How Do You Manage the Home While Nursing a Baby?

This week, The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids are giving breastfeeding advice. Here are some of the questions I have had:

“How do you manage the home while breastfeeding an infant?”

The most difficult part of managing a home while nursing an infant is when the oldest child is a toddler, and Mama has no help, but is home alone. In that case, creativity must be employed to keep the toddler from moving all the canned goods from the pantry to the dishwasher, taking all the clothes out of the dressers, and pulling all the sticky strips off the maxi pads while you are nursing the baby.

A special box of toys that are only available when Mama is nursing and/or read aloud time might do the trick, depending on the tenacity and attention span of the toddler. You may need to become expert, as I have, at following those eerie sounds of silence to see what the little fella is up to. I can nurse a baby with one arm and remove a toddler from the pantry with the other, if necessary.

If you are in the season described above, nursing and resting and loving on the babies, while making the most of nap time or quiet play time to tidy up and plan/execute meals is your full time job. Be okay with a less than perfectly tidy house. Recruit friends or relatives, if you can find them willing, to help you a few hours each week with the household tasks.

If you have older children while breastfeeding an infant, your household management will come easier because you will be able to delegate tasks. Of course, these tasks will not be done as well as you could do them if they are being done by young children, but housework done imperfectly can still be a blessing to a family.

Relax your standards and enjoy your children.

“Do you schedule or demand feed your breastfeeding infants?”

I have been at both ends of this breastfeeding spectrum at one time or another.

For newborns, to ensure my milk supply is well established, I make sure they nurse every 2-3 hours throughout the day, even if that means waking them during the day. Then, I bring them into my bed to nurse during the night as they awaken.

As the baby gets older, I try to stretch the hours between night time feedings longer, and the baby often does this on her own. I delay feeding the baby any solids until around 8 months and I don’t use baby food when I start solids.

Interestingly, this method usually delays the return of my period until I 1) begin feeding solids, and 2) eliminate night time nursing. I found this out by happenstance, but there is actually a name for this, and it is called “ecological breastfeeding“. (Many use this method to naturally manage ovulation.)

Once my period returns and the baby is taking solid foods, I transition to a regular feeding schedule.

Disclaimer: These are the things I have done to make breastfeeding work for me and my family. I am not a doctor and am not prescribing these methods for you. You should make sure your baby is healthy and growing and consult a doctor if he or she is not.

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Comments

  1. THE hardest style is exclusively pumping with a toddler and infant! I’ve had to do that with my last two children and always have two kiddos to keep occupied for at least 30 minutes 4-6 times a day. Harrowing yes, but I believe getting the breast milk to my baby is that important. I upgraded to a pump that can be battery powered with a back pack and a “pumping bra”, with this baby. It has been a tremendous life saver!

  2. Catherine Vos says:

    How did I manage….? I didn’t. 3 babies in 3 years overwhelmed me. Actually the mess overwhelmed me. My youngest is now 2 1/2 and I wish I could go back and do those years again with what I know now. ….. Go out less. Do less. Do it better. Declutter. Let God lead you. He is the provider of time and opportunity. Love and Enjoy in the midst of the mess. Its amazing that we survived and by the grace of God our children and family sparkle.

  3. “The most difficult part of managing a home while nursing an infant is when the oldest child is a toddler, and Mama has no help, but is home alone.” This is so incredibly true. With 4 kids, I often tell people that it’s way easier now than it was when I only had 2. My kids are now 8, 6, 4, and 2. I recently watched my baby niece for three days and it was pretty easy because of the extra helpers/entertainers. :)

  4. awesome

  5. Elizabeth says:

    I had my oldest younger than I should have and let my mother talk me out of breastfeeding and with the middle one I let the lack of support from the hospital and my family discourage me. Funny enough, I nursed the youngest after he was in the NICU for 8 days. We did it for a whole year. I had to learn with a 2 yr old siting with me. The baby’s legs sometimes got sat on (never badly) because the toddler wanted to be part of it. I learned to just go with things. Prep dinner at odd times, have my daughter bring her homework to me, I even got confident enough to flip a load of laundry while nursing- it happened that it couldn’t wait. In general everything can usually wait 20 minutes. I plan to nurse my newest little boy when he arrives in November and things will adjust to fit everything. Now the oldest does chores like laundry and emptying the dishwasher so it may be easier even with 2 kids under the age of 5 running around…we will adjust

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