Getting it All Done while Nursing a Baby


This month’s joint 4 Moms topic is derived from a reader question (honestly, nearly all of the topics we tackle are from reader questions), but I wanted to share the whole question, because I wanted to answer all parts of it.moms of many manage

(a)How do you nurse and get everything else done around the home without having older children or family around to help? (b)Do you have a method for nursing and walking around? If so could you describe how? (c)Any other suggestions for multitasking? (d)Do you nurse while writing?

(a) The truth is that you probably won’t  “get everything else done around the home”, whether you’re nursing a baby or not and whether you have older children or family around to help or not.

I’ve nursed a newborn when I had no other children old enough to help (4 kids, 3 and younger) and no family available to pitch in. I’ve nursed a newborn when I’ve had several older children around to help and I’ve not been nursing any baby AND had older children around to help and I still haven’t gotten to a place that I get everything done around the house.

I think that if you have kids, especially if you have a larger than average number of children, you will constantly be in a place that there is more to do; more to clean, organize, cook, de-clutter, teach, disciple, etc. I think the thing to do is to make sure you take time out of ‘doing’ and just be with your children. The ‘doing’ things will still be there when you’re done, unfortunately. 🙂


Valor (10 months), my current nursing baby

(b) No. I’m don’t like the idea of nursing the baby while walking around and doing other things. I think it’s important to sit down and nurse the baby. You need the rest and the baby needs you.

The truth is that when Amber, our first, was a baby,  I vividly remember nursing her while vacuuming. Looking back I realize how SILLY that was. Really? I was so busy with one newborn and a small home that I couldn’t find time to vacuum between feedings. It’s a vivid demonstration of the fact that my priorities were out of whack.

All of that said, there are rare occasions when we are traveling or on a day trip, when I will pack the baby into a carrier (a sling is easiest for this) and allow them to nurse and snuggle off and on throughout the day. I generally do this to keep them happy and/or to boost milk supply when we’re super busy and I’m generally getting less sleep. But even when I do this, I sit down and feed them several times throughout the day, so this is in addition to feedings, not to replace them.

Valor (10 months) my current nursing baby

Valor (10 months) my current nursing baby

(c) Generally the only multi-tasking I do when nursing is to read or listen to reading.

(d) Not really. During the first few weeks of nursing a newborn, I find that I can do some typing while nursing, but after they are a few weeks old, I can’t really hold the baby and type at the same time.

Bottom line, if you want to hear one of the big lessons I’ve learned about being a parent: You will not regret sitting down and spending time with your children, even if it means that other things may not get done.

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8 Responses to Getting it All Done while Nursing a Baby
  1. Ashley Meiners
    July 11, 2013 | 9:51 am

    Thank you so much for this post! Today is my first day home alone with four children. Obviously I’m nursing quite often and sometimes wonder if I should be multitasking as I read so many women are able to do. This was just the encouragement and affirmation I needed to know it’s okay to sit and nurse our baby girl!


  2. Rachel
    July 11, 2013 | 10:08 am

    I totally agree that a lot of things have to take a back seat to nursing. I’m a mom of 3 right now (ages 4, 2, and 4 mos), and as a mom in the thick of it, I have to admit that the dishes don’t get done as often as I like. But I would like to offer a different view on nursing while walking.

    I really enjoy nursing and walking at the same time. First, I find it benefits my posture. Second, it’s easier for me to keep a handle on my older two boys if I can be on my feet quickly or am already on my feet. Third, I find that walking often causes me to let down more frequently. When I had supply problems with my oldest, learning to walk and nurse really helped my supply (I was the weird lady grocery shopping with my husband while nursing in the middle of the night0.

    For the first few weeks pp, I think it’s really important to stay off your feet while nursing, not only to help with recovery but to get the feel for nursing this particular baby. For a first time mom, I remember nursing being a really steep learning curve. It took me a week to figure out how to nurse without taking my shirt all the way off! Once I had a feel for it, though, I was able to figure a lot of other things out–like walking.

    I completely agree that nursing has to be a very high priority. There isn’t going to be a lot of multi-tasking going on. Nursing time these days is a good time for me to PLAN. It’s when I make the grocery list, menu plan, work on the budget. But it’s more importantly a time to focus on baby. Depending on you and your baby, that MAY involve walking sometimes. It may not.

    Newborns sleep a lot. There will be plenty of time to slap some food together or change out the wash while baby is napping. As baby gets older, he’ll figure out pretty quickly how to incorporate himself into the household.


  3. Elizabeth Sacks
    July 11, 2013 | 10:24 am

    I am nursing too, I have 4 kids, 6 (almost 7!) 5, 2, and 4 months. I’ve found that I need the break as much as the baby needs to nurse. I’m moving all day, chasing, playing, cleaning, getting, doing, etc. When it comes time to nurse, the 20-30 minutes of quiet is welcome. I use this time to read to/with the other children, or to socialize with other grown ups via email, blogging, or facebook. I miss nursing once baby is old enough to wean themselves, or when I’m pregnant. I don’t have my “built in break times!” Haha! I just can’t get it all done, I’ve come to grips with that. But I do get quite a bit done when baby is napping. I’ve learned to hustle when he’s doing his 2-3 hour afternoon nap. You’d be surprised what you can get done in that time if you REALLY multitask!
    The only times I multitask and nurse is when I’m out, or when my children misbehave. Overheard in my house: “Don’t make me put this baby down!” I don’t usually have to put him down, but I will get up, with baby, and walk over to the disturbance to become a very real presence. That alone usually calms the argument, or stops the behavior. When we’re out, I nurse in a carrier. We went to Gettysburg on July 4 for the 150th anniversary re-enactment, since there was practically nowhere to sit about 80% of the time, I did a lot of nursing and walking. Nobody noticed, because by baby no. 4, I’ve learned the art of layering clothing to make makeshift nursing clothing, so that it just looks like I’m holding baby tight and he’s rearranged/wrinkled my shirt a bit.

    That said, I LOVE this post. So encouraging. Thanks for posting, even if just to remind us other nursing Mommies, however experienced, that taking a break with baby is a good thing!


    Kimberly @ Raising Olives Reply:

    Yes. I should have said that in the post, nursing gives mom a chance to sit down and rest.

    There are times when I would probably miss all the meals in a day and not sit down at all if I didn’t have to sit down and nurse. And I would certainly be perpetually dehydrated because I would never stop to drink.


  4. Annie
    July 11, 2013 | 11:09 am

    “You will not regret sitting down and spending time with your children, even if it means that other things may not get done.”

    Great advice even for those who aren’t nursing babies during their season of life.


  5. Linda
    July 11, 2013 | 1:44 pm

    Well said Kimberly!
    Over the past 13 1/2 years I have nursed 9 babies for a total of 8 years and 11 months (average of 9 months each baby). I look back on all my nursing times with great joy. I got to sit, relax, enjoy my baby, perhaps read a book (to myself, a child, or a child to me), and no, everything else did not get done and now is still not getting completely done even with no nursing baby and big children to help. I wouldn’t trade those sit-down nursing times for anything! I almost feel sorry for all the husbands in the world because they don’t get to do that. 🙂


  6. Linda
    July 11, 2013 | 1:47 pm

    By the way, Valor is adorable! His white chub reminds me of my 10 month old Timothy’s white chub. He’s soooo squeeeezable.


  7. Annie
    July 12, 2013 | 9:32 am

    Thank you for reminding us we won’t get it all done!
    I struggle with letting go of priorities when the moments are too thick. Things I’ve comitted to doing, like cloth diapers, cooking from scratch, the list is long.
    I definitely understand the verse better that says:
    Proverbs 17:1 “Better is a dry morsel and quietness with it than a house full of feasting with strife.”
    And Proverbs 14:4, “Where no oxen are, the manger is clean, but much revenue comes by the strength of the ox.”
    I struggle with cleanliness and the lack of. Maybe because I view it as my “job”? A reflection or report card on my stay-at-home abilities? I used to be online much looking for motherly encouragement. But all I felt was unworthiness. It seems that most of the bloggers who say it doesn’t matter and to focus on the kids still seemed to present their lives in “perfect order.” I think that led to feelings of discontent and insecurity for me. Holding my own life to a standard that I couldn’t fulfill. “If they can manage THAT with more kids than me…” So, I stopped going online! Stayed more in the Word. I get your emails and that is it. It is still a struggle. I imagine most women are struggling. I quit Facebook about 2 1/2 years ago. I was feeling the same feelings there. I can’t imagine being surrounded by lives that looked better or more successful. I think the enemy is waiting to serve us up a plate of lies that way.
    Anyhow, I’m encouraged particularly by this post. Thank you!


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