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How I Nursed Three Kids Without Going (Too) Crazy

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Piglets Suckling | Gimme the Good Stuff

Written by Colleen Webb, Chief Product Investigator

Until recently, I was nursing three kids: a newborn, a two-year-old, and a four-year-old.

When other women hear this, the most common thing they say is, “Oh my gosh, I could never do that!” Moms often share stories about how they weaned their older child in anticipation of a new baby arriving.

I don’t think nursing two or more kids is as hard as many people assume, but it’s also not for everyone (obviously!). I’ve nursed three kids because it’s been a natural choice for my family: My kids and I enjoy nursing from infancy through toddlerhood, and I’ve had them relatively close together.

For those of you who are curious, below are the strategies that have helped make nursing three kids work for me and my family.

PS: I can’t speak for moms of multiples, because I’ve only had one baby at a time. If you’ve nursed twins (or triplets?!) and have wisdom to share, please leave a comment below.

1. Only the baby nurses “on demand.”

Newborns need to breastfeed frequently, whereas older babies and toddlers can usually go hours (or days!) without nursing. For me, feeding the baby “on demand” and having the older kid(s) on stage-appropriate nursing schedules (see below) has been essential.Piglets Suckling | Gimme the Good Stuff

2. I got the older kid(s) on a nursing schedule before the new baby came.

In order to prevent the chaos of a lap full of kids clamoring for milk, I’ve used the final trimester of my pregnancies as a time to get the older kid(s) on a more structured and minimal nursing schedule.

Before my second baby was born, I got my toddler nursing three times a day (morning, after lunch, and bedtime). Before my third baby was born, I got the oldest kid nursing only at bedtime, and the middle one nursing in the morning and at bedtime. This approach created plenty of space for an infant to nurse on demand.

3. I nurse one kid at a time.

For about 18 months, with my first two kids, I often breastfed both of them at the same time. This worked until the younger one entered a feisty phase, and the kids would sometimes struggle with each other on my lap…while nursing. Ouch! After my nipples got caught in the crossfire one too many times, we switched to “taking turns.”

Maia asked me to write this post, since she had her own boys four years apart and only was ever nursing one!

 

4. I eat (and hydrate) a lot.

When you’re pregnant, people love telling you that you’re “eating for two,” but there’s actually a higher caloric demand on your body when you’re lactating for a new baby—about 500 extra calories per day.

I eat a lot of nutritious food and drink plenty of filtered water to help my body maintain a healthy milk supply without getting depleted. (I also take a multivitamin and a couple of other supplements, as recommended by my midwives.)

5. I weaned when the time came.

Last summer, when my third baby was a few months old, I hit a point where nursing three kids started to feel like too much. I also started looking at my four-year-old (who’s the size of a six-year old) and thinking, “Maybe you’re getting a little bit big for nursing.” So I weaned him. It wasn’t nearly as difficult as I expected, and now I’m happily nursing my baby and my two-year-old.

Have you wondered about or tried breastfeeding more than one baby/toddler at a time? If you’ve nursed twins (or triplets?!), do you have any wisdom to share?

 

 

 

 

 

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11 responses to “How I Nursed Three Kids Without Going (Too) Crazy”

  1. Tips on weaning an almost two year old? I love breastfeeding my son and don’t mind his age, but I keep getting mastitis almost monthly and its so so painful! Also, I have tried to limit him and not offer it with the hope of trying to wean, but he’s CONSTANTLY trying to stick his hand down my shirt which of course warrants many nasty looks from people. Any tips would be greatly appreciate! 🙂

        • I started with night weaning, and then regular weaning was easier. I also fully bribed my kids with “big boy toys.”

          • Tips for night weaning? He sleeps with me half of the night which makes it difficult. I don’t believe in crying it out and he’s never slept in his bed the whole night through. Ive probably set myself up for this mess but first time/single mom is rough!

  2. Would you recommend rainbow light one prenatal or garden of life prenatal multivitamin? And would you still continue to drink them after baby while breastfeeding? Thank you!

    • I have been trying to decide this as well! I have read that Rainbow isn’t as great because it has folate instead of folic acid.

      • I was always under the impression that folate (natural form) is better than folic acid (synthetic form).

  3. I adore this blog. I recently began blogging and look at Maia (and now Colleen) as a huge source of inspiration. I read an article from Huffington Post in 2014 that motivated me to exclusively breastfeed my children. In March 2017, my husband and I welcomed our first child and articles such as Maia’s have kept me sane and motivated the past 10 months. Thank you for your level headed perspective on breastfeeding. In the now overly politicized environment of parenting, this blog is fresh air.

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