This is a concept I’d never heard of before. When my friend asked me if during this pregnancy I’d made my feeding box yet I assumed it was either a box full of nursing pads and nipple creams or a box of pre-prepared meals for the early manic days; maybe even a box of snacks for Jasper so he could help himself if my hands were full.
It’s actually a box of things to entertain your child while you’re feeding your new baby. It’s a way to not only keep them busy and happy, give you a chance to focus on the baby without feeling mum guilt and stress but also to give your child a sense of involvement making sure that they don’t feel left out.
The aim of the game is to follow these tips:
- Include items that don’t require your help to use and set up. Try to avoid a complicated game, dressing up items (if your child isn’t old enough to do it themselves) etc
- Use items that will keep them occupied but don’t take too long. For example a quick puzzle not an hour long DVD as you may then be stuck prying them from an activity or the TV when you’re ready to move on and leave the house
- Avoid messy items that you can’t be there to monitor easily e.g. play dough and paints – the last thing you want is a baby on your boob while your toddler is smearing paint up your walls
- Go for lots of cheaper items rather than one expensive one. Pop to the pound shop and pick up a load of things your child may like, that way if they don’t you’ve not wasted too much money. If there is a big gift you’d like to get your child why not give them it from the baby, they may choose to use it only at feeding time or it may become their new favourite ( a great association with their new sibling).
- Swap things around; if your child prefers other toys in the house and doesn’t like some in the box then simply swap them over, it doesn’t have to be set in stone and if you think about it, feeding up to 10 times a day for potentially months, they’re going to need some variety!
- Be flexible – even though it’s a good idea to put the box away after each feed, to make it an exciting association with the baby being fed; if they want to keep it out for a little longer there’s no harm in it. Equally if they don’t want to use the box that’s fine, they may be happy to entertain themselves, this is more if they’re feeling left out or need entertaining.
- Use items that are easy to pack up – books, small toys; not a load of fiddly pieces that’ll you’ll be picking up for ages after each feed.
- Keep the box in a place that’s easy for your little one to get to themselves in case you have to feed quicker than you thought; also try to keep it in a room that you’ll be feeding in more often e.g. the living room or the nursery. You could have a different one in different rooms, or have one location for Peppa Pig binge watching – oh the joy!
- Try and prompt them to stay in the room you’re feeding in, if they’re too young to be unsupervised in another room. It will save you wondering if that silence is golden or a thing to worry about!
- If they’re not excited by what you’ve put in then try to involve them in making and filling it. Let them decorate a box; change it from a ‘feeding box’ to a treasure chest or magic bag. Let them go to the shop and choose what goes in it – you know your child but they certainly know what they like the most!
In my box I opted for:
- Paw Patrol colouring book
- Big tub of new crayons
- 4x Peppa Pig puzzles
- 4x toy cars
- 1x toy aeroplane
- 1 bag of chocolate buttons
Some other options:
- musical toys (not too noisy though)
- flash cards
- tea set
As I’m writing this the baby hasn’t arrived yet but he probably will have done by the time you’re reading it; so I don’t know how Jasper will react. I will do an update after a while to see if it worked for us and I’d love to know if you’ve tried anything similar? I probably will add a bit more variety at a later stage, I just kind of panic bought when I came close to my due date and didn’t have anything to put in the box!
Thank you to my wonderful friend Laura for sharing this parenting hack with me, I’m so excited to try it out!