Tandem Breastfeeding a Newborn & Toddler

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.

Supply
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.

Milk Quality
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.

Logistics
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).

Relationship
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.

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13 thoughts on “Tandem Breastfeeding a Newborn & Toddler

  1. Sounds like its going well so far. Hope you are eating and drinking lots. When i had Noah breastfeeding and his hunger increased, dispite drinking lots i was still drained and my kidneys hurt like hell, i kept getting ill and i had to say ‘no’.

    Take care, you’re very important to them. Still got a million hormmones kicking about, so dont beat yourself up over emotional neglect, its normal for all of you to feel like its ‘not enough’. Its passes and things become more even.

    Much love your way. xxx

  2. pinkoddy says:

    Awww it’s a lovely to read how well it’s going, especially all the positions you’ve accomplished. I do like the way you see it like I do – that it really makes us the lucky ones to have the opportunity. Just glad your doing so well and enjoying it :O)

  3. Barbara Childs says:

    Congratulations!! I didn’t realise you were about to have a baby. We still have the LLL group in Okehampton. i was intending to give it up but another mum wouldn’t let me, even though she is sometimes the only one there.

    So when you are up to it we still meet on the 4th Friday at 10.30 – 12.

    Have you read Adventures in Tandem Nursing?

    Lots of love

    Barbara

  4. […] Career Mama’s blog has a brilliantly written explanation of how tandem nursing works, so if you may be about to find yourself breastfeeding a newborn and a toddler, head on over […]

  5. Really like this post 🙂 Thank you for writing it! I’ve shared it on my weekly links post today: http://freeyourparenting.com/2011/10/02/sharing-sunday-11/

  6. No problem. I tandem fed twice – it’s great to read good writing about it 🙂

  7. MummyGems says:

    What a brilliant blog!! Thank you for sharing! My ds is 21 months and baby no.2 is due this month and ive been wondering how i was going to tackle feeding… Your blog has really helped me realise tandem feeding is acheivable x
    Thank you x

  8. LeAnna says:

    Great post to read about tandem nursing as I await the birth of my 2nd child. I am still nursing Lucy, 20 months, and am planning on continuing to nurse her when her brother arrives. Enjoyed your tips and positions, as well as your reflection on your feelings. I already know I am going to have similar ones, and it was reassuring to read another mamas feelings on the topic. Best wishes 🙂

  9. MummyOfToddlerAndNewborn says:

    Thank you so much for posting this you’ve made me feel so much better, I feel exactly all the same emotions as you did/are doing but at least I know I’m not alone. Thanks again xxx

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