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Q & A With a Breastfeeding Mom of TEN!

Heather, mother of ten children, is a personal friend of mine who is inspiring in many, many ways. One of them is that she has taken the time to nurse each of her children for their first year of life! I asked her if she could share some of her wisdom with us and she graciously agreed.

Interview with a Breastfeeding Mom of Ten


1. Thank you so much for agreeing to answer a few questions to give us insight into what it’s like to be a breastfeeding mom of ten! Can we start with you telling us a bit about yourself and your journey through motherhood?

I’m honored to be invited to share a bit about myself and my story, Anjanette. I guess I would be considered an “older, wiser woman” after breastfeeding ten children for a year each, and I hope that I can encourage some who are newer to breastfeeding, or considering it!

I have always wanted to be a wife and mother. My husband and I originally desired four children, but after we had those first four, God worked in our hearts to leave the family planning in his very capable hands. I was comfortable with the idea of breastfeeding, because I’d seen my own mother breastfeed my sisters, and I knew that it was good for the baby and cost-effective. It wasn’t until later that I learned of so many other benefits of breastfeeding!

2. Women choose to nurse their babies for many reasons. Why is breastfeeding important to you?

I know that breastmilk is best for babies, and I want what is best for mine. It is also important to me because it costs so little and it has faithfully helped me to return to pre-pregnancy weight quickly after giving birth.

3. In some families it is the default choice because of cultural tradition, and in others a hard-fought battle. Do you feel like you’ve had to face any external opposition to your decision to breastfeed? How did you overcome it?

Thankfully, I have had support from family and friends and never had to explain or defend my choice.

4. That’s great! Has breastfeeding each baby looked different for you as your family has grown? Do you think nursing babies in large families is different in many ways from nursing with only one or two siblings?

Well, I relaxed some as later babies joined our family. My first babies were on a pretty strict feeding schedule, which suited me just fine at that time. As my family has grown, I have become more flexible. I don’t watch the clock to determine when to feed baby. These last three learned to sleep through the night a little later than the older ones, too.

5. What has been your biggest struggle, internal or external, as you’ve worked to maintain your breastfeeding relationships with your babies?

I do not naturally enjoy a lot of physical touch, so it has been difficult for me sometimes to surrender myself to this precious little person’s needs. A few times I even briefly considered formula because I thought it would be wonderful to have a little freedom. I could never do it though because I want what is best for my baby. I have no regrets when it comes to the decision my husband and I made about how we’d feed our babies. I consider the ten years that I have breastfed to be one of my biggest life accomplishments.

6. In what ways has breastfeeding impacted or been influenced by your marriage relationship? What have you found to be the most important role for your husband to play in those early years?

It has been difficult for my husband to have to share me. He too wants what is best for baby, though. When baby is a year old though, he is ready for me to wean, and I am too.

7. Do you have any practical advice for new mothers regarding breastfeeding? Favorite helps or routines that have made it work for you?

I would suggest seeking out breastfeeding friends or a support group. This was so important for me! A book or iPhone has helped me to calm down and enjoy the down time when I’d rather be busy than sitting and nursing.

I would also suggest finding what works for you in your breastfeeding journey. There are so many ways to successfully breastfeed a baby! I found co-sleeping and nursing on demand very uncomfortable. After a year of breastfeeding I am ready to be done. I don’t enjoy wearing my baby very often. But I have a success story too! Be yourself.

I found the book The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding a great resource. I like disposable nursing pads a lot. “Undercover Mama” nursing tanks have been great for me, and Bravado nursing bras. I like to wear a “Hooter Hiders” nursing cover (with the tag removed!) when nursing away from home, or when we have male company, or when my teenage son is home.

8. And what kind of general encouragement do you love to pass on to nursing mothers? Any favorite wisdom or blessing that was given to you that you now pass along to others?

Breastfeeding your baby is really one of the best things you can do for him or her. It is beneficial to them in so many ways. It is one of the very best gifts that you can give them for their babyhood and for lifetime health.

At 43 years old, after giving birth ten times, I still wear the same size as I did in high school, and I think it’s worth mentioning how helpful breastfeeding is for mama’s health and well-being, too.

Thank you, again, so much for your willingness to answer these questions! We appreciate your thoughtful and honest responses, Heather, and I know that there are many who will be encouraged and comforted by all you’ve shared.

Anjanette Barr is wife to a librarian and mom of four living in Juneau, Alaska and loving the life God has blessed her with. Her days are filled with lots of silly antics and laughter, mountains of laundry, and more love than she could ever hope for or deserve. She blogs at Find her also on FacebookTwitter, and Pinterest.

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