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How do I get my 3 year old to be quiet while I nurse the baby to sleep?

Every morning, my infant daughter gets tired around 10AM and needs a nap. If I can get my 3 year old to be quiet while I put her to sleep then we have a much nicer day because the baby is rested and I'm not annoyed. I usually just put on the TV for my daughter and tell her that it's time for baby's nap so she needs to play quietly or watch the show while I put her to sleep. Some days this works, others she'll start banging around and throwing things and gives me a look that makes me KNOW she's making noise intentionally. This drives me NUTS and I get angry. I think she's testing the limits, but I don't know how to handle it. I know you can only expect so much from a child, but it's hard when the baby needs a nap and she just won't chill out. Advice please!

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Asked by Anonymous at 8:07 AM on Jun. 11, 2009 in Preschoolers (3-4)

Answers (5)
  • She is jealous of the attention the baby is getting, which is completely normal. Have her sit beside you when you are nursing, and read to her or have her color or play with some toy so you can watch. But actively talking with her and cuddling her will let her know that she is important, too, and that you aren't excluding her in favor of the baby. You can even give her a cup of water to sip while you are feeding the baby. Put your arm around her and include her. Once she finds out that you aren't excluding her from this time of closeness with the baby, she'll probably come around for a brief cuddle then go off to play.

    Answer by Bmat at 8:32 AM on Jun. 11, 2009

  • Yep. Have her help you with the nursing. She can "hold" the baby's head, "read" the baby a story, get you a blanket, diaper, whatever it takes to keep her involved.

    Answer by 3gifts.from.god at 9:36 AM on Jun. 11, 2009

  • Involve her. She's jealous and looking for a way to garner herself some attention. Give her an incentive and a role to play.

    My DS was 2 when my daughter was born. He would help - sing quiet songs to her while she fed or burp her when she was done. When it was time for me to put the baby down, I'd remind DS that as soon as she was asleep it was "Special Mommy-Logan time." We would play anything he wanted but if she didn't go to sleep, I'd have to take care of her and we wouldn't have our special time to cuddle or play his games. While DD ate I played with DS. We played a LOT of I Spy - it was something I could do while I sat and nursed. I'd give him something to find and he'd have to bring it to me. He loved it. We told stories to one another - stories we'd make up. Sing silly songs. Anything to make him feel like he wasn't being put aside for the baby. It did wonders!

    Answer by ldmrmom at 11:09 AM on Jun. 11, 2009

  • I would tell my 2 year old that once his sister went to sleep we would play his favorite game and he needed to be quiet while I put her to sleep. I also made it a point to have him sit with me while I nursed and read him a book (or he read to his sister). This worked almost all the time for me. Make sure you do as promised though after LO is asleep!

    Answer by aeneva at 11:39 AM on Jun. 11, 2009

  • if you are rocking your baby, get a smaller rocking chair for the little one, or just show her how to rock back and fourth in a chair, and give her HER OWN special baby, or something of the sort, and she can quietly mock mommy!

    Answer by mojomom2006 at 11:51 PM on Jun. 16, 2009

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