Being organised – the key to stress free feeding times
On many an occasion I have heard, and it’s certainly true in my experience, that when baby number two enters the household – it’s the toddler that can be a challenge. The baby stuff becomes the easy part. This includes the issue of what to do with your toddler whilst you are breastfeeding, or bottle feeding your new baby. I have put together some ideas you can try below for keeping your toddler amused whilst you are feeding, but I also think that the solution starts before the newborn arrives.
Talking to your Toddler
Kids love to hear stories of when they were babies. This might be a good way to broach the subject of a new baby arriving in their lives. Show them pictures of themselves as a baby and how in most pictures, someone is holding them or feeding them. Explain why new babies need to be held and fed, and how they might be able to help with this process once the baby arrives. Some days, your toddler won’t stay still long enough to listen, but other days you might be surprised at what they comprehend.
Including your toddler in this way means at the very least they will have some idea of what to expect, and it won’t be a big surprise. And therefore it’s less likely they will have a negative perspective. History tells us though, that no matter what you do, there’ll be good days and bad – here are some ideas to keep your toddler happy, giving you time to feed at your and baby’s pace.
On many occasions, as soon as you sit to feed your baby, your toddler will be hungry or want a drink. It is a great idea to pre-prepare some cut up fruit or vegetables, or other healthy snacks, and put them on a low shelf in the fridge where the toddler can access them by themselves. Equally, have a drink bottle ready to go, so they can access it autonomously. Not only does this prevent the need to get up whilst feeding, but it also makes your child feel satisfaction that they can do things for themselves – undoubtedly an important life skill. Cut up carrots, cucumber or cheese sticks can be good ideas – or strawberries and other fruits. You could thread some fruit onto a stick to up the fun factor.
Singing and Stories
It may sound counter-intuitive; however feeding your baby can be a good opportunity to give your attention wholly to your toddler. You can watch them dance uninterrupted, sing songs with them without having to stop and stir the dinner, and you can tell them stories about when they were babies, or when you were a kid. By entertaining them in this way, they are less likely to feel left out, and get into things that create mess and destruction!
Of course we don’t always feel in a singing kind of mood, and if you just want to sit quietly and feed your baby, you could always fall back on food, or maybe get out some puzzles your toddler hasn’t seen for a while.
Whilst I am not a childhood development expert, I think that puzzles are great for kid’s brains and development, including problem solving skills and logic – both very important in a technology driven future. I suggest having a rotation of puzzles, so that kids are not doing the same one over and over. Different puzzles will maintain their interest and therefore keep them occupied longer whilst you feed. Some soft music can calm the mood and create an atmosphere where you can still talk and interact. Put the puzzles close to you, so you can direct them if required and ensure they are not too hard for your child, causing them to just give up quickly.
Helping Mummy or Daddy
Following on from talking to your toddler pre-baby arrival, you can also prepare them for their role in helping with the new baby. This might include getting the cushion so you can feed, or pulling out baby’s new nappy and unfolding it all ready for when you’re finished feeding. There are lots of ways your toddler can feel like they’re helping and most children respond to this responsibility really well. Some ideas include: Finding the baby’s clothes for the day, opening up the baby wipes packet, shaking the bottle if you are bottle feeding, and singing or talking to the baby whilst you are preparing meals.
Being Organised and Making Plans
Just about all of these ideas, require a small amount of forethought, and a little bit of being organised. I have always found that having a routine or plan is a good thing as, although you don’t always fulfil it, it still gives you something to work towards. Don’t be hard on yourself if you don’t achieve what you thought you were going to – we’re only human after all.
One great way to remain ahead of the game is to have ready-to-go meals in the freezer for your toddler when required. We have some great toddler mains [https://www.babybistro.com.au/our-menu/#toddlermains] to choose from, or you can use some of these to make other toddler friendly recipes, like our Chicken Chia Pies, or Sweet Potato Gnocchi.
Do you have any hints and tips for keeping your toddler amused whilst feeding your baby that you would like to share with us? Comment below.