One of the great things about breastfeeding is that it’s really easy to calm down your baby (at least mine). Any time she’s getting pissy all I have to do is shove a boob in her mouth and she calms right down. However, there comes a time when you realize that fussiness doesn’t always mean “feed me!” Gradually your baby is staying awake for longer periods during the day and you realize that she actually wants to do things during those periods of lucidity.
The good thing is that babies are entertained by the simplest things. The bad thing is that they have the attention span of a gnat and you need to constantly change the ways in which you entertain. Talking to them and making silly faces is usually the easiest and most pleasing form of entertainment. There are just some times when this is not feasible- when you’re making dinner, cleaning up the house, using the restroom or even raiding.
In the kitchen I’ve started using a bouncer. This particular one was given to us by friends. Baby items can quickly clutter up your house, and when I was pregnant we had tons of friends willing to clear out their clutter. We ended up with one swing, two used bouncers, and a play mat. I had a new bouncer from my baby shower that I ended up returning, just because of my overabundance of bouncers. The one I use in the kitchen is the rainforest one linked. It keeps V pretty entertained while I cook. The only problem was that one of the frogs was stuck and would make a loud clacking noise every time it tried to move (which was frequently). It got to be so annoying that we unscrewed the entire thing just so we could remove the damn lever that was pushing the frog. One nice thing about this item is that the music and lights last for a while before shutting off. When they do shut off, they will automatically reactivate if your baby kicks hard enough.
I put the swing in the baby’s room. The fish are missing so I attached some of the shorted jungle animals from her play mat. This swing either puts her right to sleep or else keeps her busy for about 30 minutes. Once again, the music shuts off after a while.
Mobiles are by far her most entertaining device. She looooooves her Lambs & Ivy Baby Cocoa Musical Mobile. Unfortunately, the damn thing needs to be wound up every time and doesn’t last more than a couple minutes. I started searching around on Amazon for a better one, and found this. Grandpa ended up buying it for us when he heard about our mobile issues. It has four musical settings, runs for about 20 minutes, has movement independent of music if you want, and it even has a remote. It’s a parent’s dream. She thinks it’s just okay. It just doesn’t keep her entertained for long before she starts getting fussy.
Hanging toys are good all-purpose entertainers, but aren’t so fun by themselves. I’ve found that they have to be moving to generate much interest. So I can have V in the bassinet beside me with a hanging toy or two, but she won’t be happy unless I’m constantly moving them.
I asked my stay at home dad raider what he uses to keep his son entertained. One of the things he recommended was a Bumbo seat. His son seemed to like it and the chair looked comfortable. Maybe I’ll give that a try in a few months. She has to learn to sit up without flopping over first.