Friday, September 9, 2011

Nursing 10 Babies...Well Not All at Once

A recent picture of Patrick, my #10, at a Chinese restaurant in a small NC town (and no, he didn't eat Chinese food....he's this chubby at 6 months and has only breastfed : )

I realized recently that I've written very little about breastfeeding, which is kind of funny since I've been breastfeeding on and off since the end of 1990.  Actually if you tally it up, I've breastfed for 133 months (that's 11 years) and I'm still going!  So I thought I would do a quick post on some things I've learned in this journey and some things I recommend.  So here are some "becca bullet points":

1. Breastfeeding is by far the better and of course natural, normal "green" way to feed your baby.  It is healthier for the baby and for the mom.  It's is simpler, cleaner and of course cheaper.  I won't get into debating this, I'm just going to assume we're all on the same page here.
2.  Now I know somethings happen and there are reasons you can't breastfeed. I've been there and had this problem with Matthew, my son with Down Syndrome.  I finally had to realize that it wasn't all about ME being able to nurse him, but about HIM growing and being healthy.  I was able to nurse him, but he had to have a high calorie formula 50% of the time.  But if you are having problems, don't give-up!  At least nurse as much as you can and give it a good "college try!" Lactation consultants are everywhere nowadays and can really help.  
3. I always nurse on demand.  I think this is how God created it.  You can loosely schedule if you need to or just want to feel more organized, but really the baby will tell you when he or she needs to eat.  The baby is always growing and his needs change daily.  Also, the constitution of the milk changes constantly, so what works one day, as far as scheduling, may not work the next.
4.  Introduce a bottle of pumped milk somewhere between when the baby is 2 and 3 weeks old.  This way if you need to leave the baby for a short time or just want your husband or an older child to feed the baby, then they can.  I did this with 5 of mine and it worked great.  I didn't do this with 5 and they would never take a bottle.
5.  Buy those great nursing tanks.  I love the Glamourmom ones, but Target has great ones too.  You also need at least 3 nursing bras.  Get or borrow a good pump too.  I used nursing pads for the first few babies, but really you don't have to have those.  A Boppy is great to have too, but not a necessity.
6.  Don't introduce solids until at least 6 months.  I usually wait until 7 or so. It's not worth the mess and it's healthier for them just to have breast milk.
7.  When I nurse, I let them empty one side and then switch if need to.  You want them to get the hind milk.  Most of my babies where pretty efficient and your milk lets down faster with each subsequent baby (isn't that great how God did that?  He knew we'd have less time to nurse with each baby : )so it only takes me 15-20 minutes to get them full and then they go 2-3 hours.
8.  When you are ready to get more sleep, move them out of your room.  I know babies can smell their moms and all of mine have slept better when I moved them away from me.
9.  I nursed all of mine for about a year, some longer.  It seems like when they started walking they lost interest and really got into food.  I usually was pregnant by that point as well and feeling pretty bad.  But do try to nurse for at least a year.  It is so good for them!
10.  I've never tandem nursed.  I've seen friends do it and it just never appealed to me.  I always wanted to have good quiet bonding time with my newborn and it seemed like the toddler would be all over the mom when they saw them nursing.  Just too crazy for me : ) but go for it if your so inclined.

Well these are just some things off the top of my head....if you have any questions, let me know!


  1. I like this post. I have nursed all of my 11 children starting at the end of 1990 also! I have tandem nursed all along too--so I have been going non-stop all these years. My youngest is two and a half and I don't know how I will feel when this time is over for me. Very nostalgic, I suppose. As for introducing solids, I, too started 7-8 months old with my first half and with my second half of kids, it was close to a year--by then they wanted food off of our plates. My pediatrician even told me it was OK, and that the only reason they don't recommend it is because there would be no one interested in hearing it!lol

  2. Ok, so how do you get away without nursing pads? I am nursing baby #4 and have always had to use them for at least 6-7months and then when ever baby drastically changes his eating schedule. I don't like wearing them (too hot!) but also don't like a wet bra & shirt. I would love to have them be just a memory! :)

  3. I still need nursing pads at 12.5 months.I am ready to be done with those things! Thanks for sharing your "becca bullet points"!

  4. I'm pretty much in awe of you right now. I only have 2 and never got good at the whole nursing thing with either! My first got plenty! but it was not a pleasant experience for me. I nursed to 6 mos, and when I introduced solids, I also introduced formula. But I nursed 1st thing and last thing daily until she was a year. With my second, he didn't really get enough, so i had to supplement a little earlier (~5 mos) and he was done by 9 mos. I was sad, I had hoped to go the same 1st and last way to a year with him as well. I know it's good for them, and I loved that it was quiet time with the baby.

  5. Such good points...all of them. I agree with them all. The one we are in right now is moving baby out of the room. We'd love to do that but there's just no room other than sticking her in the living room or bathroom :-/ They do sleep better when they aren't in the room with me but it hadn't occurred to me that they can *smell* me :-)

    Our Rosie is 7 months and she's the earliest eater as she got her two front teeth in about 5 1/2 months. She still won't take a bottle though, she just chews on it :-/ Silly girl.

    Thanks for sharing~ Cinnamon

  6. Hi Jennifer and Katie,

    I stopped using nursing pads when I my friend told me that as soon as you feel your breast filling up push the nipple in and then it stops and you dont leak!! Its saved me a lot of pads and funny looking round shapes under my top. lol


  7. Hi Becca,

    How do you get the children to sleep out of your room before one without using the cry it out method. Im not nursing my 2 yr old anymore but he would scream the whole night if he wasnt with me, and would wake his 5 siblings up too!


  8. Absolutely love this post! I LOVE nursing! Still nursing Kenli and she's almost 19 months now :)I didn't introduce solids to her until she was 10 months old and it took her a little longer to take to it. Next one, I'll probably introduce them a little sooner. She does still sleep with us and tends to still get up once at night....wish she would quit that! Not ready to move her in with the big girls yet though ;)

  9. I nursed both of mine until my milk supply ran out. I had multiple problems with nursing, but really wanted to be successful... It took visits to 3 different lactation clinics, my OB, my GP, and our pediatrician to convince me that sometimes, formula is necessary. With my next one, I'm hoping my supply will be better.

    Thank you so much for this! Great ideas, tips, and comments. I always appreciate advice from other moms.

  10. to answer a few questions.....
    I do exactly what Husna was talking about to avoid wearing nursing pads. Hardly ever does my milk let down now unless actually nursing or away for longer than normal from my baby. My body seems to adjust to nursing about every 2-3 hours, so i rarely leak now.
    As far as moving the baby, or 2 year old in this case, I've never had this issue with a toddler, but I would move him out of your room and try sleeping with him a few nights to get him used to a new place. then when you move out he may cry, but hopefully not long. I know I'm not a "cry it out" person either, but at that age I do let them cry some. Hope that helps. Oh, get some white noise machines or fans for you other kids' rooms so he doesn't wake them up : )

  11. oh how I wish I could figure out how to get it back! With #1 it was ONLY breastmilk for 1 full year he self-weaned at 18mo. He was a butterball~! Same with #2 (2 years) & #3 (2 years)! #4 was a rougher start..but 2 years!
    #5 was a horrible nursing experience - lost weight like crazy...had lactation consultants and laleche league on speed dial! finally (as you said above) realized it wasn't all about me and what I wanted and had to supplement. Was DETERMINED it would not happen again. Drank all the teas, ate all the "more milk" foods etc. alas...same exact thing. Lactation consultants are stumped - said maybe I've just breastfed "too much" - sob. is that possible?
    Longing to have a #7 and have been in much prayer about what could be done differently. Your post about nursing 10 babies gives me hope. Maybe it's not "too many babies...too much nursing" it MUST be something else...therefore I MUST keep searching for info!
    Thanks for sharing!
    Michelle G


Thanks so much for your comments! I love them and they keep me writing. I really do read each one.