This post is sponsored by Philips Avent.
Adding a new baby to your family is a huge adjustment for everyone. Especially if you already had little ones at home that have to share the attention now! When we had our second child, I definitely struggled with spending quality time with my firstborn while still meeting the continuous demands of a newborn.
We welcomed the third bub to our crew about 5 months ago, and this time I went into it a bit more prepared. Lulu had an easier time since she was used to not being “the baby”. But J is a huuuuuge mama’s boy and has a hard time if I don’t spend quality time with him each day.
With how unpredictable newborns are, this isn’t something that can always be controlled or planned out! Sometimes I would sit down with J and a minute later Baby Bear is crying, which may have sent J into a tantrum. But overall it was way easier when I could give him individual attention, so that’s what I strive for everyday.
I’m sure there are others with much more patience and baby-soothing skills than me who do this effortlessly. But for the mamas (like me) who find themselves exasperated at times being pulled in so many directions, I have some tips that work for my family!
But first…. what about baby??
All of the ideas below are well and good if the baby gives you time to yourself. But what if they’re teething or having a growth spurt or any of the million other reasons babies get unsettled beyond their basic needs?
Thinking back to my daughter’s temperament as a baby, it would have been difficult to put her down for any length of time. She always wanted to be held, rocked, and comfort nursed. Thank God she was my first haha! But if your second or third is like that, you might need extra reinforcements.
This time around, I decided to work smarter, not harder. Enter: Philips Avent Soothie snuggles! They have been my secret weapon when Baby Bear is having a needy day and time for the other two kiddos is hard to come by.
Keeping baby happy with Philips Avent Soothie Snuggles
These have surpassed expectations in terms of comforting and entertaining my little one. He will settle down for a nap so much easier when he has one of his Philips Avent pacifiers to suck on, giving me more time to spend with the other two. They’re the same ones used to calm babies in the hospital, so you know they work!
But even better than that, Baby Bear loves the Snuggle! If other basic needs are met, he loves staring at the little stuffed animal that’s attached to his paci. I mean he will seriously just hang out in his crib totally content for huge stretches of time.
As a mama who has always exclusively breastfed, I wasn’t sure how I’d feel about using a pacifier. But when you have so many little hands reaching for you at once, it’s such a relief to have a way to occupy a newborn to make time for other things. Other things that are also *very important*, like making sure your older kids don’t feel forgotten.
One of my biggest hangups with pacifiers has always been how gross they can get. But something I’ve really appreciated, specifically with the Philips Avent brand, has been how easy these suckers are to clean! (No pun intended 🙂 )
Here’s what Philips Avent says about keeping your babies Soothie Snuggle germ free:
- To start, detach the Soothie pacifier from the Snuggle
- Sterilize the Soothie either in a Philips Avent Steam Sterilizer bag or in boiling water for 5 minutes.
- After sterilizing, allow the Soothie to cool for at least 5 minutes and squeeze any trapped water out of the nipple.
- Check the product before each use and replace the pacifiers immediately in case of damage or weakness.
- Philips Avent recommends replacing your baby’s pacifier after four weeks of use.
- You can wash the plush toy in a mesh laundry bag with your normal laundry cycle. Set it out to air dry.
- Once you’ve cleaned both parts of the Soothie snuggle you can connect them back together and give the pacifier to your baby.
- The plush toy is compatible with all Philips Avent Soothies and pacifiers which can be swapped out and replaced with age appropriate soothies/pacifiers as baby ages.
- Philips Avent Soothies are designed for babies 0-3 months and 3+ month, and other Philips Avent pacifiers are designed for babies 0-6m, 6-18m and 18+ months.
- Once your child outgrows pacifiers altogether, his or her snuggly friend can still stick around and conveniently attach to car seats, strollers, or backpacks.
Does it get any simpler?? Philips Avent Soothie snuggles provides a safe way to keep your baby happy while you tend to your other kids. AND it makes it easier than ever to keep germs away from your precious little one’s face!
Now that we know how to keep our precious bundles happy, here are some ways to focus on the older kiddos.
Ways to Spend Quality Time with Older Kids after New Baby
Utilize baby’s Nap Time:
I know the typical advice is to “sleep when the baby sleeps”. But if you’re on kid number 2 or more, you already know that’s a myth. And you’re probably used to the lack of sleep by now anyway! Not to mention, sleeping isn’t an option since the other kids still need to, ya know, be supervised and fed and all that haha.
Instead, plan at least some of that nap time to spend quality time with your other kids. Taking advantage of the frequent newborn naps for little one-on-one moments with your other kids can make a huge difference to them! They’re used to having you to themselves, right? So having those times throughout the day where the baby isn’t right there gives them sense of familiarity.
Involve them in chores
Making time for each kid AND housekeeping can seem impossible. So I try to involve the older kiddos in chores whenever I can. They fold and put away laundry, “help” with the dishes (aka J fills a cup with water and dumps it out repeatedly), and pick up toys. My kids are also big fans of vacuuming for some reason.
Things won’t get done as neatly or quickly, but it helps you to accomplish more than doing everything separately. It also teaches them responsibility and makes them feel like valuable members of the household! To make it even more fun, check out the list I put together of cleaning games.
Read, read, read together!
Reading is probably the activity we do more than anything else in our house. Thankfully my kids love it and are always asking for a story. But it’s also largely because reading is such a low-key activity that has been perfect for this tired mama haha!
This is a great way to spend time with the kids when you’re feeding or holding the baby. It’s been so comforting for J to snuggle up on one side of me with a book while the baby is snuggled on the other side. It’s perfect for early sibling bonding. 🙂
Have independent activities put together
Another way to keep your older kiddos happy is to make sure they’re occupied when you do have to pay more attention to the baby. If I set the kids up with an activity before settling in to nurse Baby Bear, they’re much more content. I like to let them come up with their own ways to play, but leaving them without any prompting for too long is usually when the whining, mischief, and tantrums start up.
I’m still trying to encourage craft and creative play as much as possible. So I love setting them up with open-ended crafts! Construction paper, crayons, kid scissors, and a glue stick can keep them entertained for ev er.
I hope these tips help you balance time between your newborn and older kids. They’ve definitely all been instrumental in maintaining peace and order in our house! And on the days when anarchy takes over, just remember that this season will pass! (I mean… it does right? Right?!?!?! Haha)
I’ve been so grateful for the calming effect the Philips Avent Soothie Snuggle has on Baby Bear. It takes a lot stress away knowing I can spend much needed time with my older kids while the baby is content. Between the Soothie Snuggle and these other tips, we’ve been able to transition to a family of 5 with considerable ease!
Be sure to pin this and share with your other mama friends! And head on over to Philips.com to learn more about the Soothie Snuggle.