Feeding a newborn with an energetic toddler twirling around the house can be tricky, but keeping two tots happy at once is possible.
We asked our huge Facebook community of mums what they do to keep their little firecrackers busy while feeding the new bub, and their ideas are genius. From a change of scenery to activity trays and busy boxes, there are a bunch of great ideas to keep your big kids happy while you settle down and feed the baby.
Here are 20 tips to entertain a toddler while feeding a newborn.
Create busy bags or a busy box
Keeping a few special (but cheap and cheerful) activities stowed away for feeding time is a genius way to catch toddler’s attention. (via Powerful Mothering)
And if you like the look of the storage bags in the video above you can get one (here).
“I have busy boxes for my two-and-a-bit-year-old. They aren’t always out, so he doesn’t get bored with them and I put new things in them. One is rice play, another playdough, threading animals from Kmart, the magnetic fishing game from Kmart, colour sorting with little bowls.” – Nina
Dive into books
If you can manage to have one hand free while feeding (or toddler is happy to hold the book) feeding baby time can also become toddler story time. Or if you’re game, sticker books are a great distraction.
“Reading books and busy board with locks and screws on it. I give him a screwdriver and he unscrews everything.” – Pip
“He LOVES sticker books … yes, there are little stickers everywhere and on his sister, but great for fine motor!” – Layla
“Kmart has a reusable sticker book and my son has loved it! It’s been keeping him busy.” – Tracey
Tried and true toys
Keep aside some special toys that only get brought out at feed times. Your toddler will have a positive association with mum feeding bub, rather than feel it’s taking you away from them. And there’s no need to fork out for new toys all the time – just visit your local toy library.
“Playdough is popular with my Mr Two.” – Faith
“My boy is obsessed with making diggers and cars out of Duplo. We initially showed him how to make them and he just sits there making his own for ages. Playdough is also a winner as well as riding on his balance bike outside.” – Veronica
“Play-Doh, TV, doctor kit.” – Sam
“We make cubby house (sheet over some chairs). Novel toy from the toy library help keep them interested but the best thing is you can change them frequently.” – Casey
Take it outside
A change of scenery always helps, so if you find your toddler is climbing the walls at feed time, take the walls down!
“If you have a wooden fence a bucket of water and large paintbrush to ‘paint’ the fence with the water, chalk outside or on a chalkboard if you have one.” – Tenille
“I feed outside when it’s warm enough. It keeps us all sane! On the yuck weather days, I’m more relaxed with TV time.” – Jenny
“My busybody is three next month and youngest is eight weeks. It’s been a challenge trying to juggle the two in terms of finding entertainment for the eldest! My girl is rather independent so loves to play off in her own little world. She loves to play in the garden and in the dirt so if I nurse outside she will 99% of the time we occupied at she has bowls and spades and makes ‘pies’.” – Penny
Turn on the TV
There’s no need to get the guilts about letting your tot watch their favourite show while you feed. If you keep TV time as a reward while feeding it’s more likely to keep their attention.
“Netflix has been my saviour. There is an entire kids catalogue. I put it on when I’m feeding. Otherwise reading books and colouring in.” – Sally
“Snack and TV. We watch a show while I feed and burb.” – Paula
Get the creative juices flowing with play trays that keep toddlers entertained and learning.
“I set up different play trays. Some trays can keep her busy for up to one hour depending on what it is. They are messy but I just put out a mat or she plays inside a pop-up pen. All the ‘play’ is linked to learning and the development of gross or fine motor skills:
- We make rainbow rice and then she spends time scooping and pouring. An alternative is I hide animals or letters in the rice and she uses tongs or a scoop to find them then we talk abt what letter or what sound the animal makes.
- Mud pit – we mix up a goopy mixture of flour and water with food coloring, I put it in an oven tray then give her a big bowl of water, a toothbrush and some plastic animals. She spends time covering them with goop and then washing them.
- Bicarb and vinegar tray – bicarb in a tray then vinegar in little cups with food coloring I give her a syringe to put the vinegar onto the bicarb. The bicarb fizzes and she loves this.
- Small world play – tray with a patch of fake grass, blue rice for water, brown lentils for mud and small animals.” – Jenny
If you’re looking for other ways to entertain your toddler we have heaps of articles on learning and developmental play that you might like to read next.
- 9 ‘lay down and play’ activities for tired mums and busy kids
- 34 ways to fine-tune a toddler’s fine motor skills
- 18 water play activities for toddlers
Ask another mum…
When in doubt, ask other mums. There are hundreds of first, second and third-time mums in our Baby Facebook groups who are eager to help, all you have to do is join a group and ask.
Click below and join your group today!