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Managing Life Around Breastfeeding

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#1 JohBD

Posted 02 March 2009 - 09:58 AM

My youngest son is four weeks old tomorrow and I am pleased to say I am still breastfeeding him, despite some hassles along the way.

After only being able to breastfeed my first son for three-and-a-half weeks I am thrilled to already be past that milestone with my second. However, the time it takes to breastfeed and my inability to do much else while I am feeding has made me think about time management and organisation more than ever.

When Ethan was a week old I was admitted to the hospital I had only just left days earlier with him, suffering from an infection after retaining some of the placenta. At first the doctor thought I’d need a curette, but sent me home with two antibiotics to see if it cleared up without further intervention. Luckily the infection did and I had the all-clear a week later, but the antibiotics wreaked havoc with our feeding schedule. Ethan became sick and we had to put him on to formula for five days while I was taking the medication and had gone from my system. As my husband fed our smallest son I expressed milk to ensure my supply remained and it took almost an hour each time.

After a few days of mucking around with feeds when he went back to breastfeeding from having a bottle (Ethan had become lazy with his sucking) we settled back into a routine of 7-8 feeds in 24 hours. Then my 34-month-old son, Noah, figured out mum couldn’t do much while feeding Ethan, so this was the optimum time to be naughty. And he’s been having a ball: letting our rabbits out of their cage, filling the washing machine up with the chicken’s food, demanding food and drink, drawing on the carpet, fiddling with the television remote control and taking the footstool out from under my feet, amongst other things.

But these hassles paled into insignificance when compared with Saturday’s events. I was breastfeeding Ethan in the parent’s room at Myer while my husband and older son did some shopping. I always assumed parent’s rooms were safe, private places, but while I was indisposed, so to speak, a middle-aged woman came into the room looked around, looked at me and then walked out. Afterwards I noticed my purse was missing from my handbag, which had been in the bottom of the pram.

Couple with my fury that my purse had been stolen and I now had to cancel all my cards and replace the contents, was the fact the woman had looked at me and then taken my property. As I was on the phone to one bank she used the card twice, but I should be able to get that money back if the transactions are allowed to go through. Another bank is actually charging me $15 to replace the stolen card, but that is off topic! Thankfully the purse was found after being dumped and a lovely 17-year-old girl and her boyfriend picked up the scattered contents and called me to say they had it. My faith in humanity was restored.

The events of the past four weeks make me realise how much better I need to organise my time and myself so I can satisfy my young son’s hunger, my older son’s need for attention and my work and home commitments.

How do you or your partner cope with breastfeeding? Do you have tips to entertain toddlers or time-saving pointers?

#2 simpleferal

Posted 02 March 2009 - 10:23 AM

My youngest got very good at breastfeeding whilst I chased her 2yo brother around.  He had a knack of jumping up and down on the kitchen table as soon as she started feeding!

I had a huge variety of snacks that I kept handy (my DD would feed all day some days in the early weeks).  We had a small table that I kept near the couch so that he could sit and have his snacks while I had my hands full with his sister.  

Special toys kept aside for when I was feeding.  Things that he loved but I would only get out  when breastfeeding.  He wasn't the kind of child that would sit with Mummy and read a book while the baby breastfed, nor would he watch TV for longer than 5 seconds.  I had to lock doors to the outside so he couldn't get out the front (and near the road) while I was changing nappies.  

It seems so long ago now and I can't remember how I managed at the shops.  I disliked parents rooms (still do) for reasons like you mentioned above as I never felt safe in them.  I always felt vulnerable tucked away in the back of the shops and much preferred feeding in the main hub of the food court or some such.  My little boy usually stayed in his pram having some food while I fed his sister.  Luckily I never had issues with breastfeeding in public or I probably would never have gone out.  

Both my babies fed anywhere between 10 - 14 times a day in those early weeks and I was never one for staying at home.   I say it like it was easy but to be honest I found motherhood especially the first time extremely challenging.

#3 IndiRose

Posted 02 March 2009 - 10:25 AM

Not sure how much help I can be but I can relate. Firstly that is just incredible about yur purse that woman obviously stalking out the parents room for easy targets. I tend to bury my purse and keys etc inside the nappy bag when out it cuts down on the number of bags too. At home when I had my three under three I had an area sectioned locked gated off where they could do minimal damage.I would coral all children in the lounge room and lock all the doors. I can remember dragging them inside and tbh watching a bit of telly in the early days as well as cuddling and reading stories etc while feeding.

Toys and books within arms reach. Being honest with him too explaining that he is so stay and play while mum is feeding (worth a try biggrin.gif ) The main thing is that the length of feeding time gets shorter and for the older child the novelty of getting into mischief wears off eventually. I suceede in feeding no 2 for a year and no3 for 7 months (when he self weaned)

Just to add I don't think it is totally about breastfeeding either if you are sitting in a quiet parents room bottle feeding or at home feeding your son the same havoc can occur.

#4 JohBD

Posted 03 March 2009 - 07:57 AM

Hi Linshabroeth

I like your idea of special toys just for feeding time. I have tried cuddles and a book, but it's difficult to accommodate an extra child as I have to sit in an office chair with arms because our lounge is not conducive to feeding in.

I'm not so worried about feeding in public, but am still getting used to Ethan attaching (which can take up to 20 minutes some times) so I tend to want to be somewhere quiet. Ironically today when I was feeding his brother Noah was an angel and even helpful, so I can see we'll have good and bad feeds.

IndiRose, you're right about it not just being about breastfeeding but all feeding. I think I am just so focused on making it happen I tend to think about it too much! I tried the being honest approach and it didn't work but I'll keep it up because it might get in eventually. I like your gated section idea.

#5 froglet

Posted 03 March 2009 - 03:45 PM


I just wanted to add, that if you get past about 8 weeks of breastfeeding, it should actually get easier!!

I successfully fed both my boys, one for 12 and the other for 13 months.

I think you unfortunately haven't yet experienced the 'easy' part! I found after the first 8-12 weeks, it actually became EASY, the baby KNOWS how to latch on instantly.

And also, the better they get, shorter each feed will take. Often (after a few months) my boys would feed for 10 minutes and that was it for 3-4 hours!!!!

So, look forward to it, it should get easier for you, fingers crossed!

#6 Cherish

Posted 03 March 2009 - 03:58 PM


-Have a drink handy for yourself.
-Pack a lunch box and a drink for your other son, so that you can have access to it when you are feeding.
- Can you feed in a room that he can't get out of? Shut the doors or get some babygates?
-Get a special colouring in book that he can colour in when you are feeding.
-Have the remote control handy (for you)
-Could you put his favourite movie on when you are feeding?

#7 bubbasmummy

Posted 03 March 2009 - 04:18 PM

Like others have already said, the feeding gets faster as they get older. I'm still feeding my (almost) 14mth old and he only takes about 5 minutes.
I sympathise, the early days when you are both still learning it takes forever!
I don't have much advice regarding the older child, my older son is 5yrs so I just set him up with a movie etc. (when he wasn't at preschool) or bribed him to be good.
Good luck all! biggrin.gif

#8 murev

Posted 03 March 2009 - 08:12 PM

I am reading these stories and I'm in fits of laughter as I could probably see myself in the same situation.

My DS now 2 was kept safe in a playpen whilst I was BF. It kept me sane and I too had many toys and snacks to keep him entertained whilst feeding.

#9 ~sunnyrach~

Posted 03 March 2009 - 08:36 PM

Hang in there...my 9 week old DD has become a machine and can now feed in 10mins (It takes longer to give her a bottle of EBM...go figure wacko.gif) It will get easier! My DS tries to test the waters but now is happy to play quietly....since I have learned to move around and feed at the same time dev (6).gif

#10 MrsO

Posted 03 March 2009 - 09:14 PM

Just to add, sometimes the older child plays up just for the attention.  I found that is what my eldest did when number two came around.  She had major issues coping with competing with mummies attention.  I tried all the tricks and more with my eldest, but it didn't work.  I ended up with PND because i thought i was such a bad mummy (typical huh) but I can see now, that the most important thing is for the mummy to be happy.  If the mummy is stressed or upset, feeding is harder.  So, don't push yourself.  Just do what you can.

Words of wisdom? None really.  Just, hang in there.  As others have said, it can get easier (I know for some it won't - so won't bother telling you that its easier for EVERYONE).  

Re the babyroom incident. I am completely shocked.  I had not even thought about something like that happening.  The hide of the woman!  I will be more vigilent from now on!

#11 creativeabyss

Posted 03 March 2009 - 11:00 PM

Hi Joh, I only have one child so i can't really relate. I am reading this as so many of my friends are pregnant with their 2nd I wanted to get some tips.
I know when you breastfeed it is more comfortable for mum and bub to sit down especially when they are new and getting used to latching on and also it gives you time to relax. A couple of months down the track you could put your bub in a Baby Bjorn or Ergo Baby carrier. That way you could still do things with your toddler. I used to feed my son in the BBjorn all the time when I was preparing dinner or if I was out and about. Especially when out when he was a newborn and I didn't know when he was going to feed next or if there was going to be somewhere I could feed him.It is easy to do with the adjustable straps and you can put a wrap over the top if you are trying to get him to attach.

#12 JohBD

Posted 04 March 2009 - 09:54 AM

Thanks you everyone for your helpful comments and tips.

I did assume at some point it would get easier, and I'm definitely not there yet but willing to stick it out! At this point I can't imagine feeding any way other than sitting, but I'll know in time whether I can feed and multi-task.

Noah was really good yesterday while I was feeding (almost like he knew I was talking about him) but the ideas listed are very good so I'll be trying them.

Thanks again.


#13 smithsholidayroad

Posted 04 March 2009 - 12:25 PM

How do you or your partner cope with breastfeeding? Do you have tips to entertain toddlers or time-saving pointers?

I am currently still BF my 8 month old DD.  I also have a 4 year old.

Initially it was really hard as feeding seemed to take up most of my day...most of my days used to belong to Cooper and this was a huge shock when I was not able to be at his beck and call as such.

I think it's all about forward thinking..planning and being organised for the whole production to run smoothly! lol 2 children is a huge change from 1!

- special books to read together
- special little lunchbox with finger foods/treats
- have their drink/cup accessible as somehow they are immediatey thirsty when attachment occurs!
- portable dvd player
- nothing breakable or needing adult help/support

and enjoy the feeds when your other child is alseep! lol I think that is why the 3am feed still is my favourite.

and yes it definately gets easier , faster, better and enjoyable for the whole family.  I especially love to feed when housework/dinner needs to be done! lol


#14 mummyof*4*

Posted 04 March 2009 - 12:48 PM

I have 3 kids (4,3 & 1), all fully breastfed. I learned very quickly to multitask whilst breastfeeding - I could run after my other kids, breastfeed, talk on the phone and cook tea all at once! But it wasnt always easy. There is only 15 months between my first two DD's and the eldest is really jealous so when DD#3 came along she would use feeding times to punch/bite/kick/terrorise DD#2 because she knew that I was tied down. So I would put a movie on, or my DD's would BF their dolls or we would just go outside ( in the summer) and they would give me some peace for the 15 mins it took to feed.
As for public parenting rooms. I HATE them. The one at our local shopping centre doesn't have a feeding room, just a change table and toilet and it always smells. I wouldnt eat in there and I wouldn't ask my DD to either! So I would feed in public. Granted, its something that you need a lot of confidence for ( especially if you are having attachment difficulties) but its against the law for people to discriminate against you for feeding your baby in public so I feel quite comfortable with it. Its not like I swing my boobies around for all to see either!  oomg.gif

#15 grandparent

Posted 05 March 2009 - 02:21 PM

Firstly, congratulations on the birth of your baby son and on successfully breastfeeding for a longer time than with number one. I have 3 children all grown adults and each one I breastfed for longer, beginning with 3 weeks for the first. But it wasn't a breeze that's for sure.

Now I'm a grandma of a splendid 5 month old girl and I care for her 2 days a week as my daughter has returned to work part time. I'm amazed at how much easier the breastfeeding experience has been for my daughter... I think she is calmer and was 9 years older than me when I had my first. She is expressing for the days she works and Olive is adapting to the bottle on those days. It's a lot of work for my daughter I think but since the baby is thriving it must be worth it for the lovely closeness she has when she arrives home and gives her her evening feed.

Another reason I responded to your writing is that I felt a little stereotyped by your description of the middle aged woman who stole your wallet in the parents room followed by what seemed a comparison to the lovely 17 year old who assisted you. It seemed 'ageist'.

I had a similar experience several weeks ago when I sat down in a cafe and ordered an iced coffee. A young woman speaking on a mobile phone sat down on the seat next to mine with her packages next to my handbag. When I turned my head to see my bag her hand was quickly withdrawn from it (she was still on the phone) and she got up and disappeared into the crowd. Fortunately I didn't lose my wallet as you did... but my point is that both criminal tendencies and helpfulness are not linked to age. I affirm the role of all  mothers of babies and young toddlers as looking after my granddaughter has reminded me that it is a 'real job' which is of huge benefit to society as well as a wonderful chance to build a close connection.

#16 JohBD

Posted 06 March 2009 - 10:11 AM

Hello SmithFamily - I agree about the feeds when my toddler is asleep or not with me. It's so much more enjoyable and I feel less stressed.

Mummyof3 - I can never see myself running after my toddler while breastfeeding (but maybe that's because I don't run normally - lol!) but I am so impressed by your multi-tasking abilities.

Grandparent - I'm sorry if you thought I was ageist because that was not my intention at all. I was actually trying to do the opposite. Thanks also for your lovely, supportive comments. My mum feels the same way about you about being a grandmother and it wonderful you can build a special relationship with your granddaughter while her mum continues to work.

#17 saratano

Posted 13 March 2009 - 04:11 PM

I am in the same boat at the moment or at least was until about 2 weeks ago.

I am b/f my 8 week old son and other son is only 17months.

My relief has come from putting a comfy chair in his fully gated toy room.

I will start feeding where I feel most comfortable (the lounge). If the 17 month old misbehaves then we all go into the toy room. Occassionally he is ok with this and other times he screams at the top of his lungs. (I just ignore it as I know it is only anger). I can happily feed knowing then the older is safe and occupied. (even if he doesn't always agree). He only likes to be in his toy room when the gates are open, so when I close them behind us that is why we get issues sometimes. But hey, he can deal with it, it is the safest place for him where I can watch him and still feed.

I would like to add though that it only works if there is no meals due or sleep for older child. (lucky feeding hasn't fallen on these times yet). It has however fallen on afternoon and morning tea. I get something ready and he sits on his little table and chair in the toy room with it.

Hope this helps.

#18 tracychook

Posted 15 March 2009 - 03:52 PM

Are there any other mums out there with very large /unusally shaped breasts who can give some tips on how to move around while breastfeeding?  We're trying for number 2 now and how to breastfeed the next one with a very very active DS around (every parent we meet comments on how active he is) is my greatest fear.  I had milk supply issues with him and could only partly breastfeed DS for the first 7 months before he rejected the breast, but that's about 5 months longer than the MACH nurses thought we'd make!  And I have very large breasts, and one where the nipple actually points down to the floor, not kinda forward like it should, so feeding while walking around I found pretty impossible with DS.  I really want to pull out all the big guns with number 2 to try and establish the milk supply well - 2 hourly feeds, lying down feeds to rest and help the milk supply, etc.  So I'm already trying to work out how I'm going to do that and keep my ultra active DS happy - with no family who can come and help either.  I'd love to be able to move around a bit while breastfeeding to help keep DS occupied but I couldn't work out how to do it with him - so if anyone in a similiar situation has some tips I'd love to hear them.

#19 LunaLovegood

Posted 15 March 2009 - 10:41 PM

The events of the past four weeks make me realise how much better I need to organise my time and myself so I can satisfy my young son’s hunger, my older son’s need for attention and my work and home commitments.

Why the need to be a superwoman when you've just had a baby? I know things need to be done around the home and a toddler kept occupied but I think you might be stretching yourself a bit too much here. After I gave birth to each of my three children, my time was theirs (at least during those lovely first 3 months until they found their own rhythm with sleep and feeds). Until then, breastfeeding and bonding was of utmost importance to me and that's what I did first and foremost above anything else that needed to be done. Toddlers survived fine entertaining themselves and they were not damaged in any way just because mum was feeding the new baby for a few minutes. Once baby was done feeding I was all theirs as well. It was amazing how much stress dissipated once I let go of the other non-important things I had going at the time. Just be with your baby. These times are so precious!

#20 JohBD

Posted 17 March 2009 - 08:39 AM

Hi saratano. Feeding in the toy room is a good idea and I could substitute that for feeding in my toddler's room while he plays happily and I might get some peace! Thanks for the food for thought.

Tracychook I can really relate to what you're saying, and your reply highlighted the reason I can't really move around while feeding. I have large breasts, but small nipples, both of which are flat and point to the left and right. For these reasons attachment is difficult (last week a midwife commented on how flat my nipple was and how she understood why I was having difficulty. My response was, "that is the good nipple"!) and the football hold is where we have most success because the nipples point that way. I don't have any pointers for you, but could do with some myself.

MeNess - point taken, however I have to work because we have a mortgage to pay. Luckily I work from home so I can work around feeding time. I realise this means missing out on some of this early time with my newborn, but it is reality for many. As for being superwoman, you should see the state of the house! Housework is the non-important thing I've let slip for the moment.

#21 tracychook

Posted 18 March 2009 - 11:01 AM

Hey Joh - the joys of odd breasts!  The football hold was best for me too but the number of pillows I had to uase on our couch was ridiculous.  Once number 2 is well on the way I'll be insisting we work a breastfeeding chair into our budget - the ones at the hospital were much easier to use than any chair I have at home.  And good on you for fitting some work in around your 2!  I am truly in awe of mums who manage to work at home with their kids around - I'd have to sit myself in a playpen to stop DS climbing all over me the second I sat down!

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