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Ten Activities That Will Occupy Your Toddler While You Nurse Your Newborn

That thought hits you all through your pregnancy, the fear of keeping two alive.

Heck, even just keeping them HAPPY! How do you split you love and attention?

If you are planning to breastfeed, you will most likely be on your couch for the majority of the day with your breastfeeding pillow, a giant glass of water, and the newest, hungriest member of the family. This might sound scary, but I'm here to say- it's reality. The first couple of weeks post-partum keep you in a bubble of breastmilk, snuggles, pajamas and recovery.

Newborns eat a minimum of 8 to 12 times a day! That can be overwhelming to some especially when you have another toddler to look after.

These activities keep your toddler's attention and are easy to prep and clean-up!

Here are ten, fun, educational activities that will keep your toddler occupied while you are nursing.

1. Play- Dough/ Sensory dough

Go ahead and sit your child down in their high chair and give them a couple simple tools; cookie cutters, small rolling pin, plastic butter knife, and one container of Play-Dough. You can buy yourself twenty minutes, easily! You may have to position your chair so you have eye view of them.

2. Dance Party!

Invest in one tutu (Hello dollar store!) or a fancy vest and declare that they are a rock star! My daughter will spend an hour if I would let her, prancing around as a ballerina, or a cheerleader. My son will dance to any song over and over and over... If you are limiting TV you can turn on the radio or a CD, toddlers love putting on a show!

3. Pouring exercise, Montessori Style

A few containers and large marbles, beans, or beads make this an educational activity that's great for hand eye coordination and cognitive skills! They can pour the small objects into different containers with small pitchers or just the containers themselves- nesting cups are great for this activity!

4. Making a Necklace

Simple string (thicker string or a pipe cleaner ) and some larger beads or even pasta (rigatoni works great for little fingers,) makes and easy activity that shouldn't need lots of help from a grown up.

5. Sensory Bag

Fill a small bag ( preferably fabric and not see through,) with small toys and objects of different textures and shapes. Have them feel the object inside the bag before taking it out and guess what it could be. They will pull it out and see if it was what they thought or something totally different and surprising!

6. Painting with Water

Kids love to paint but the prep and clean up even with water colors can be hard if you have a nursling or a sleeping infant in the house. Skip the traditional paint and instead grab a few different sized brushes or sponges and color construction paper and water. That's it!

7. Stickers!

Add stickers to your baby registry! Keep them in a handy ziplock bag for your toddler to go nuts with on construction paper, boxes, toilet paper rolls- the great thing about stickers: they stick on anything and kids never seem to get bored of them. Another cool thing to collect before baby arrives is fabric scraps. These can make a fun sensory item or keep handy for crafts.

8. Dry Erase Game

Dry erase boards are a dollar at the Dollar Store! Have your toddler draw a letter or image and then you can guess what it is! This is a great way to practice writing, drawing and fine motor skills.

9. Scavenger Hunt

My kids are now 7 and 10 and still love playing this game!

Depending on your toddlers age you can do this two ways. The easiest is to call out an object and have them search and go find the object and bring it to you. "Find something red and round!" etc.

The other way can be great for older toddlers and kids maybe working on reading skills. Take little pieces of paper and draw pictures of different places in your home. (the t.v., the fridge, the potty, the stairs, etc.) place the clues at different places in the home- each clue leads to another clue. The end result can be a fun little surprise or treat!

10. What am I?

This game lets your toddler act out an animal or person and you can guess who/what they are. The alternative is to call out an animal or character and have them act it out. "Act like Princess Ariel!" "Can you pretend you are a fireman?"

I hope these activities are helpful and give you some time to focus on your new little one. Mother guilt can get to the best of us but try and take each day in stride. I love the saying, the days are long but the years are short!

Nurse on mama!

Need Breastfeeding support? Local to NC, Lactation Counseling Services offers Virtual and In-person Breastfeeding support.

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