This time last year I was pulling my hair out I had a 2-month-old and a 20-month-old. My 2-month-old was going through growth spurts left, right and centre which as we were breastfeeding and J was dealing with not having my undivided attention and each feed was causing all sorts of problems so we came up with a Nursing Box (OK it was a bag initially but over the months it developed into a box).
From an idea that my mom had passed on from when she had me and my brother the nursing box is a set of items that can be brought out specifically for the nursing time for a toddler to do when you have a new baby. I know that one of the most popular age gaps is between 1 year and 3 years which is also the most difficult in terms of toddler behaviour and without the understanding of what is going on which older children have specifically nursing can be difficult as unless you master the art (and believe me I tried and it is an art that I haven't got a clue with) of nursing within a carrier it usually involves sitting down for a length of time which provides you and the baby the perfect target for a toddler attack.
What's Inside the Nursing Box
So what's in the box - well this very much depends on what your child is interested in and their abilities at the time and as your new baby gets older these items can change. There are 3 must be's for the box though
- Can be either done independently by the toddler or needs you not to move - At 18 months J really didn't do independent play without us starting him off so we included things that I could do one handed - we had a soft ball that we could use inside, cars that used to be driven over the sofa, but as he got older we included things like wooden puzzles that he could do easily and books - lots of books, if the toys included in the box weren't working we had our special books (his favourites pre-T arriving) that were nursing books so the nursing time became a J, T and Mummy time and everyone was involved
- Can be set up quickly - play dough ready to go was great for us, I had pots on the side and as soon as T needed feeding I used to get it out on the table and J would go and play with it - we had a box of play dough tools that I only needed to lift the lid and he was good to go
- Items that are unique to this time - this was the most important part - we only brought the box out for nursing the rest of the time it was put out of the way and out of sight as well so it could neither be asked for nor be seen to get the "I wants"
Activity plans for Toddlers
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Fellow Mum Jamie who founded the fantastic Hands-on As We Grow has put together a set of activity plans for Toddlers called Play and they are the perfect way for busy mums to plan their activities. With 5 weeks of planned activities having a new baby you may not find the time to do all of the planned activities or even want to attempt them straight away but further on the packs there are lists are quick and easy suggestions perfect to dip in and do. That extra time that you spend whilst the baby naps is pure quality time with your toddler and these activity plans have plenty of suggestions so that you can play together.
Busy Bags your Mother's Helper
I love supporting small businesses and Etsy is the place to find busy bags that are perfect for this range. There is a HUGE selection and they have so many different possibilities. I loved the cookie and cooking bag for my kids they loved cooking the cookies and then we would count them in and count them out again. Another favorite the finger puppet farm - how cute are they?
What else helped with a Newborn and a Toddler
Of course, this didn't always work - nothing ever works 100% of the time and our fail safe was TV time, I got hold of his favorite programs and when it all got too difficult we would sit and cuddle on the sofa watching his favorite programs. Some days this would be more often the case especially if he was under the weather, teething, tired but the nursing box really helped.
Other Newborn and Pregnancy posts to read
- Pregnancy Capsule Wardrobe for Mums to be
- It's Ok to Not Enjoy your Pregnancy
- Natural Post-Caesarean Care for New Mums