the baby until they have better head control. I loved nursing DD in the Ergo, but couldn't really do so until she was 4 or 5 months old. I have huge (massive, cumbersome) boobs, so I always need at least one hand when I nurse, and with a newborn I need both hands, and a series of pillows. So I have to try and get DD playing on her own, and like you Abra, my toddler needs a lot of carrying and help and physical contact to operate.

 

Moms of independent players: Is there some kind of strategy to getting your LO to play on their own, or is it just a developmental/temperament thing? 

post #9 of 16

My first 2 are 2 1/2 years apart and #2 lived in the sling.  Otherwise we read books or nursed while the baby was nursing.  This time they'll be 8 1/2 and 6, so I think they will mostly play together, but we will keep a full stock of library books in the house and lots of math print outs.  Then when #4 comes they will be 9, 6 1/2 and 6 months.  Hopefully I'll be able to distract the 3 older ones while DP nurses for the first month before I start back to work.  Then she will have her hands full but I will try to only work on days when the 2 littlest ones are home.  The hope is to only have to work 4-6 days a month, so hopefully it won't be too bad.

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayPea View Post

 

Moms of independent players: Is there some kind of strategy to getting your LO to play on their own, or is it just a developmental/temperament thing? 


Hmmm... I think it's really just his temperament.  I've babysat kids younger than DS that are super active and more dependent, so I think it starts pretty early.  DS has always enjoyed just flipping through a book on his own, and now it's evolved into imaginative play and such with train sets, etc.  I think like anything else, though, you could start by asking them to play quietly for 3 minutes or so while you do something (dry your hair? etc, something where you're nearby) and then see how it goes, adding more time each time.  I'm always near my DS while he plays, but I can sit and knit quietly while he plays, or I can do the dishes etc.  He comes to check in - maybe get a hug or tell me a story- before going back to play.  Luckily he has gotten used to not being carried when we're around the house- I can't hold him very much with this big belly!

 

I had to laugh, Abra, about walking and nursing. When my DS was young he would NOT let me sit and nurse.  He'd kick and squirm until I stood up and walked around.  I always joked that he liked his meals on wheels.  Lol!

 

post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by KayPea View Post

 

Moms of independent players: Is there some kind of strategy to getting your LO to play on their own, or is it just a developmental/temperament thing? 



I think it is a temperament thing. Dd1 was always very independent and quiet. She naturally played on her own a lot. 

 

 

So I've btdt with nursing a newborn and having a toddler, but of course the memory has grown foggy over the years. It still surprises me how that happens! Anyway, I do remember going out a lot. I think I tried to do something everyday. The science museum, library story time, weekly playgroup, the park, etc. I live in the south, so November is still pretty warm. Also, November is close to Christmas, so we had lots of presents to distract dd1 after that. Um... I think I made sure her kitchen set was well stocked. Lots of library books. Sometimes we would watch a movie. I think dd2 got dragged around a lot while trying to nurse! :)

 

Oh, one of my favorite things that always gave me 30 mins of peace: mommy beauty salon. Get out lotions, q-tips, cotton balls, make-up, hair brushes, hair clips, spray bottle of water, anything you don't mind your toddler playing with. Then, they get to do a mommy make-over. Both my dds loved this. I could actually even nap during that time! They would rub lotion on my legs, put make-up on me, style my hair, etc. They always loved it because they normally couldn't have that stuff. 

 

And I have to include a pic from one of those times... this was 7.5 years ago and dd1 was giving herself a make-over, too. She's asking, "I look petty, mama?" here.

 

DSC00491.JPG

post #12 of 16


I think she did a better job that I could do now.  And I forgot about the going out every day thing.  We were back to our science museum, zoo, mall, park routine at 1 week post partum.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TalkToMeNow View Post

And I have to include a pic from one of those times... this was 7.5 years ago and dd1 was giving herself a make-over, too. She's asking, "I look petty, mama?" here.

 

DSC00491.JPG



 

post #13 of 16
The independent play thing is almost completely temperamental. My dd was one of those that would not play alone. Starting around 4 she began to choose to play alone in her room sometimes and I attribute that to two things: age and her brother's nap. When ds got a bit older and I needed the house to be quiet to get him down for his nap I started having dd go upstairs to her room or downstairs into the basement to play. Sometimes I would put on a DVD. After a while she got into the routine and every time he was going down she knew "upstairs or downstairs" and she really got into playing in her room with her dolls and sticker books. Sometimes I would go get her after ds was asleep and she would be sitting on her bed just looking at books. It was amazing!

Nursing in carriers never worked for us so I always sat on the couch to nurse. As for as suggestions for activities go, I read a lot about the "quiet box" which is something you put together and only pull out at nap time, containing quiet activities. Not really happening for my dd. I also got a lot of recommendations to read to her while I was nursing ds- not happening for either of them. Ds would get distracted and later start to hit the books and yell. Dd would want to crowd his space to see the book better... just not a good combo. Nursing happens so frequently that I gave up on actually setting dd up with an activity prior to nursing, but while I sat there I might give her suggestions if it looked like she was having a hard time figuring out what to do. And honestly, I would not suggest activities that require clean up b/c you will be too exhausted to be cleaning stuff up. Make your life as easy as possible and stick with easier activities if you can. At least, that was me. Now that dd is older she can handle messier activities better and do a lot of the clean up on her own, but back then at age 3, not so much, with things like water colors, glue, cutting tiny scraps of paper, etc. Sticker books are nice, especially the kind that you can move the stickers around. I also started letting dd watch more TV like Sesame Street- especially in the mornings when I just couldn't get up yet and ds was still sleeping. Other recommendations: Signing Time, Dinosaur Train, and Magic School Bus. And I introduced her to the computer and she loves learning sites like StarFall and I like that she actually learns something.
post #14 of 16
Thread Starter 

i think that is going to be the hardest transition for us - not going out every day. I had an extremely hard time nursing in public with DD (because of the big boobs) and really it didn't get better until we could do nursing in the Ergo. I'm hoping it will be better this time around because I have 2.5 years of BF experience under my belt, but am planning for it to be just as difficult this time around which means only leaving the house between feeds (and since we don't drive, that limits our travelable distance to about 3 blocks.) Plus Vancouver is mega rainy, and when you walk everywhere, sometimes it's just nicer to stay home. 

 

DD will play on her own as long as I'm not engaged in an activity that she deems is more fun for me than playing with her. So I can't be on the computer, talking on the phone, knitting, reading or doing any kind of personal care at all (sometimes even peeing or getting dressed are issues!). If I am cleaning, gardening, cooking etc, she will play on her own, no problem. I'm hoping breastfeeding the baby will fall into the latter category, but imagine it will be the former. 

 

As far as going out every day goes - is anyone else worried about it being cold and flu season? 

post #15 of 16
I've got two winter babies and somehow both survived their first winters without illness. I really think all that mama's milk protects them well. But the second winter... ugh. Personally, I don't take my newborns out into crowded areas for the first 2 months or so, but we did get out of the house for walks, the park, etc. with baby in the carrier. I was also vigilant about dd washing her hands when we got back from any place that I deem germy (like the park, library, museums, etc.) before touching the baby. Often I would have her use hand sanitizer in the car before we even got home b/c she likes to suck her fingers still. You can make your own sanitizer, too.
post #16 of 16

 I went out all the time. Little one would just be in her carrier on me at all times. She never got sick. Like Jaimee said, when they got older they started getting little winter bugs. Kaypea, maybe someone on the breastfeeding forum would have advice on nursing. I always nursed dd in my mei tai, but I had tiny boobs back then, so I doubt my advice would be helpful. 

 

Reusable sticker books are great. I did let dd1 make tons of messes... I got really good at putting dd2 on my back in the mei tai to clean, cook, play, etc. But yeah, the messes sucked.

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