Breastfeeding and Juggling 3 Kids

Updated on September 01, 2010
J.R. asks from Boston, MA
13 answers

So I'm pregnant with my third child, due in October. I have a ten year old and an almost 2.5 year old. I didn't breastfeed very long with either of them and am determined to make a better go at it with this baby. My ten year old was born with cleft lip/palate and I pumped for 6 weeks (through 3 bouts of mastitis) and with my 2 year old, I could never get him to latch properly, starting pumping exclusively, got a really bad case of mastitis and just gave up. (And I've already done my homework about resources I can call upon once I get home with this one.) With those two I also did not have a lot of time off from work. With this baby, I'll have a lot more time, but the thing I keep wondering is how on earth I'm going to be able to do this with 3 kids? When she is born, my oldest will be in full swing participating in school activities and sports. I don't have any problem throwing a cover on and breastfeeding, but how am I going to take a newborn out to, say, a basketball game with a 2.5 year old in tow by myself? (AND deal with the possibility of the baby being around people with colds/flu.) I'm pretty sure I'm not coordinated enough to run after my son at the same time I'm feeding the baby. My husband will be there quite often but I know there are going to be times that I'll be by myself. My husband is also a basketball coach and when we go to his games my son sees his daddy and loses his mind and no toy or book can distract him - all he wants to do is run onto the court and see Daddy! I guess I'm just curious how other moms deal and if anyone has any ideas/suggestions?

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answers from Dallas on

I think you're thinking a little too far ahead. : ) Everything will work out for you exactly how it's supposed to. I think breastfeeding is so much less work than bottle feeding, and I know that to be true because I breastfed # 1, bottle fed # 2 and exclusively breastfed # 3 who was also only 2 yrs apart from # 2. Life with 3 is busy and sometimes a lot more hectic and always on the go so it makes it a lot more convenient that when you're heading out, you won't have to worry about bringing the formula and bottles, you'll have everything you need on you! : ) I am not a public nurser, I commend those who do and wish I had that courage but for some reason, it never felt comfortable to me. I always found the car to be more comfortable and that's just where I went to feed the baby if and when we were out in public.

And I'm not a homebody so we were out often but if never seemed to be a hassle. It only took me about 15-20 minutes a feeding and I usually only had to do it once while we were out so hubby just watched the kids until I was back and then everyone was happy. If you worry yourself too much about it now, then it may discourage you to keep breastfeeding if you run into any bumps in the road during the first few weeks of babies life, which are usually the toughest getting a good schedule down and what not.

So hang in there and know everything will work out just how it's supposed to and I'm sure you'll find BF to be much more convenient then making sure you always have sterilized bottles, the right kind of formula, keeping the bottle warm while your out, uggghhh it can be a hassle, especially when baby is screaming and demanding to be fed right at that moment! : ) I also always loved knowing that if we ever got stranded or the car broke down then my baby wouldn't starve to death!

Do you remember the story of the family whose car broke down in a winter storm and they were stranded for days in their car? The only thing the mom had to feed her two kids was her breastmilk and it kept them all alive, unfortunately the dad didn't make it when he went to seek help, but I'll never forget that story and I think it's a great reminder of one of the many benefits breastfeeding can do for you and your child. Congratulations and good luck!

2 moms found this helpful


answers from Boston on

I have three kids, all less than 2 yr apart. I have breastfed all of them, and we definitely don't stay home. The first thing to remember is that newborns do eat a lot, but they also sleep a lot. If you get a sling (disclaimer: I sell them at, your baby will sleep right through all the 10-year-old's activities. My 10-month-old still takes naps lying down in a sling, and he sits up in one when he's awake -- if we're out and about, which is frequently, he's pretty much always in a sling, and naptime can be anywhere. I was never able to nurse while carrying my babies in a sling, but I know a lot of people do. At the very least, you can nurse while sitting down but be able to get up at a moment's notice to chase any other children. And do look into nursing attire (, which I find makes public nursing more comfortable.

Good luck, and don't worry too much. As another poster said, life with three kids is busy, but it really will all work out.



answers from Boise on

I'm not juggling 3, but do have the 2.5 year old. For germs, get a kiddie cover for your carseat, use front carriers, other things that discourage people from touching. You can also put a light blanket over them when you are in a crowd and they are in a front carrier. Talk to your son, and tell him what is expected at certain times. He is going to be a big brother, and a big helper. I took my baby to a parade with my son, and he was SOOO good. Never ran into the street, just sat patiently! Don't know how that happened. :)

For feedings, I suggest a hooter hider, blush topless shirts, and nursing tops. This will make you much less self conscious, and if you do have to go running after your son, you won't be so exposed. :)

And some things you may just have to pass up. There are a few outings where I have just said no, it is too much to try to juggle, the baby is too young for that crowd, etc.



answers from Boston on

invest in a good sling or carrier so you can nurse hands free and on the move. I loved my slingling I was able to nurse while grocery shopping no problem and I also love my ergo.



answers from Hartford on

I am really bad at multitasking and nursing, just could not do it. however....I did figure out how to nurse while walking around the block while baby was in the ergo. I would look into a baby carrier, bc if I can do it anyone can...really LOL



answers from Washington DC on

Use yor M. friends. As a military wife who has breastfed three at various soccer, cub scout, girl scout etc, you name it events without Daddy, you ue sho you can.
If Daddy is on the court then the 10 year old is in charge of 2 year old. If 10 year old is on the court then a make good friends with the other moms on the team.
Also when my son's coach had her daughter with her, she was always in the coaches arms. She even ran with the balls and dribbled (soccer) with her in tow. It'll work out.
Or find a really nice 14 year old with no boyfriend and hire her while you are at the games.



answers from Chicago on

Honestly, we stayed home. My husband took the oldest to their activities and I stayed home with the baby or the other child. Or I worked in advance to get friends/other soccer team moms to carpool. Most people were very understanding and willing to help out since they were already driving to practice or a game anyway. We watched LOTS of movies at home. My husband got me NetFlix as a "treat". He got the two a week program so I could get a movie and the kids could get one too. It really helped us to survive cold a flu season being cooped up. Also, we scaled back on the "activities" for the bigger kids A LOT! We told them that we would go on a family vacation in the spring/summer when the baby was healthy enough to get out and about.

To make the bigger kids not feel like the baby was getting all of the attention or that our lives stopped because of the baby, we made a special effort to give them one on one time with Mommy or Daddy on the weekends. Plus the grandparents took them out to lunch, let them sleep over one at a time, etc. Friends were also very willing to do playdates at THEIR houses so I could rest, clean, etc.

As far as the breastfeeding, do your best and don't beat yourself up if it doesn't work out. If the latch doesn't go well, try hard, and keep pumping. Of course breastmilk is best, but you're only human! Work with a lactation consultant when you are IN the hospital with baby #3 - ours give free visits and consultations while you're admitted and there's a weekly Mommy's Group for breastfeeding mothers that's free and allows you to talk with the LC then too. Tell her about your past problems with the latch on and mastitis. She may tell you something new you didn't know, like using a heating pad before pumping/nursing, packing your boobs with ice packs to reduce the inflammation, etc.

Best wishes. Don't be so hard on yourself. It's OK to scale back and "protect" the baby from all the germs...even if the other kids stay home more than they have. You have your hands full. Don't burden yourself with unnecessary guilt too.




answers from Boston on

If you can manage to nurse using a sling, yay! I never got that to work for me, but I've seen ladies on the go, walking and nursing. As for me, I just tried to time things so that my 25-month-old was contained when I had to nurse, like in a stroller eating or in a mostly-fenced-in play area. Good for you for planning to be out and about!



answers from Wausau on

I have finally succeeded in breastfeeding now with my third, I have a 5 yr old not in school, a 3 year old and a now 4 month old. Due to latch issues and other with my first two I didn't make it past 5 weeks. With my third I still experienced latch issues and along top of medical issues I had a rough start once again with breastfeeding. Well I fed for a week off boob, got bad sores, started pumping, landed in hospital (baby got formula for a week while I pumped and dumped) then went to straight pumping and bottles only then added one feeding off boobie a day at a time until now 4 months just boobie. It was work but wow it is so much easier have clean steril boobies to feed off of each day and not have to do all the bottle stuff. I do still have to pump because now I make extra supply but it is worth it. And hubby takes the middle of the night feeding. With enough will you can do it. It takes work but I know what they mean by breastfeeding is so much easier, now that I have gotten to the easier best of luck and congrats on your third. three is fun!



answers from Springfield on

I agree with the other moms who said get a sling and some nursing bras and tops. I have a bunch of good motherwear tops that I wore everywhere. My 3 kids are 3 years apart and there were always 2 nursing at once so I had to be really coordinated! :)
I wore my sling everywhere and nursed everywhere with the baby in it. Slings weren't as available then as they are now to by so I bought a pattern and had my mom sew me one. This was less expensive and I got to choose the fabric from a wider variety. You could go either way.
You can do it!



answers from Boston on

I agree with the other women here who suggest a sling -- I liked the Maya Wrap for nursing in, though I love my mei tai for carrying, though unfortunately, you really can't nurse in it. Be careful putting a newborn in a sling though -- make sure that you can see the baby's face at all times -- small babies have suffocated in slings, so be sure that you get the positioning right. You can find all sorts of information on that online, and whatever you do, don't get a "bag sling." (here's a website that talks about those: ) I have 3 children as well (9, 5, and 19 mo.) and have nursed all three everywhere for many years. I admit, I tried using nursing clothes and coverups at the beginning, but abandoned them early because they were just too much trouble and once the baby gets old enough that he/she is interested in what's going on around them, the baby throwing the cover off and you putting it back on is much more obvious than just nursing discreetly by pulling up your shirt as much as necessary. Particularly when they want to play peek-a-boo. Good luck!



answers from Des Moines on

I am due in October with my 3rd too, We have a 3 and 5 yr old. I look forward to the responses you get because I am wondering much of the same when our little bundle arrives...Good Luck, I will be checking back on this one. :)



answers from Washington DC on

Juggling I can't help with. But I suggest you see a lactation consultant to help with the nursing issues. I think if nursing is going smoothly, there is no reason you should nt'n be able to figure out the rest. But when nursing is going badly, it is hard to put sentences together.

Other than that, I suggest you get a good cover (Nordstrom sells a great one) and a BreastFriend pillow too. Keep your two year old latched in the stroller or car seat when you have to nurse. And snacks, lots of 2 year old snacks.

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