Lesson 2, Video 4: Tips for keeping baby occupied while you pump

Ways to Keep your Baby Occupied During Pumping

  • -In the early days your baby isn’t likely crawling or walking yet, so the “easy” part is, you’ll be able to keep them contained. (Although they do roll over pretty early! So please be cautious about pumping on a bed with baby lying beside you!)
  • -Try to coordinate pumping with baby’s naptime schedule so you can relax while pumping and not be stressed if baby gets fussy.
  • -When my babies got older and started staying awake more often, I usually pumped facing them while they were in their bouncy seat or swing. This way I could talk, sing, and keep an eye on them while I was pumping.
  • -For older babies who have outgrown the bouncy seat, consider placing them in a play yard or a “baby fence”. We had a large fenced in area in our living room where my baby liked to crawl around and play with her toys. I loved this because I knew there was nothing in that area she might accidently put in her mouth and try to swallow and she couldn’t get out of the fence to wander in a non baby-proofed area of the house.
  • -Consider having a special basket of pumping toys…toys that you only bring out while you’re pumping. This makes them more “special” than their regular toys. Likely they’ll be excited to see these toys come out and (hopefully) happily play with them.
  • -Pumping time is also a great time for stories! It’s never too early to start reading to your baby. I find that interactive books (such as books that make sound or have textures for baby to touch and feel) are best to keep your baby’s attention.
  • -Peek-a-boo is another game that babies love and it’s actually great for their development. It teaches them object permanence and helps with language development, pretend plan, and more! You can use your hands or a baby blanket to “hide”. You can also consider using movement scarves. These are sheer and come in bright colors. Not only can you play peek-a-boo with them, but you do tons of things with them. I used an empty baby wipes container and filled them with scarves for my baby to pull out. She LOVES it and it really helps with their gross and fine motor skills.
  • -Consider playing special music during pumping time. Classical music is really great for baby’s development. You can dance and sway with the music, teach your baby to clap along, and/or give your baby a toy that makes music (like a maraca).
  • -Older babies who have started solids and are self-feeding (usually around 8 months or so) can sit in their high chair for a little snack while you pump. Just make sure you have their high chair right there with you. Of course this goes without saying, but you don’t want to leave a baby unattended who is eating, in case they choke and need your help.
  • -Call in some support. If you’re having a particularly rough day and your baby just isn’t going for any of your tricks, phone a friend, neighbor, or relative. I’m sure they wouldn’t mind coming over to play with your sweet little one for a few minutes so you can pump in peace.
  • -Okay, I’m going to be totally honest here, and I may catch some flak for it. But when I had exhausted all my other options, NEEDED to pump, and my baby was extremely fussy, as a last resort I’d turn on Baby Einstein on the TV. Now I know the “experts” say no TV or electronics before age 2, but sometimes a pumping mom’s gotta do what a pumping mom’s gotta do. Now I’m not advocating for this or saying this is right for your situation, you have to weigh the pros and cons and make this decision for yourself…but for me personally, I figured that her happily watching a few minutes of a baby TV show was better than her crying it out. Again, though, you have to decide for yourself if that’s something you’re willing to compromise on.

Resources and Recommended Reading:

30 of My Favorite (and affordable!) Non-Toxic Toys for Babies Under Age 1:


15 of My Favorite Interactive Books for Babies and Toddlers:

More information about peek-a-boo for babies:

More information on movement scarves:

More information on classical music for babies:

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