Newborns nurse All Day Long. Between feeding sessions its just lots of diaper changes, and lots of sleeping. With 2 babies in cloth diapers, one of whom spit up ALL THE TIME, and one who is a dirt magnet, I had a LOT of laundry to fold up and put away. I was still recovering from the birth and wanted to be able to take it easy. Well, that's much easier said than done with a toddler:)
Marshall is so sweet and so smart, and for the most part a really easy kid. But when Miller was born he was only a year and a half. AKA not old enough to reliably follow directions or always entertain himself. I didn't want Marshall to feel like life started sucking once Miller came along, so I came up with a lot of creative ways to basically pin him up without him realizing it.
Our bathroom is big and opens right up to the bedroom. There is enough floor space for me to bring in a rocking chair and sit with the baby, fold laundry on the floor, or I can sit in our room and still see/hear him.
Needless to say, he spent a lot of time in the bathroom those first few weeks.
He loves water and pouring activities so I put him in the bathtub with different sized cups and bowls and would turn the faucet on super low. He'd practice pouring and transferring water, and if he spilled it there was no mess to mop up because he was already in the tub!
I would also sometimes feed him in the tub or shower. Don't judge me. I blended fruit and froze it into "popsicles" which he had never had before:
He loved eating with a spoon, but wasn't always that accurate and would eventually revert to his fingers so yogurt was another good shower food. We talked a lot about having a picnic in the shower and he thought that was pretty special:
Finger painting quickly became another favorite:
I would just make little piles of washable fingerpaint on the shower floor and he'd go to town:
After he was done, I'd turn on the shower which he also loves:
He liked watching the paint dissolve and I'd give him a washcloth and sponge to help clean it up.
Between painting, showering, then cleaning he would easily stay occupied for an hour.
We also did a slightly different version by mixing the finger paint into shaving cream and painting it onto the shower with a brush:
He also loved "driving" Jerad's truck, so we'd walk outside and I'd shut him in the cab and let him push and pull all of the levers and switches. I'd also let the dogs out and have them load up in the bed of the truck because for some reason they get all excited about it, and Marshall likes "driving" them around. I would sit in the passenger seat and nurse the baby and catch up on emails on my phone.
This could also easily last 45 minutes.
We hadn't been using the highchair tray for awhile, usually we just push it up to the table, but I put it back on and gave him lots of crafty stuff to do while I was in the kitchen. I'd tape paper down and let him paint with brushes, sponges, or his fingers:
Or I'd give him playdough and things like forks and cookie cutters to stick in it:
Since the playdough was such a huge hit, we made homemade dough which was even softer and didn't have all the skeevy chemicals and dyes in it:
Those are a few of the ways I managed to preserve my sanity, have 2 free hands for the baby, and contain Marshall in one spot while making sure he was having fun at the same time.