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How Do You Manage the Home While Nursing a Baby?



This week, The 4 Moms of 35+ Kids [3] are giving breastfeeding advice [4]. 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 [5] 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 [6]". (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.