Breastfeeding in a Big Family
Posted By: Emily Elling
Emily Elling lives downtown Indianapolis with her husband of 10 years and her four unintentionally hilarious children, Piper, 7, Nola, 5, Gage, 2, and baby Paul, born January 2012.
One of my biggest fears when I found out I was pregnant for the fourth time was that I wouldn't have enough hours in the day to provide for my kids. I was anxious (and sometimes still am) that I would fail to meet my children's needs both physically and emotionally.
Honestly, I think as a mother and a wife, it's common to often feel like we're never going to be "enough" when it comes to meeting the needs of a growing family.
I'm now seven months in to being a mom to four children, and everyday I still struggle with feeling inadequate. I mean, there is one of me, and four of them. Oh, and a husband too. How could I not feel stretched, right?
But believe it or not, I think breastfeeding baby Paul has actually helped me spend quality time with the other kids. You see, breastfeeding has become something that the kids don't even realize I'm doing half the time.
For instance, I never have to get up to make a bottle, and we (yes, I make my 7 year old wash the dishes) do less dishes because we don't get bottles dirty. And unlike bottle feeding that take two hands on deck at all times, I can pretty easily breastfeed single handedly.
Ok, and not to toot my own horn, but I've finally mastered (but only at home) the breastfeeding in a baby carrier technique. While baby Paul nurses in a wrap (such as a Moby), I can now prep dinner, fold laundry, and help tie shoelaces. I know, it's my new party trick.
I guess what I'm saying is, once you get the hang of breastfeeding, it actually can becomes an integral and seamless part of the day.
Because of breastfeeding, I believe I have more minutes in the day to spend with the other children. We read books, snuggle up to watch movies, or sometimes play card games on the floor.
It's true, babies take up a ton of time. But for me, my decision to breastfeed has only afforded me more time to do other things.
9:00am on Thursday August 30
I can relate to this, Emily!
Breastfeeding is such a lovely and seamless part of our everyday life. My older girls (ages 3 & 5) love snuggling and watching over their baby sister and they are quick to call my attention when she "needs to nurse." They also nurse their own dolls in pretend play.
My husband often reminds me how wonderfully convenient nursing is - and I agree! No bottle washing and heating and icing and storing.
That said, I also felt overwhelmed during the first few months - when I was in pain and nursing all.the.time. I worried that I wasn't being the interactive, involved, and energetic mom that I wanted to be for my older two. Perhaps that is a universal worry among moms with multiple children?
Final thing: Three kids later and I have yet to master nursing in a carrier. ;)