Is Tandem Nursing Normal?
If you would have asked me then what tandem nursing was, I would’ve looked at you like a deer in headlights. I had never heard of it. But here I am doing it. Nursing a two year old and a five month old.
I never thought about the benefits of extended breastfeeding while I was nursing. Breastfeeding a toddler and a newborn at the same time just……kind of happened.
I got pregnant while breastfeeding when my second son was 9 months old.
Nine months old is still so little in my mind, so I felt no need to stop breastfeeding just because I was pregnant. So there I was, pregnant and breastfeeding.
My second son was a thumb sucker, so he was gradually weaning himself from the breast when my third son was born, when he was around one and a half years old.
But after the baby was born, it seemed as if my second son turned back into a newborn.
Every time the baby nursed, he wanted to nurse. When he was done nursing, sometimes he would pull the other breast out of the baby’s mouth. I guess he was letting him know that he was finished too! So there were some things we had to establish.
The first thing was, just because the baby nurse doesn’t mean he had to nurse, this was the baby’s only food, not his. The second thing was, don’t take the baby’s food away from him (the breast out of his mouth), although it was pretty funny the first time it happened.
Actually, tandem nursing can be quite amusing sometimes. Seeing how the two interact towards each other is a sight to see!
Sometimes they love each other, rubbing each others’ head while nursing, and then sometimes they’re annoyed with each other, the toddler telling the baby to “move!” or the baby constantly kicking his legs when the toddler is trying to get on my lap to nurse. A sight to see!
And yet, I’ve never seen my baby laugh with anyone else as hard as he does when he’s playing with his brothers. Could this tandem nursing thing be some type of bond between siblings? Perhaps.
Tandem breastfeeding also comes in handy when you’re engorged those first few weeks after your newborn is born.
You would’ve never imagined that you would be the one asking your toddler to come nurse! But they’ll be more than willing to come and help mommy out with that issue.
And if you got negative comments about breastfeeding in the beginning from your family and/or friends, don’t think they will start supporting you now. As a matter of fact, their reasons for you to stop breastfeeding will be more justified now than ever, at least in their minds.
You may hear the comments “He’s too big to be still nursing” or “You should stop nursing when they have teeth” or “You’re taking food away from the baby by nursing both of them”.
Each one of those comments are nonsense!
First, your baby is not too big to be still nursing. The majority of children in the world breastfeed until they are about four and a half, because their mothers let them wean themselves.
Secondly, you can teach your baby not to bite you if they do it in the first place. Out of three kids, only one of mine didn’t bite me at all. The other two I had to tell “NO! No biting!” and I didn’t let them nurse for awhile. They never bit me again.
And thirdly, tandem nursing does not take food away from the baby. If anything you’ll produce more milk because your body is based on supply and demand. So if you have two people demanding milk from your body, your body will supply enough to feed both of them. But if you’re really concerned about that, just feed your baby first.
If you let your older child know that the baby has to eat first every time it’s time to nurse, they’ll eventually get the hint and accept it.
A lot of times I end up nursing both of mine at the same time, because like I said, the toddler seems to want to nurse every time the baby starts nursing.
It can get pretty crowded when you have three people huddled all together. So two of my favorite positions to tandem nurse in are: laying down and sitting on the edge of the couch or a chair.
• While laying down on my back, I can lay one child on each side of me and curl them up in my arms, bringing them to my breasts.
• When sitting on the edge of a couch or chair, I can lay the baby in the cradle hold position while the toddler stands up and nurse on the other breasts.
Can you see how tandem nursing is not really planned, it just sort of……happens.
If you want more information about tandem nursing I highly recommend a book called “Adventures in Tandem Nursing”. It’s an easy read and talks about a subject that’s not talked about very much.
So go ahead and nurse your two babies with the knowledge that there are plenty of women out there doing it with you!
If you’re already tandem nursing, share your adventure here!
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