One of my major concerns with heading into the newborn phase was how to occupy Will while I nursed Emma. This is a really quick post on ideas that I have used with success and also some things that haven't worked so well. Please chime in with any ideas you might have. These same ideas would apply to any baby activity that you are doing (bottle feeding, changing the millionth blowout of the day, etc.).
We introduced television at about the same time that Emma was born. I think the fact that it was something "new and different" really worked for him. However, some of my friends have not found this to be a good distraction tool for their kids.
I usually try to nurse Emma while Will is having a meal or snack. I get him all situated with food and drink and then sit on the couch near his chair.
He is usually pretty happy to sit and color for around 20 minutes, which is about what a feeding takes.
This is Will's latest favorite. I set up his little indoor tent, put some books, blankets, and pillows inside and then crawl in, make myself comfortable to nurse, and we play camping. This also has worked when Emma wouldn't nap by herself so that she could nurse, fall asleep, and then I could lay down with her while Will played. He wouldn't stay in the tent the whole time, but he would come in and out and wouldn't go far (our playroom also is gated so he can't escape so I even got a brief snooze a couple of time, knowing he was right there and safe).
This works occasionally, but I found it hard to hold the books and nurse. However, I might have to move this up to the Good Category as we just started the "I Spy" books and they are great! I can open it to a page and we can get through at least one side of nursing without having to turn to another one. He is really interested in finding everything and it takes him awhile. If we do run out of their things to look for, then he asks me what other things are on the page.
2) Play Doh.
This might work better with an older kid, but Will still gets frustrated and can't do a lot with the doh by himself.
3) Stringing beads.
This works slightly better than Play Doh, since he can bring me the string if he needs help. But he gets bored pretty easily with bead stringing and I haven't gotten through an entire feed on it alone. This works better for a diaper change.
1) Feeding His Own Baby/Animal.
This is probably pretty kid-specifc, but Will could care less. He does enjoy feeing Emma an occasional bottle (well, part of one anyway, he's never managed to last a whole feeding), but he has no interest in feeding his stuffed animals or things.
Okay, your turn!