Expert Tips for Calmly Feeding Your Newborn

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Savannah Walsh and her family walking in a grassy area.

Savannah Walsh shares her secret to calmly feeding your newborn with a busy toddler in the room.

MyRegistry contributing writer Savannah Walsh is a Canadian blogger, a mom of five little ones, and the face behind That Caffeinated Mom, where she talks pregnancy, birth, and everyday mom life in her own relatable and very candid storytelling style.


Envision yourself in the following situation: You’ve just had your second baby. You’re feeling good, you’ve done this all before...

You know you don’t need to page the on-call doctor when your baby’s poop is more green than earlier that day (no? just me??). You know it’s normal that babies make little grunting sounds in their sleep. And you know by now that it’s a waste of time to change your baby’s clothes every single time they puke (real life, guys, I was that mom).

Everything is going well, you feel confident, you feel like an old pro. And then you’re alone for the first time with two (or more) tiny humans relying solely on you to survive the day… okay, just breath… you’ve got this.

You’re on the floor playing trains with your toddler when the baby starts stirring. It’s time for a feed.

It’s fine... Your toddler will keep playing trains while you go quickly nurse the baby. Until your toddler notices that you got up. *Cue meltdown*

Okay, scratch that idea. You decide to give the toddler lunch now so you can nurse. She’s hungry, so she’ll sit there quietly and eat. But to your amazement, your toddler suddenly hates PB&J sandwiches even though they were her favorite yesterday.

A-ha! You’ll have her sit beside you and patiently wait for the baby to finish eating. And that lasts exactly two minutes before your toddler’s bored, wants attention, and runs into the kitchen opening all the cupboards.

Now you have to chase her out of the kitchen, but you can’t, because you’re tied to the couch feeding your baby.

Okay, fine then, you can just call her over and read her a book. Which works until she wants to sit on top of the baby so she can see the pictures better.

Are you feeling a little overwhelmed reading that, or is it just me? That was my life in the early days of being a mom of two, alone during the day. I felt okay and in control most of the time, and then I’d have to feed the baby and everything would get insane. It was a super challenging adjustment, and it took awhile for me to get into a groove.

When I had my third, I knew I had to do something different. So I decided to make my two toddlers a “nursing box,” and it changed my world.

Okay, back it up here… What’s a nursing box?

A nursing box is essentially a box of fun distractions for your older kid, or kids, to have when you’re feeding the baby. Whether you’re breastfeeding or bottle feeding, you are out of commission for 15–20 minutes at a time, and that can be really hard with other kids around!

But the nursing box has rules:
1. The box only comes out when the baby is being fed. When the baby’s done, the box goes away.
2. Your child gets to choose only one activity from the box per feed. Once they’ve made their selection, that’s it for the duration of the feed.
3. These are all “quiet activities.” When the baby’s being fed, it’s time for everyone to take a breather and quiet down.

Now, I’m going to help you put together your own nursing box. First, create a separate Wish List for each of your children at home, which will let family and friends give them a small big brother/big sister gift while also giving you the gift of serenity—or at least as close as it gets to it in motherhood! (Tip: You can also maintain those separate Wish Lists to share with family and friends when they ask about gifts for your kids in the future.)

Here are some of my suggestions for the kind of things that can go in your nursing box.

Magnets

Magnets can be such an amazing distraction for little ones. My daughter would sit at the fridge and play with magnets for hours! But you can also find some really neat sets that come with a magnetic board.

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Melissa & Doug Julia Magnetic Dress-Up Set from Amazon Canada
Melissa & Doug Julia Magnetic Dress-Up Set | Amazon Canada
$14.99

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Melissa & Doug Julia Magnetic Dress-Up Set from Walmart
Melissa & Doug Julia Magnetic Dress-Up Set | Walmart
$9.99

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, BeebeeRun 106 PCS Magnetic Letters & Numbers from Amazon Canada
BeebeeRun 106 PCS Magnetic Letters & Numbers | Amazon Canada
$19.99

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, BeebeeRun 106 PCS Magnetic Letters & Numbers from Amazon
BeebeeRun 106 PCS Magnetic Letters & Numbers | Amazon
$13.99

Color Wonder

Many moms to multiple children are so chill in regards to art time and art-time mess… and that mom is not me. The Color Wonder coloring sets are, according to my eldest, “Magical art supplies that even my mom lets me use alone.” (No shame in my game, guys. We once had our entire kitchen covered in Sharpie… I’m not kidding.) They are completely mess-proof coloring and an amazing addition to your nursing box for any aged child.

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Crayola Color Wonder Mini Colour On-The-Go from Walmart Canada
Crayola Color Wonder Mini Colour On-The-Go | Walmart Canada
$19.99

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Crayola Color Wonder Mini Colour On-The-Go from Target
Crayola Color Wonder Mini Colour On-The-Go | Walmart
$7.99

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Crayola Color Wonder Drawing Paper from Amazon Canada
Crayola Color Wonder Drawing Paper | Amazon Canada
$25.99

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Crayola Color Wonder Drawing Paper from Amazon
Crayola Color Wonder Drawing Paper | Amazon
$12.99

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free from Amazon Canada
Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Art Kit | Amazon Canada
$14.44

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Art Kit from Walmart
Crayola Color Wonder Mess Free Art Kit | Walmart
$14.94

Flash Cards

One that I wish so badly I had thought of sooner! An amazing addition to not only your nursing box, but your home in general. These are such an amazing way for your toddler to learn so many different things! From shapes to animals, letters to numbers—“there’s a flash card for that.”

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Brighter Child First Words Flash Cards from Amazon Canada
Brighter Child First Words Flash Cards | Amazon Canada
$3.99

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Brighter Child First Words Flash Cards from Walmart
Brighter Child First Words Flash Cards | Walmart
$2.99

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Animals Of All Kinds Flash Cards from Amazon Canada
Animals Of All Kinds Flash Cards | Amazon Canada
$3.71

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Animals Of All Kinds Flash Cards from Amazon
Animals Of All Kinds Flash Cards | Amazon
$2.99

Puzzles

Okay, word to the wise: Don’t make my mistake, and instead pick puzzles with big pieces. Trust me on this—I’m still feeling the horror from that experience. 

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Melissa & Doug Construction Vehicles Jigsaw Puzzles from Amazon Canada
Melissa & Doug Construction Vehicles Jigsaw Puzzles | Amazon Canada
$15.85

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Melissa & Doug Construction Vehicles Jigsaw Puzzles from Target
Melissa & Doug Construction Vehicles Jigsaw Puzzles | Target
$8.99

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle for Kids from Amazon Canada
Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle for Kids | Amazon Canada
$29.99

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle for Kids from Amazon
Wooden Jigsaw Puzzle for Kids | Amazon
$17.99

Figurines

This is a really great way to get personal with your boxes! Choose a character or a show or an animal your child is really into, and get a few of the little figures! These can provide lots of fun.

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Peppa Pig Royal Court from Toys R Us Canada
Peppa Pig Royal Court | Toys R Us Canada
$42.99

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Peppa Pig Royal Court from Amazon
Peppa Pig Royal Court | Amazon
$33.50

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Schleich North America Tyrannosaurus Rex Figurine from Toys R Us Canada
Schleich North America Tyrannosaurus Rex Figurine | Toys R Us Canada
$29.99

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Schleich North America Tyrannosaurus Rex Figurine from Toys R Us
Schleich North America Tyrannosaurus Rex Figurine | Toys R Us
$25.99

Play-Doh

As long as your toddler isn’t one of the kids who likes to eat it, Play-Doh is a perfect quiet activity. If you aren’t sure if they are the type to eat it, maybe try it for the first time when you’re hands-free.

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Play-Doh Doctor Drill 'n Fill Set from Walmart Canada
Play-Doh Doctor Drill 'n Fill Set | Walmart Canada
$19.96

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Play-Doh Doctor Drill 'n Fill Set from Amazon
Play-Doh Doctor Drill 'n Fill Set | Amazon
$12.88

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Play-Doh Academy Activity Case from Walmart Canada
Play-Doh Academy Activity Case | Walmart Canada
$29.99

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Play-Doh Academy Activity Case from Target
Play-Doh Academy Activity Case | Target
$19.99

Baby Doll and Accessories

Okay, so in some ways my suggestion here breaks some of the nursing box rules. What I had great success with was gifting my youngest toddler a baby doll for regular play when the new baby was born. But I had all of the baby doll’s accessories (diapers, bottles, rattles) in the nursing box, so that way my toddler was really interested in spending some time changing their baby, feeding their baby, etc. The doll was allowed out for regular play, but the accessories were not.

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Baby Annabell Doll from Toys R Us Canada
Baby Annabell Doll | Toys R Us Canada
$69.99

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Baby Annabell Doll from Target
Baby Annabell Baby Doll | Target
$34.99

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Carrier Play Set from Toys R Us Canada
Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Carrier Play Set | Toys R Us Canada
$19.99

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Carrier Play Set from Amazon
Melissa & Doug Mine to Love Carrier Play Set | Amazon
$11.77

In Canada

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, 12 Pack Baby Diapers Doll Accessories from Walmart Canada
12 Pack Baby Diapers Doll Accessories | Walmart Canada
$44.79

In the U.S.

Savannah Walsh’s Secret to Calmly Feeding Your Newborn When You Have a Toddler Too, 12 Pack Baby Diapers Doll Accessories from Amazon
12 Pack Baby Diapers Doll Accessories | Amazon
$16.04

Not all these items will work for every kid, but you get the idea. When you make your own nursing box, send me a picture! I’d love to see what creative things you come up with. Make your box individualized for your child, and really think about some of the things they’d like to do—quietly, and most important, independently, while you’re feeding your new baby. (I won’t tell if you sneak in a coffee in peace while it’s still hot.)

About the Writer
Canadian blogger Savannah Walsh is the mom of five little ones and the face behind That Caffeinated Mom, where she talks pregnancy, birth, postpartum struggles, and everyday mom life in her own relatable and very candid storytelling style. Savannah has created a space for moms from all walks of life to connect over motherhood by telling the real-life story of a regular mom, including the tough parts of motherhood we sometimes shy away from. When Savannah had her first baby, she knew very little about the mom world and quickly felt overwhelmed by the number of options available to her, from baby brands to parenting advice. Over the years, she’s tried just about every baby and kid product there is, along with developing her own parenting style and devising ways to stay sane while balancing a busy household. Savannah joins us every month on MyRegistry to share her stories, mom tips, and favorite baby products.

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