Thanks so much to everyone for their great tips! It's amazing how resourceful us moms can be :. I'm trying out a new carrier and will be experimenting with different strategies over the next few days. Here are the suggestions I received:
I am in almost the same boat...5 week old baby and 22 month old. So, not as close in age but my older daughter is an intense and very high maintenance type. I have been letting my older daughter watch short videos on you tube on our computer while I nurse. We don't have a tv at the moment and I have thought of getting one but for now it's YouTube. When the baby is older I have been advised to nurse her in the sling or bjorn but she is too floppy and little for that now.
If you have a soft baby carrier (ring sling, Moby, even an Ergo), maybe you could try nursing him while you're on the move. It takes a little while to get used to it, but once you perfect the technique, eventually you can be hands-free all the time! At 3 weeks old, he might require a bit more support, but for now you could at least be mobile with one free hand -- or maybe just a pinky. ;)
Both suggestions are great. I second the "nursing in the carrier". I managed to nurse my baby while he was in the ergo. As for TV, that saves my life too. My 12 month old is totally hypnotized by Eebbee Baby , which can be watched instantly on netflix. It's the only way I can shower.
I'm afraid I don't have any advice for the first two months or so, but beyond that, I would say get a really good baby carrier, one that you can nurse in. That saved me when my second was born! Skip the baby bjorns and even ergos, which pale in comparison to the more comfortable, better made ones. Expensive, but truly worth the investment! The best, I think: http://olivesandapp
Well, yeah, there's the tv... or a cd...Don't feel bad if you need it! But also, I'd put together a special "basket" of stuff to do while you're in the glider. Add some real treats: a sponge and bowl of water...plastic bags within bags--stuff she's not normally allowed to play with unsupervised. You might be able to read to her, when your baby settles in. But my best suggestion: get her a little baby, and equipment--bottles, pacis, diapers, blankets, and invite her to take care of her baby while you're taking care of yours. It will work, eventually.
Do you have an ipad? That is really a God send at times to keep them occupied. If u have netflix, they have great kid videos so it doubles as a dvd player. Found it useful to download e.g. Elmo clips on youtube via keepvid.com (download as mp4s and upload on ipad via itunes) as well.
This may sound weird, but I let my older one snuggle and suck on my arm while I nursed. You could try TV, but she's a little young. Personally I love the Scholastic videos. They translate great books into slow paced videos that in my nonprofessional opinion are suitable for very young kids.
My first two kids (i have 3 now) are 22 mos apart and i found the same problem. We did do a little tv, though its not really recommended for kids under 2, and she may not have the attention span for it anyway. Additionally, i found with my son that watching tv actually made him wilder once the show was over, so counterproductive though useful in a pinch. What worked best for me was taking the two to a playspace or class, which was a safe, closed space for my son to run around and get some stimulation and activity while i could sit and nurse the baby or hold the baby in a carrier. I really liked the kidville classes for this, but you could also try music together or the like. The y, beth elohim temple, and powerplay all have playspaces for little kids, too. On nice days (like today) there is always a blanket, a few toys and a couple of toys to spend a few hours at the park. As your older one gets a little bigger (probably by this summer), 3rd St playground has lots of fun stuff for thr little ones and is enclosed which to me makes it best for the little ones especially if you have more than one. I also found that a good babysitter for a few hours a couple of times a week was great for my son and my own sanity and allowed me a little time with just the baby.
I went through this, but my first was 2.5 yrs, which is totally different. Right now my second baby is 12 months old, and a total menace in the house. She empties drawers, pulls books from bookshelves, unrolls tp, destroys her brother's games, and on and on. Typical one-year-old stuff. My recommendation for you (and for me) is to contain the child to keep her safe while you do what needs to be done. I am training Claire to the pack-n-play for 1/2 hour each morning while I get ready for the day. This happens around 8:30 or 9:00, which is when she gets a little cranky anyways. If your baby yells and throws a fit, try working up to 30 minutes slowly. She'll get used to it if it is a routine. It may help to put the pack-n-play in a place where she can't see you w/ the baby. Another idea would be to put your one-year-old in a high chair with a few snacks. Contained and hopefully happy. Finally, save some toys (highly desirable) to give to her only when you nurse. She will be excited to see them!
Maybe perhaps try feeding the toddler at the same time in a highchair, or teaching her to grab a small container for snack foods like cheerios or blueberries out of a low drawer or cabinet. My first two are 18 months apart and I can't remember what I did, but when the third came and the second and third were two years apart, that's basically what I remember. Have the baby in a boppy or some other nursing pillow support thing, nursing the baby and giving the big kid doing some foods they can handle alone, and some things like yogurt or whatever that you can help with a little. I think the morning might be tricky if your older child is a morning kid, but otherwise, some sessions of nursing and kid meals may coincide. You may be nursing on demand now, but in a couple of months, the feeding, sleeping alert cycle will end up being every three hours or so, which is about the same amount of time between meals and snacks for bigger kids. I remember eventually getting them on the same nap cycle-having a short morning nap for the infant at 9 and a bigger afternoon nap for everyone from 12-2 or 1-3. Also, you could sit on the floor and do something like blocks or tower building together that still allows you to sit. Good luck! And remember things will keep changing with both of them so don't worry if you have to try a few different approaches initially.
I recommend the Little Playzone (i think the brand is friendly toys). Basically plastic fencing that you set up in a square or rectangle wherever in your house. When my very active energetic son was newly walking it was invaluable if i ever wanted to pee. It's way bigger than a pack n play and he liked being there. They sell them on the psp classified all the time if u dont want to buy new.
My son turned one in February. We just got him this http://www.amazon.
My kids are exactly 2 years apart, the younger one nursed for 3 years. I always read while I nursed, so it was natural to make this a time when I would read aloud to my toddler, and we'd all snuggle together on the couch, or if I was in a chair, he'd nestle against my legs. It was a welcome, quiet cuddle time for everyone. He had no reason to be jealous, because her nursing was an excuse for us all to be together. Truly the only issue I had was he would kiss her enthusiastically just when she was drifting off to sleep, she would just make a face and push him away, and go right back to sleep. Enough people told me to sleep when Baby sleeps; we ALL took an afternoon nap and had happier evenings for it.