You sit down to breast feed your newborn, when your three-year-old announces, “I have to go potty! And I need HELP!”
You are giving your newborn a bottle and your two year old starts eating the dog’s food out of the dog’s bowl.
Firstborns, in their “forever quest” to hoard all of your attention for all their waking moments, learn very quickly how to interrupt the feeding of a baby sibling if they feel ignored. Ways to entertain the first born:
Turn Feeding Your Newborn into a special treat for your older child. Say, “Oh YES! It is time to feed the baby, now we can…” Complete with whatever special treat your older child would enjoy:
…look at the Elmo flap book and open EVERY SINGLE FLAP as often as you want.
…listen to you sing every song from Frozen.
…listen to you tell every joke that you’ve ever learned.
…watch Peppa Pig together! And I will not fall asleep this time.
…bring out the special colored pencils for you to use that we only take out while we feed the baby.
… continue this long chapter book that we save for the times we feed the baby.
… take out this special puzzle that we only take out when the baby eats.
…(and if you are outside) get the spray bottle of water for you to water all of our trees and plants and grass! (most toddlers cannot resist a spray water bottle- hoard it for baby feeding times) or …get out the sidewalk chalk so you make art all over the driveway!
You get the idea. Now, instead of your saying, “Sorry Honey, we have to stop playing now because Baby has to eat,” you can make the experience a special privilege for your older child.
If your older child is napping during a feeding, then of course you can reward yourself with reading Two Peds in a Pod’s back posts during the feed!
Julie Kardos, MD and Naline Lai, MD
©2017 Two Peds in a Pod®