When our oldest son was a baby, he had a babysitter named Jennifer. She was a seminary wife and mother of four who lived on campus. She watched four babies during the day, one of them being her own. The babies names were Madison, Judah, Ethan, and Anna (her baby). Even though I would normally think that one woman watching four babies would be way too much, I felt better in knowing she was an experienced mom.

Josh was a student and I was a student. When we first started dropping him off, he was still refusing to use a sippy cup or bottle. On the longest day, he would be with Jennifer from 7AM-5PM. I remember wondering what I was supposed to do regarding him drinking. He was an older baby, eating a diet of ham, cheese, green beans, and peaches nearly every day off of the baby lunch plate we sent with him. Because he was getting food, I knew he wasn’t starving and wouldn’t starve while I was gone. I was worried about him being thirsty.

In the afternoon break between classes I’d drive the 20 minutes back to Jennifer’s house and nurse him. I also wondered whether or not this was going overboard. With Jennifer not being a first time mom, I was certain this was something she would not have done. Ultimately my concern for his welfare overruled any concerns I had about whatever someone else might possibly think about me. Eventually he began drinking water out of a sippy cup. In the evenings when I’d be watching him from the couch, he would toddle up to me saying “muck, muck”. Once he started standing up and leaning over my side-laying body to nurse, I decided it was probably time to wean him.

He nursed for 22 months, the second longest of all my kids. The longest was the youngest who weaned at age four. On his third birthday I told him that he was big enough to not need baby milk anymore. “Baby milk” is what he called it. This is the one who I never needed to potty-train, because he learned by watching his older brothers. He would take his diaper off in the morning and leave it next to his potty in the bathroom. Then he’d put on his underwear and walk around in that for the rest of the day.

The ones in the middle received their attention too. My daughter nursed for 15 months, my next son for 18, and the next one for 20. Weaning my daughter when I did was something I ended up regretting, having done so hoping I’d get pregnant sooner, later feeling as though we had missed out on bonding time. The other two were weaned after I was pregnant, when something about the hormone changes made it too painful to nurse.

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