What do other parents do with their older children when their babies are having extended nursathons? Specifically, my problem of late is that my baby is very distractable. In order to have a full feeding session, I really need to take him upstairs to a quiet room. The mere presence of his older brother is such a delight to him, he couldn’t possibly focus on anything other than squealing and clapping his hands…or clawing his brother’s face.
I can usually get my big guy situated with some books or play dough for a few minutes, but sometimes it takes 20 minutes or more to nurse that baby, especially if I’m trying to put him down for a nap. It doesn’t really seem fair to ask a 3 year old to entertain himself that much, multiple times in a day. It’s also not always safe–even if I have Miles watching television, I’ll inevitably be called downstairs by some crash or tearful shouting…usually right at the crucial moment when baby Felix is just about but not quite asleep.
Of course it’s lovely when the three of us can curl up together on the couch and read books or chat while Felix is nursing. Someday, I hope bedtime will look like that, with the three of us cuddled in bed reading stories and singing songs. But right now the two kids stimulate each other so much that nobody calms down and I really need them to be in separate rooms for nursing/falling asleep.
Now that I’m thinking of it, I have the same problem when I’m trying to get Miles down for his nap if Felix is not feeling tired. Most of the time, I wait until Felix is asleep to start naptime for Miles, but sometimes the stars just don’t align and I’ve got a toddling baby roaming around unchecked while I’m trying to get a big kid to calm down.
I’d love to hear what strategies other parents have used to keep one child safe and occupied while mama has to be in another room taking care of another child! Leave a comment to share what worked for you.