A few months ago, I was thinking about how to occupy my not-quite-2 year old during newborn nursing sessions. Eventually I hope to walk around the house feeding the baby one-handed #likeaboss , but I know that doesn’t happen right away.
Enter the Nursing Box: a box of never-before-seen toys to keep your toddler entertained while you’re feeding the baby. It turns out this is not a new concept at all; mamas have already done this and written about it, like When At Home and Rainy Day Mum bloggers. I also like this list of 35 ways to entertain a toddler while breastfeeding a newborn.
The idea is that the box will come out only when the baby is being fed, so your older child will start to look forward to this time. He’ll choose something to play with, some of which encourages self-play and some that I can half-participate in.
Granted, this is all trial, error and plenty of wishful thinking for us right now. I don’t even know if it will work yet! But I remember parking it on the couch for hours feeding newborn Brady. I’m having trouble imagining that happening with a busy toddler who 1) constantly moves from room to room, 2) prefers my undivided attention, and 3) still needs supervision so he doesn’t eat dog kibble (been there) or leave the house through the garage door (done that). I hope that having a few tricks up my sleeve will help everyone ease into life with two littles.
Perks of a nursing box:
- You can tailor the toys to your child’s interests and age range. The stuff below is most appropriate for a toddler between 20 months- just over 2 years.
- If it’s working well, keep adding new toys every few weeks!
- Every item below was $3 or less.
- Of course, this isn’t just for breastfeeding mamas! It will work equally well for anyone preparing a bottle and feeding a baby.
I found this box at Marshall’s for $8, and it’s perfect for the job! You could also use any old box, shoebox, basket or bag.
I stocked our box with things that were cheap, simple and easy for Brady to understand on his own. He likes puzzles, tactile objects and anything that makes noise. I found nearly everything here at Target, Marshall’s and Dollar Tree. Here’s a quick run-down of items & prices:
- 12-piece puzzle boxes: $3 each at Target
- Foam number puzzle: $1 at Dollar Tree
- Window gel clings: $1 each at Target. My friend Lauren suggested these, and Brady loves to move his first set of clings around the window. These are new shapes that he hasn’t seen yet.
- Grow-an-animal: $1 at Target
- Imagine Ink “coloring” book: $3 at Target
- Floam: $1 at Target
- Book – $3 at Marshall’s
Marshall’s is one of the best places to buy cheap books! I see some great ones there, like Little Blue Truck, Boynton, Llama Llama, etc. How could I pass up a book that talks about vegetables and table manners?
- Harmonica: $1 at Dollar Tree
- Kazoos: 25 cents at Party City
- Xylophone: I’ve actually had this awhile, but it’s been one of the most helpful diaper bag toys ever. I can’t tell you the number of times it’s kept his attention when I needed it to. I believe it was around $2 at Drug Mart.
- Mini Play-Doh cups
- Foam rocket launchers
- Finger puppets
I’ve had these things for awhile, but I’ll recommend them for a nursing box because they’re seriously great attention grabbers! Brady still likes to play with them even though they’re old news. I don’t remember prices, but they were all super cheap from Target in the party favor aisle.
Last but not least, here’s a fantastic post on Indoor Activities for Toddlers from my friend Lindsay. She became a mom of two in November, and she seriously does the best job keeping her toddler happy and entertained with indoor games. I just bought pom-poms and pipe cleaners and have been stocking up on the toilet paper rolls so we can copy them.