5 Proven Ways to Entertain a Toddler so You Can Rest After Birth (open me up, freebies inside!)
I loved being pregnant. The feeling of new life budding inside of me felt sweet and exciting. Like you, I couldn’t wait to meet my baby.
I’m that strange woman that prepared meticulously for birth. I looked forward to it with eager anticipation.
My water birth with Hazel was one of the most incredible and fulfilling experiences of my life.
12 hours of natural labor and one ten pound baby later, I felt as if every molecule of energy in every cell of my body had been used in the monumental act of bringing her earthside.
After birth, all I wanted to do was sleep.
And sleep some more.
But, I couldn’t sleep. I had a baby who needed to eat every few hours. I was establishing breastfeeding.
And, I had a beautiful, wonderful, adorable preschooler who was in the middle of the biggest transition in her life. I wanted the transition to big sisterhood to feel a little bit epic and not so scary.
But man, did I need sleep.
Midwife Tiffany Wilson of Seattle Midwives has been caught giving this wise advice about resting after birth. You should spend:
5 days in the bed. 5 days on the bed. 5 days near the bed.
After birth, it is extremely important to allow your body to rest. This becomes extra challenging if you have another child at home.
Proven strategies to keep your preschooler busy while you stay in bed after birth.
1. Let others entertain your child.
What is dad doing? What about grandma and friends? If your child is up for it, send them off to play with someone who can shower them in love and attention and help them feel the importance of being a big brother or sister.
In those times when it is just you and the babes, there are still great ways to outsource entertaining the preschooler so you can rest, nurse or do whatever you need.
My daughter fell in LOVE with kids yoga during this time. My pre and post natal yoga studio, MTRNL, also happens to have online kids classes. When I needed a few minutes to do something, or simply just wanted to be in bed, these were the perfect classes to turn on.
Kid’s yoga teacher Bianca is bright and bubbly and really gets the kids involved. It is so much fun to watch my little one follow along and try the poses out. We always end up laughing and giggling as my daughter pretends to be a lizard or travels to outer space. I love that she is moving her body and exploring mindfulness without even knowing it!
These classes are free within the pre and postnatal yoga studio MTRNL. If you have not signed up yet, try a week free here.
The best part is, you can be as involved or uninvolved as I want during these classes. Snuggle with baby on the couch and giggle with your little one while they follow along with Bianca or turn it on before you sneak out for a little nap.
2. Prepare a super secret surprise basket of goodies and fun and have snacks in bed.
I’m not going to lie, my kids like food. One of the best things I did to prepare for baby Hazel was to have a basket of yummy treats next to the bed for both me and Zoe for the following few days. This basket was filled with granola bars, coconut chips, fruit pouchies, fruit snacks, crackers, water, some delicious salted caramel chocolates for me and a couple sugary treats for her.
We spent hours just sitting in bed, Hazel sleeping on my chest, Zoe and I snacking and playing apps on my phone. Normally we are a low sugar, low screen time family, but during this time, it felt so sweet to snuggle up and play this way together. Having snacks in bed also made it so I didn’t have to get up as much. Which was of course, an added bonus.
3. Presents! Lots of presents.
I always tell my older daughter that having a little sister is the biggest present. And watching their relationship blossom is such a joy. But this time, I’m talking about presents wrapped in paper with string to cut and bows to stick on each others head.
I wrapped up a few new games such as go fish, memory and uno (and card holders so she didn’t have to hold them all at once). This was a great hit. Go fish was played so many times. When we got bored of one thing, we opened another.
4. Premade craft and art supplies for the win!
At 4, Zoe is quite the artist. If I can get her started on an art project, she can be distracted for hours. But. with a new baby, art and messes and crafts are very very very low on my agenda. Enter…. the TOUCAN BOX. This is one of those monthly subscription boxes full of STEAM ideas. I am so glad I ordered one of these as a surprise after Hazel was born.
Inside there are 2 crafts with absolutely everything you need in them already. This made it possible for my daughter to make something with very little setup and cleanup from me.
It also comes with art activities. Again, little clean up and endless creative time.
AND a magazine of drawing and coding activities. This is perhaps the best find I have ever made as it is both affordable and offers a TON of creative creations to enjoy. You can order a free box here. When I say don’t forget to order one, I mean it!
5. Break out the memories, stories and good times of the past.
My preschoolers favorite thing to do while I was resting was to pour through old photos and hear all the stories of when she was a baby. I told her her own birth story and what I thought the first time I held her. I told her about how I counted her toes and how I never wanted to let her go. I told her about all the things she has learned and how she can help her little sister learn those things too. This simple activity was such a bonding moment for all of us. I highly recommend it. The more stories the better.
What is the most important way to help your preschooler adjust to being a big sibling?
At the end of the day, make it a priority to enjoy this time. If you are enjoying it, so will they. If you are stressed, your preschoolers will be too. Bend the rules, be gentle with yourself and your little ones. Ask for help. Rest as much as you can. Have as much food prepped as possible. Let people take care of you.