As Babe, my daughter of two years and nine months enjoys breastfeeding so much, we as a family have chosen to let her decide the time in which she wants to wean from mummy milk. When I became pregnant with Boyo, my thoughts did not waver. In fact the more I learned about tandem nursing and the benefits, the more I wanted to be one of the lucky ones to give it a go.
So here we are, Boyo is six days old and I’m successfully tandem nursing them both. You might wonder how this works, from a supply, milk quality, logistics and relationship perspective.
The mama cow and her feeding equipment is amazingly adept at catering to the milk supply needs of both. Even as Babe has upped her intake for reassurance and desire for a joint snack experience, my body has been highly efficient in increasing the milk to serve both her and newborn Boyo. I’m definitely sporting a more top heavy look, which I’m embracing – shame about the post baby floppy belly though.
A mamas body is geared up to provide the right milk for the new baby, so Babe has been enjoying the good stuff innabundance (colostrum). I know it’s pretty good produce because I’ve seen it (a thick rich yellow colour) and because Boyo had a fantastically small weight loss from birth. At his three day check, he had only lost 3% of his body weight, compared to the more average 8-10%. At day five he was over his birth weight, which usually doesnt occur till about day 10.
Some mamas who tandem nurse won’t breastfeed their children/babies both at the same time. Whereas others have mastered the art of acrobatics in order to make the most of having a pair of boobs. This might be because nursing two at once can help for a quiet life, like me.
Babe doesn’t appreciate that there is a time and place for such antics. In front of dissapproving visitors is not the time to test mamas resolve, because right now she wins. “oh go on then, just a tiny bit”. The visitors are too polite (but most likely too scared) to say anything, but I know are judging me all the time. Am I bothered, clearly yes in some ways and in other ways no.
We’ve already established some favourite positions:
1) sitting on the sofa nursing Boyo in cradle hold, then Babe sits next to me and nurses from the side
2) sitting on a chair nursing Boyo in cradle hold, then Babe stands next to or in front of me drinking from the other side
3) more adventurous, same kind of position as above, but lying down or sitting up in bed
4) most adventurous to date involved lying down with nursing toddler then latching newborn on the other-side using football hold (he curled round my back or lay on a cushion).
It’s tough on everyone’s emotions when you already have children and introduce a new baby. I’m conscious of the feelings of insecurity that Babe might be feeling. For me I have a mixed bag of conflicting emotions that combine with my desire to reassure and comfort my toddler, conflicting sometimes with my over powering instincts to protect and always be with my newborn. Then the guilt that comes with occasional resentfulness towards my needy toddler.
Tandem breastfeeding is helping Babe and I with these emotions and ensuring that our bond stays strong. This is the biggest benefit for me right now. Forget my desire to allow her to self wean, I’m just living in the moment.