In my house, we have a “no standing and jumping on the couch” rule. My daughter decides to test this rule daily, and especially did back when I was sitting on the sofa feeding her then baby brother.
“Look Mommy, Look Mommy,” she’d say to me, as I was occupied and unable to easily stop her. I’m sure she was just trying to get my attention, but I wished for a better solution for keeping her busy than turning on the television.
This is why I so love the solution to this problem that is today’s hint: the feeding bag.
What’s a feeding bag, you’re probably wondering? It’s a special bag, basket or other container for each older child, filled with activities and toys, that you bring out just when you’re feeding, or otherwise tending to, your new addition (a variation of my magic pitcher idea and the Rookie Moms’ toddler busy bag suggestion). The exact activities and toys will vary depending on your child, but they should be ones that an older child enjoys and doesn’t have access to otherwise.
I learned about this concept from my sister, who was expecting her second child at the time and heard the tip at a class on juggling two kids. And it turns out, others are fans of this trick too. Blogger Greta Cheney calls the concept a “nursing box,” and offers examples of box contents, including play doh and action figures.
Meanwhile, one postpartum doula notes that the trick with making “a breastfeeding bag” successful “lies in keeping the bag a novelty.” Other proponents of variations of the concept include Powerful Mothering, Play at Home Mom LLC and moms commenting at Mamapedia.
I didn’t learn about this approach until it was too late to put it into practice myself. But if I had created a feeding bag, it would have contained different drawing materials than my daughter’s usual crayons, a coloring book and some DIY paper bracelets she could decorate.
What are your tips for keeping older children occupied while you’re busy feeding, or tending to, a younger one?