How To Pump With A Newborn And Toddler | 6 Simple Ideas To Keep Them Occupied
The idea of pumping breast milk at home with a newborn baby and a toddler in tow may feel daunting and overwhelming. You are not alone! We’re here to remind you that moms are superheroes, and you can do the impossible, including keeping two children entertained while pumping.
This post contains the best tips, tricks, activities, and advice for moms with little ones at home that need entertainment while you pump. If you are stressed about how to pump with a newborn and toddler at home, keep reading.
We’ve heeded the advice of seasoned mothers who have pumped, breastfed, and bottle-fed their newborn babies with toddlers at home for this post. You will live to tell the tale!
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Table of Contents
What do I do with my newborn while pumping?
Pumping with a newborn takes a good amount of multitasking — if you’re limited to the couch or at the table while you pump, it doesn’t seem possible to entertain your new baby simultaneously. The best way to set yourself up for success when it comes to pumping with a newborn is to plan to pump around their nap schedule.
If your newborn typically takes a nap shortly after eating (as most do), try to fit in at least one pump session during naps. If you are breastfeeding and trying to pump on the side, it’s recommended to pump at least 30 minutes after the baby nurses and at least an hour before the baby will breastfeed again.
If you can’t pump while your baby naps, try to pump while the baby is being held and occupied by another family member or caretaker or while the baby is eating from a bottle.
If your baby is mellow and will hang out in a bouncer or lounger while you pump, take advantage of that time! It may not always be that way, so a routine that involves pumping during the baby’s playtime is ideal.
How to keep your toddler busy while pumping
For many moms, occupying the toddler in the house is much more challenging than keeping a newborn baby content while your hands are full. Here are a few ways to keep your toddler engaged, entertained, and involved while you pump during the day.
Make a busy box
A busy box contains small toys, activities, and games that will keep your toddler entertained for more than 30 seconds (parents of toddlers know how short those attention spans are!)
In the busy box, include a special toy that they can only use while you’re pumping. This will make it a more exciting and enticing activity and will hopefully keep them distracted for an extended period of time.
Try to fill the busy box with toys that your toddler can play with for up to 20 minutes or as long as a typical pumping session takes. If you think an activity board would be more effective for your child, here’s an awesome Montessori-style board that will distract them for at least 15 minutes.
Or find random stuff like what’s on the busy board and put it in the box. Think old phones, springy door stoppers, latches, light switches, large beads, a calculator. You know the random kind of stuff your toddler enjoys playing with!
Read books with your toddler
Have your child pick out a few of their favorite books to read together while you’re pumping. Explain that once you’ve sat down and the pump is out, you can’t get up again, so it’ll be their responsibility to choose more books to read if they go through them all before you’ve finished pumping.
Encourage your toddler to read their favorite books to the new baby so that they can share some of their interests and hobbies.
Pump during a meal
Pumping during a meal is a great idea as long as your partner, another adult, or older child is around to help.
Place your newborn in a swing or bouncer nearby, and make sure your other children have everything they need to eat a meal without requiring you to get up 100 times.
Pump in the car
If you have a wireless pump or buy a cap adaptor for your pump, take it on the go. Try to plan for one of your pumping sessions for the car when your children are occupied and secured in their car seats.
Allow screen time
If you limit screen time in your household, plan for one pump session when your children can watch TV or use the tablet. They will begin to look forward to your pump time because they know they’ll be able to watch a show, movie, or get to play a game.
Teach them some fun, simple games that you can play without getting up and moving around. Easy, fun games include I Spy and the Floor is Lava, just to name a few.
At our house, I’ll make sure there’s stuff all around the room. Not hard when there’s a toddler around! Anyways, I’ll say “Tiptoe to the couch!” “Now crawl to the door.” “Hop over to the window.” For more advanced kids, you could try a game like Simon Says.
I know we mentioned books earlier, but the I Spy books even have a board book edition that’s great for 2-3 year olds!
Before you start pumping, build a fort out of couch cushions and blankets with your child and have them eat lunch, read a book, or watch a show in their hideout while you pump.
Explaining pumping to a toddler
Toddlers are curious about everything. You probably answer 500 questions a day if you have a toddler at home, and that curiosity will only heighten if you bring out a new device they’ve never seen before.
It’s important to explain to your toddler that it’s the mom’s job to make sure the baby eats at the beginning of its life. Explain how the breast pump draws milk from your breasts and why the baby needs to drink milk when they are very young because they can’t eat “big kid food” yet.
Show your child how the pump pieces fit together and give them the important responsibility of switching the pump’s power button on and off when you ask them to. Giving a toddler a job is a great way to keep them involved, curious, and excited about any task, no matter how mundane.
How do you entertain your toddler while breastfeeding a newborn?
Breastfeeding a newborn is challenging; throwing a needy toddler into the mix can get stressful quickly, especially if you aren’t prepared.
Fortunately, most of the activities we listed above can also be used to entertain your toddler if you are primarily breastfeeding. You will be holding the baby, so your hands will be full instead of your lap.
Try asking your toddler to sing to the baby, read him books, or tell him stories while nursing.
Wrap up- How to pump with a newborn and toddler
Every child is different, and in time, you will find a routine and activities that work for your toddler while you feed the baby.
We salute you if you’re a mom to a newborn and a toddler. The journey of motherhood with two young children is a wild ride, and you are doing great! It’s awesome how one strives to survive the first few weeks with a newborn and toddler.
We hope this post gives you some new ideas on how to pump with a newborn and toddler at home, whether you’re exclusively pumping or pumping a few times a day to keep your supply up. Either way, you are a hero to your children and moms everywhere.
Feeding and entertaining multiple children with two hands should be an Olympic sport, so don’t downplay what you achieve in this phase of life. Don’t forget to ask for help if you feel overwhelmed — every season of motherhood is new and different, and no one expects you to do it alone.