Homeschool Curriculum, Breastfeeding and Kefir: 4 Moms Answer Questions

moms of many manage

For those of you who noticed my lack of posting last Thursday here is my post on the topic of Courting and Dating. (Everything is fine and I have no good excuse for missing last week. Life just got in the way.)

Welcome to another question and answer session with the   of 4 Moms of 35+ Kids.

This week a couple ladies (Diana and Gencie) asked questions about about keeping up with the house, toddlers, school work, etc. while your breastfeeding.

I should have a great answer to this since I’ve breastfed for more than 11 1/2 years out of the 15 years since I became a mom, but I distinctly remember thinking, “I forgot how much time and effor it takes to breastfeed a newborn.” shortly after Isabella (our 10th) was born.

Some tips that may work for you:

  1. Pay attention and quickly learn your baby’s schedule/preferences so that you will know whether the best time to hit the grocery store is early morning or late afternoon (or neither). Not all babies will have a natural schedule, but 9 out of our 10 have.  A word of warning: Be prepared for that schedule to change without any notice!
  2. Schedule the rest of your day but without specific times. This helps you know what should be getting done and helps you move smoothly to the next thing.
  3. Wear your baby or hold your baby a lot. We’ve found that this lends itself to a happier, more content baby.
  4. Multi-task, but not every time you nurse. Listening to a reading lesson or reading aloud to your children is an ideal activity for while your nursing the baby.
  5. Include the toddlers. Give your littlest ones some books and let them sit next to you while you feed the baby.
  6. Don’t neglect the other children while you’re feeding the baby. That means that you will need to stop in the middle of a feeding to tend to your older children. (I’m talking about settling disputes or dealing with disobedience, not getting them a drink of water.) If the other children know that you will not get up while you’re feeding the baby then they will take full advantage and your breastfeeding days will be tougher than necessary.
  7. Consider co-sleeping. This allows the baby to get a lot of good nursing time in during the night, helps with milk supply and has led to better sleeping for both mom and baby.
  8. Be patient. Yes, sometimes all you will get done is feeding the baby and supervising the little ones, but it is only a short period of time and the benefits of pouring yourself into these little ones pays eternal dividends.

Tasmin wondered about struggling with milk supply and supplementing.

I’m one of those mothers who struggles to maintain an adequate milk supply. I posted some of my best breastfeeding tips here and ideas for drinking enough water here.

I’m sorry that I don’t have input on supplementation, although I’ve heard that goat’s milk is an option.

Merri asked, ” Would you mind telling me how well AAR/AAS (All About Reading/All About Spelling) works with multiple children?

In my review of AAS I stated that, I think it would be difficult to use this program with multiple children was not willing to attempt it. There is a lot more information in the full review.

We’ve never used the AAR program.

Shana wondered if we were missing Sonlight or if we were happy with our decision to move on.

Here are some background posts.

Why we love multi-level homeschooling with Sonlight and how we do it.

Sonlight: A more specific schedule

Moving on: Why we decided to move away from Sonlight

This is a great question because as I looked back over my posts I realized that I left ya’ll  hanging.

When we first moved away from Sonlight (early in the 2010-11 school year), everyone moved  away from Sonlight. After a couple months I went back to using Sonlight with our younger children.

For our 2011-2012 school year we used Sonlight 1- 2 (we finished 1 and got into 2) with our “younger” children (preschool – 9) and Mark and I created our own resource list for our “older” children (10-14).

So the answer to your question is that we did miss Sonlight and have gone back to it for our little ones. (We plan to use Sonlight up to level 5, just as we did with our older children. We will NOT use Sonlight 6 or 7 because of their heavy use of “Story of the World” and the serious, biblical problems within that text.)

However, for our older children, we’ve been very happy with our decision to move away from Sonlight. We’ve enjoyed the change and still have several months/years of things we wish to cover and the list keeps growing. 🙂

At this point in time, I don’t see us going back to Sonlight with the older children (although I’ve learned not to make promises). For years I looked forward to doing Sonlight’s highschool church history, however, our children have already read nearly all of the resources listed for that year so that would be redundant.

Twila asked how we fit in kefirs, sprouting and fermenting on top of nourishing the family in other ways.

Well, the great thing is that all of those things take just a couple of minutes a day.

We plan the fermenting with our menu plan and do the prepartion for that during the time we have alloted for meal prep. My goal is to make at least one ferment every week. Additionally, we regularly enjoy sauekraut, kimchi and cranberry, orange, apple relish (YUM!!!) and have at least one of these on hand at any given time.

Kombucha tea is an easy once a week to every other week project, that’s as simple as making tea and switching out the SCOBY.

As for the kefir, we take a couple minutes while preparing breakfast each morning to strain the grains and add fresh milk (or sugar water).

I’m horrible at sprouting and avoid it.

A couple of tips:

  • Putting the date on the top of your ferment, kefir, tea, etc. is a GREAT idea. I usually put the date started, but you could also put the date that it should be finished.
  • Start with one thing at a time and find a rythm that works for you.
  • Enlist help. There is something fun for kids about being in charge of “feeding” and tending to a living organism. Our 11 year old loves being in charge of the water kefir and we have a half gallon each morning.
  • No worries. I do not think that I could have kept up with any of this when our children were all small. And while this is all good and healthy, it’s more important that our children’s souls are nourished. There is nothing wicked in feeding your kids store bought bread and peanut butter.

You may also be interested in:


Be sure to visit the other 4 Moms to read what they have to say about this topic:

KimC at Life in a Shoe
Connie at Smockity Frocks
Headmistress at The Common Room

For more Moms of Many posts visit the 4 Moms page.

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16 Responses to Homeschool Curriculum, Breastfeeding and Kefir: 4 Moms Answer Questions
  1. Christie Schroeder
    July 12, 2012 | 10:29 am

    Hello Kimberly! Thank you so much for your blog it is such a blessing for me! I just wanted to take a minute to respond to your comment about possibly supplementing with goat’s milk. Before six months of age it is not recommended that anything but formula be used to supplement. Goat’s milk is much closer to cow’s milk than human milk and can lead to megaloblastic anemia(due to its lack of folic acid) and other problems due to its high solute load. Here is a good website for more info: If you scroll to the bottom of the article there is a section on goat’s milk.


  2. Liz M
    July 12, 2012 | 11:36 am

    First off, I just have to say that your comment of “There is nothing wicked in feeding your kids store bought bread and peanut butter,” left me smiling. 🙂

    Secondly, I was wondering if you would mind elaborating on your thoughts on “The Story of the World.” I appreciate your insight very much, and I respect deeply how you and your husband prayerfully consider each aspect of what you do and give your family.

    Thank you!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Happy to make you smile today.

    As for “Story of the World”, here are a few cautions I would offer:

    1. It has clear evolutionary presuppositions. Consider the headings within the first chapter:

    Chapter 1: The Earliest People
    Section 1: The First Nomads
    Section 2: The First Nomads Become Farmers

    In contrast the Bible teaches that the earliest people were farmers and tended livestock, not nomads. They were already living in cities during Cain’s life and by Genesis 4, people were forging tools of bronze and iron.

    Certainly not a deal breaker, we use a lot of books that have evolutionary presuppositions, but something I wouldn’t expect from a “Christian” author.

    2. It is very, very loose with the truth of the Bible, putting it on the level of myths and legends.

    The book often shifts between historical and legendary points of view without alerting the reader to the change.

    I agree with almost everything this reviewer had to say about the book, historical inaccuracies, not chronological and the big problem of mixing legend and historical fact.

    This is particularly troubling as a Christian who believes that the Bible is the inerrant Word of God. SOTW takes great liberties as it presents stories from the Bible and it presents these liberties as fact, not as possibilities.

    As it relates the story of Abraham it says that he did not want to leave the city of Ur to follow God and gives his various reasons. While this MAY be true, we certainly don’t get this from the biblical account yet SOTW states it as fact.

    It also attributes sinful pride to Joseph as he relates his dreams to his father and brothers. Yet, we don’t get this from the biblical account.

    3. It directly contradicts the Scripture when it relates the death of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. [This was the deal breaker for us]

    So the Romans helped some of the leaders of Judea arrest Jesus. They put him on trial for treason. The penalty for treason was death! Jesus was convicted of treason and put to death near Jerusalem, the capital city of Judea. ~ ‘Story of the World p 283

    However, the Bible tells a different story in Luke 23, John 19, Matthew 27 and Mark 14-15.

    Just as he was speaking, Judas, one of the Twelve, appeared. With him was a crowd armed with swords and clubs, sent from the chief priests, the teachers of the law, and the elders. Mark 14:43

    “Do you want me to release to you the king of the Jews?” asked Pilate, knowing it was out of envy that the chief priests had handed Jesus over to him. Mark 15:9

    Then Pilate announced to the chief priests and the crowd, “I find no basis for a charge against this man.” Luke 23:4

    Once more Pilate came out and said to the Jews, “Look, I am bringing him out to you to let you know that I find no basis for a charge against him.” John 19:4

    As soon as the chief priests and their officials saw him, they shouted, “Crucify! Crucify!” But Pilate answered, “You take him and crucify him. As for me, I find no basis for a charge against him.”

    The Jews insisted, “We have a law, and according to that law he must die, because he claimed to be the Son of God.” John 19:6-7

    According to the biblical account of Jesus’ trial and death, Pilate (the Roman official) found no fault in him. This is important! Jesus the sinless, innocent, guiltless savior died for our sin, not Jesus the man convicted of treason in the Roman courts and therefore earning the death penalty for Himself.

    **Pleas note, I no longer have my copy of SOTW so don’t have access to any other quotes than the ones above.**


    Liz M Reply:

    Thank you for taking the time to write all of this. I have not read any of SOTW myself but have heard a few other homeschool parents talk about it in a very positive manner. I really appreciate your insight – it is so important that we test everything and weigh it against God’s Word! Thank you again.


    Amanda Reply:

    Liz – Check out “The Mystery of History” curriculum! A great story-telling format for history (as is The Story of the World), however it takes no such liberties and all works toward revealing and tying in the Big Mystery of History from a world and Biblical perspective… Jesus Christ and his plan of redemption.


    Heidi Reply:

    That statement about bread and peanut butter made me smile as well. 🙂


  3. Mindi
    July 12, 2012 | 11:53 am

    Like Liz, I was wondering if you could give more information/specifics on The Story of the World books and the problems you found in them. Thanks!


  4. Rachel
    July 12, 2012 | 2:50 pm

    In response to Tamsin’s question, I have experience with supplementation.

    I’ve supplemented with goat’s milk. When my first was born, I had low supply. That’s pretty common with first-time moms, and it can be compounded (as in my case) by bad advice from doctors. Add to that that my son was born at 10 lbs 10 oz, and you’ve got one very hungry baby.

    I tried supplementing with formula, but my son was allergic to it (didn’t matter what kind I tried), it did not fill him up, and it did not improve his weight gain. So I switched to supplementing with a family recipe for goat milk formula (goat milk with just enough molasses to make it change color and a few drops of fish oil). It worked like a dream! I used it along with pumped breast milk in an SNS system (which worked much better than bottle feeding for us!).

    My son’s rate of weight gain never increased from sluggish until we started solids, which I did with doctor’s approval at 4 months. In order to make that transition easier and make sure he was getting enough calories, we started him with stevia-sweetened avocado and different fruit and vegetable purees enriched with cream. Since most foods have fewer calories and less fat than breast milk, we didn’t want him filling up on food but running short on energy consumed. Again, this worked beautifully.

    In order to boost my supply, I used a variety of natural remedies, pumped regularly, and took a small dose of domperidone (sp?).

    The main problem, though, is stress. Not only will stress reduce your supply, it will stress your relationship with your newborn and teach them that eating is a stressful experience (or that you think they are stressful). Don’t let your doctor get you into a panic. Make a point of relaxing, especially when you are holding the baby. I didn’t do this, and my three year old still has a love/hate relationship with eating. He’ll avoid it whenever he can. And it’s interfered with how our relationship has developed. I have a lot of catch-up work to do with my son now simply because I did not relax when he was a newborn. If I could go back and redo it all, I would. But I can’t, so all I can do is try to keep it from happening again.

    I hope that helps. Good luck. I know it’s hard.


  5. Crafty Mama
    July 12, 2012 | 3:33 pm

    LOL You sound like me….I killed our first batch of kefir grains. X-D Poor neglected things.


  6. Molly Plumb
    July 12, 2012 | 3:35 pm

    Thanks for the detailed info re SOTW. I can totally see why you have concerns re accuracy. What program have you moved to instead?


  7. Jama
    July 12, 2012 | 4:28 pm

    “And while this is all good and healthy, it’s more important that our children’s souls are nourished. There is nothing wicked in feeding your kids store bought bread and peanut butter.” Love this comment. 🙂


  8. katie w
    July 12, 2012 | 4:52 pm

    I agree with Christie regarding the mom with low milk supply. Kellymom is a great resource and she has an entire section dedicated to low supply. I went to the Breastfeeding center in our city and saw a lactation consultant and joined with our local le leche league for help. My lactation consultant recommended Fenugreek. you can get this in a pill or tea. It helped me so much I had to stop taking it because I leaked milk all day. There are some reasons you should not take it like diabetes, pregnancy all of the info can be found here
    I highly suggest seeing a lactation consultant or getting in touch with a LLL leader. They are more than happy to help and did wonders for this mom whose baby 16 weeks ago was not gaining any weight and today was told that he is in the 67th percentile for weight


  9. abba12
    July 12, 2012 | 6:11 pm

    I unfortunately had to formula feed my first baby, thanks to useless ‘experts’ and my own inexperience, plus some physical issues that may or may not have been correctable in a better situation. We found our baby just didn’t manage well with cows milk formula, however one brand makes a goats milk based formula which was wonderful, and smelt better than the cows formula 🙂 It’s pricey, but if you have to formula feed I’d recomend looking into it.

    I also wanted to say thank you for pointing out that you couldn’t have kept up with all this healthy eating stuff when you had all little ones. I see so many things I want to do, but I know I need to be patient, that if I begin them now it simply wouldn’t work, I need to wait until things change. I still wish I could bake fresh bread every day, but right now I’m lucky if I bake our morning tea sweets once a week. One day things will be different, it’s just a matter of accepting my limitations now.


  10. Sue Farr
    July 13, 2012 | 10:15 am

    Here is a link to a friend’s recent discussion of her breastfeeding experiences with a recipe she uses for goat’s milk formula.


  11. Amanda W
    July 13, 2012 | 10:44 pm

    So far my husband and I have 6 children, the youngest of which are twin boys – and I have had to supplement with every baby starting in the first week – using an SNS or LactAid to supplement while nursing. While pregnant with my twins I found the greatest resource – the book ‘The Breastfeeding Mother’s Guide to Making More Milk’ by Diana West and Lisa Marasco. I would highly recommend it to anyone concerned about supply issues – and it is recommended by LLL!

    Also, we were able to switch from using formula to diluted goat’s milk to supplement my twins starting at about 8 weeks and they have done very well. I would certainly encourage each person to research it for themselves though.


  12. Adina
    November 28, 2015 | 1:09 pm

    I have a easy method for fermenting kefir.
    Take a large lid plastic bottle. Heat a forks teeth on the gas stove fire and then insert it into the cap. this makes holes in the lid. The more holes the better. Now simply dump your kefir grains and milk into the bottle and ferment. When youre ready to drink- turn the bottle over and squeeze it into a cup. (The cap works as the sifter and the squeezing makes the kefir come out quickly). When its time to make a new batch, take the cap of add milk and cover again with cap.😀


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