How Moms Do: Baby Care

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How do moms take care of their babies? Here are a few ways moms address the nursing/bottle and other baby care issues.

How Moms Do It: Baby Care | Life as MOM

My mom seemingly had an easy time adjusting to motherhood. I have no recollection of my sisters being born, but I was 7 and 14 when my brothers finally arrived. I remember watching her nurse and diaper them, rock them to sleep, jiggle them when they were fussy.

When I turned 25 and my first baby was born, I thought I knew more than I really did. I was about 8 months pregnant when I first saw a video of childbirth. I was shocked. I remember turning to my husband and saying, “If I had seen this before, we would not be here.” Oh my!

There’s a lot to learn when you have a first baby. Everybody knows that, right.

Well, let me tell you something: there’s a lot to learn when you have every baby. Each baby. Any baby. You know what I mean. I have learned so much with each baby. They are all different. You would think that by the sixth, I would have this infant/child care thing down pat. But, no, I’m still learning new things about children, parenting, and general family health with kids that are 6, 8, 10, 12, 14, and 17.

Probably one of the most advice-giving topics of new parenthood is the feeding and caring of babies. Everyone has an opinion. Everyone has a story. And that’s good. We can learn from each other.

Your mileage may vary.

For my part, I breastfed all six of our babies from birth to at least a year, some as long 19 months or so. You can read my story of breastfeeding expectations here. I never was successful with pumping and bottle feeding, but breastfeeding worked for us. I’m super thankful for the experience, but I don’t take it for granted.

Babies 1 and 2 slept in our beds all night long. Baby 3 loved the crib, but still worked his way into bed with us from time to time. Babies 4, 5, and 6 started out in the crib each night and ended up with us most mornings. My mom had raised her babies this way, so it made sense to me. I had no idea in 1997 that it was so controversial.

If you had to label us, you’d probably say we did attachment-style parenting. So far, the experiment is working. We still learn new things every day. And we make plenty of mistakes.

How Moms Do It: Baby Care | Life as MOM

Today as the first in our How Moms Do It. We’re tackling baby care. I quizzed nine moms on how they took care of Baby, and here’s what they said. I hope you’re encouraged that there are lots of ways that moms do it. Find the one that works best for you and your family.

Here’s how moms do it:

From Rachel:

Brenke - 125My children’s feeding patterns have varied depending on my life stage. With my first I was on the ground-floor of running my business, working and in school so I supplemented nursing with bottles. My second and third children were during law school where I quit nursing pretty quick because pumping wasn’t working. My fourth child gave up on me when I went on a work trip and never would go back on the breast. I’m currently with my 5th and she has exclusively nursed so far at two months old, which is extremely difficult tryin to run the business from home but we make it work.

Rachel Brenke is an author, photographer, lawyer and business consultant for photographers and bloggers.

From Jo-Lynne:

Jo-Lynne Shane - 125I breastfed all three of my babies. Breastfeeding came easily to me, and I was fortunate to have the support of my mother as well as many friends who were new moms “in the trenches” with me. My best advice is to try to be patient, relax, and at least give it a try. Breastfeeding was an awesome experience for me, but I know that it isn’t for every woman. At the end of the day, the important thing is that a baby is loved and fed. Don’t get caught up in the “mommy wars”. Just do your own thing with confidence, and you and your baby will be better off for it.

– Jo-Lynne Shane is founder and editor of the award-winning lifestyle blog which bears her name (formerly Musings of a Housewife), where she shares her love of style and her passion for healthy living and family travel with a highly engaged female audience.

From JessieLeigh:

JessieLeigh - 125I have exclusively formula-fed, exclusively pumped, and exclusively breastfed babies. You will get no judgment from me– zero. You absolutely HAVE to do what’s best for you, your baby, and your family. For me, ultimately, exclusive breastfeeding was the easiest of the three, but that’s not always the case. Don’t let fear of what others will think dictate what you do. Rest assured that this is truly only one of many choices you will make as a parent and it does not determine the quality or depth of your love. (p.s. My child with the prodigy-level IQ was the formula-fed one. True story. Breastfeeding is awesome, but don’t let anyone tell you that breastfed babies are the only smart ones.)

– A mother of three, including a 24 week preemie, JessieLeigh is a determined advocate for even the tiniest of babies. 

From Connie:

Connie - 125I have breastfed all my babies for at least a year. With my first, I returned to teaching when she was 6 months old, so I pumped and froze that for her nanny to give her during the day. It was difficult, but I managed to make it work. My 4th had some failure to thrive issues related to a kidney disease, so we had to supplement with special high calorie formula for her. Moms, don’t give up, and don’t feel guilty about doing whatever it takes to help your baby thrive.

Connie is a former public school teacher turned homeschool mom of 8, ages 4-20 who blogs about parenting, large family living, homeschooling, and more, all with a touch of humor.

From Prerna:

Prerna smallI breastfed my daughter and the only advice I’d have for new moms is to be patient… with themselves and their baby. I used to get so overwhelmed with breastfeeding but the moment I started just going with the flow {Literally!!}, it became SO much easier.

– You can find Prerna Malik cheering moms on at The Mom Writes and serving up good-for-your-business content at Social Media Direct.

From Linsey:

Linsey Knerl - 125My approach toward infant feeding has evolved as I’ve aged. My first baby was fed on formula, because I was a busy, 20-year-old, working mom and had no family support to try nursing. With each child after, I nursed, and each child was nursed longer. My career change to working solely from home with my 4th allowed me to nurse past a year and use very little formula. Finally, with my 5th and 6th babies, I nursed well into toddler hood. My goals with them were to nurse past 2 years to meet the recommendations of WHO and my doctor.

I would strongly recommend that you give nursing a try, and give it at least 3 weeks before quitting. During this time, you will feel so frustrated, but family support can get you through. Don’t hesitate to use a nursing pump to give your baby breast milk, if you find it to be too much of a challenge, or you have health issues (like a c-section) that makes nursing painful. (I had 6 sections!)

– Linsey Knerl is a Nebraska Mom of 6, a freelance writer, and the passion behind, (the FAQ for work-at-home moms.)

From Amy:

Amy McGuire -125I’ve exclusively breastfed all six of my babies, just not all at once. 😉 I remember the pain and tears and “baseball boobs” after that very first baby, gritting it out in those first few weeks because I! Will! Do! This! “It shouldn’t hurt,” they say. (bull) I didn’t feel comfortable for about six weeks, but the rest is history.

My best advice is don’t measure. Don’t measure the time (my second son would nurse for an hour at a time, little porker) and don’t measure your output. You can SEE your output in your healthy baby. The only thing you might want to measure is YOUR input. Don’t forget to drink ridiculous amounts of water! (I’ve had the raging, dizzying headaches to prove that I don’t always take my own advice.) Yes, nursing a little one will suck your life away in those first few months, but it’s such a blessing to be able to nourish my babes!

– Amy is a mom of six, embracing the extraordinary in every day and sharing the crazy at Amy’s Finer Things.

From Deanna:

deannaI have 3 children. 1 was fed by g-tube, 1 was fed solely by bottle (formula), and the 3rd was breastfed only. My goal heading into motherhood was to nurse all of my children, but each child came with their own specific needs and ideas as to how they were going to work things. I went with the flow and matched their feeding styles to what they needed. At first this caused me much guilt, but the longer I have been a parent, the more I realize that this is just a tiny drop in the bucket of motherhood. It might not look the way I wanted, but the important thing is that I love them, feed them, and follow their cues for their reality versus my expectations.

– Parenting three kids five and under keeps Deanna quite busy, but there’s always enough time left at the end of the day to write all about the insanity in her award-winning blog Everything and Nothing from Essex

From Amy:

amy-gross-125I nursed each of my three children from birth until 15-17 months, depending on the child. Each child was exclusively breastfed until solid food was introduced and even then I stuck to breastmilk as opposed to formula.

Breastfeeding was a HUGE challenge for me at first and, unfortunately, the staff at the NICU where my firstborn spent his first night were not all that helpful, except for one angel of a nurse who calmed me and comforted me through a few of my feedings. I am truly thankful to my OB, who educated me as to the benefits to my baby and me, as well as my husband who stood firm as my advocate in those early hours, and also calmed me as I cried trying to get the hang of it that first frustrating week. One time, my husband even politely stood up for me as a woman berated me for nursing my baby in a restaurant. (Yes, by the way, I was covered modestly during the entire nursing.)

I am always surprised at those who are so opposed to breastfeeding. Once we got the hang of it, it was always a fantastic solution for our family… and it made traveling with baby much easier!

My breastfeeding advice: Hang in there through those very challenging first days. It can be tough to teach you and baby how it works. But it’s worth it in so many ways!!

— Amy is mom to three, founding blogger at Mom’s Toolbox where she blogs about travel, lifestyle issues and reading the Bible and helps people find wines they enjoy as the Co-Founder and CEO of tech startup VineSleuth, Inc./ Wine4.Me.

How do YOU do it?

I’d love for you to share your experiences with us. Mine is the right way for ME, not the right way for every mom. Let us know how baby care worked/works for you!

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  1. Great post 🙂 really looking forward to this series. And yup, your drop-down menu issue on mobile is all better!

  2. I just wanted to throw something into the discussion: if you’re still having trouble breastfeeding after a week or two (intense pain, blisters, bleeding, etc.), it may be worth a visit to a certified lactation consultant. They can work wonders and get you set up for a positive experience. And if you don’t feel like your consultant has helped, try a different one! They all have different techniques, personalities, etc. Just be careful because not all insurance covers lactation visits (as I discovered!), but it’s so worth it and it will pay for itself in the long run.

  3. MH in OH says:

    I have breastfed all 4 of my children and have loved it and bonus – it’s easier than having to wash bottles.
    My first 2 were twins born at 30.5 weeks. They spent 5-6 weeks in the NICU. They came home from the hospital on bottles of expressed breast milk and I had trouble with supply. Someone had told me once they took bottles they wouldn’t go back to breast. My sister came to visit for a few days and helped me get on a good schedule of breastfeeding with a double nursing pillow. I ended up nursed them until they were 16 months old. I also have found lactation consultants to be helpful. I encourage everyone to give breastfeeding a try, and to get help if you are struggling.

  4. Maya Andrews says:

    I breastfed my first until 22 months (2 months before his brother was born.) I pumped some with him for special occasions like going to a day conference with my husband or to let my in-laws or husband feed him a bottle.
    #2 was formula fed completely (I had a brain tumor at the end of my pregnancy and surgery 2 weeks after giving birth; put me into menopause at 29, thankfully I have recovered.)
    #3 has been completely breastfed and we are still going, he is 20 months. He refused bottles completely, acted like we were gagging him no matter what kind of bottle.

    For breastfeeding, relax and realize that both you and the baby have to learn how to do it. Get help from nurses and lactation consultants. Try not to give up because eventually it will be easy!
    For bottlefeeding, sign-up for coupons from the formula comanies. Look for printable couple and newspaper inserts. You can combine them (the check-like ones with insert/printables.) As a newborn it was tricky finding a formula that worked well for my son, but after a few months he could take any brand.
    For all babies make sure you get a burp. Usually if you don’t you’ll have grumpy baby in a bit.

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