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Baby Feeding Schedule with Older Child(ren). When and how to fit in feeding a baby when you have older children.
I see many questions about what to do with the older child while nursing the baby. There are many good ideas of ways you can set your schedule up so you can feed baby and keep your toddler or preschooler safe and occupied. Here are some tips.
What to do with toddler or preschooler while baby eats
Some things I did with Brayden were reading a story while nursing or him giving me a car and he and I would drive cars on the couch while I nursed.
This can be really hard, though, when you are nursing those sleepy newborns. It takes pretty much all of your focus and energy to keep that baby awake and taking a full feeding. Those older kids also quickly realize that when Mommy is nursing, she is tied down. It is a perfect time to try those things you have always wanted to do. Brayden is a very obedient boy, so that lasted all of a few minutes, but it can be a point of stress for you as you are juggling more than one child. It can be basically impossible if your child is a heavy boundary tester.
Expect Patience from Your Child
This is part of life with a sibling. You learn to wait for attention and your wants and needs to be fulfilled if the other sibling has more pressing needs. You learn patience. This is a harsh reality for the oldest child when the second child first comes home. But they learn and all survive. It is not a bad thing for a child to learn to sacrifice, wait, and put the needs of others above their own.
Set Up the Baby Feeding Schedule so Older Child is Occupied
I scheduled Kaitlyn’s nursing schedule so that Brayden was only with us for one feeding while my husband was not home. Here is the breakdown:
- Kaitlyn’s first nursing: I chose to wake Kaitlyn up 30 minutes after I got Brayden up. I got Brayden up and fed him breakfast before I got Kaitlyn up to nurse. By the time Kaitlyn was born, Brayden would watch TV if he had some toys to play with also. That was his TV time for the day. I sat in the room with him and nursed Kaitlyn while he “watched” TV. He was a big help and would run and get stuff if I needed him to, such as diapers, burp rags, etc.
- Kaitlyn’s second nursing: Brayden was in independent playtime.
- Kaitlyn’s third nursing: Brayden was down for a nap.
- Kaitlyn’s fourth nursing: Brayden was still sleeping. He slept for 3-4 hours, so I fed her as soon as he went down and then right before he got up.
- After that, DH was home so I didn’t have to worry about juggling the two.
I think the evening could be the hardest if you were alone, but if you are in that situation, try to line things up so that your older child is engaged in something as you nurse the baby.
At first, Brayden and Kaitlyn rarely saw each other because of the way her waketimes lined up, but it was been fine. I was able to have a lot of one on one with him and also with her. They are great friends now and haven’t suffered at all for it. A baby that young isn’t terribly interesting to a 22 month old boy anyway.
Now, I could have gotten her up before him and had all feedings alone. I didn’t do this for several reasons:
- Kaitlyn had reflux. Because of her reflux, I needed to keep her upright after a feeding. This would have been harder to do while getting breakfast ready for Brayden.
- I wanted Brayden to learn. I wanted him to see that there was another person deserving and needing of my attention. I wanted him to learn to share Mommy and have patience. He was able to slowly get used to this and had no resentment or jealousy of Kaitlyn in the least.
- I like to do baths in the morning. I like to bath my kids in the morning, so I was able to feed and bath Kaitlyn in the morning since I wasn’t getting breakfast together for Brayden.
As time when on, Kaitlyn’s schedule shifted and was around more while Brayden was awake and not in independent play. It was a slow transition that everyone was comfortable with.