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Sunday, 11 September 2011

Tandem Nursing.

Some of you will know I had our second daughter one week ago today - on my birthday - the most amazing present anyone ever got :)

A proper birth story will follow at some point - although perhaps not on this blog.  It was an amazing experience, and our home birth was truly everything I'd hoped it would be.

We regularly gets posts on the group asking:
  • 'Can I get pregnant whilst breastfeeding?'
  • 'Can I breastfeed through pregnancy?'
  • 'Will my newborn still get the goodness of colostrum if I'm also breastfeeding my older child?'
The answers to the above are well documented elsewhere, but basically they're Yes, Yes, and Yes!

As you can read elsewhere in this blog, I didn't just get pregnant at the drop of a hat.  However - continued breastfeeding had absolutely nothing to do with it - and in fact it didn't make a pick of difference to my fertility once my cycle returned!  Everyone is different, but for the vast majority of people breastfeeding won't make a difference to your ability to get pregnant.  Kellymom has some good information on breastfeeding and fertility here, and on breastfeeding through pregnancy and beyond here.  
A 'must read' for anyone wondering about tandem feeding is 'Adventures in Tandem breastfeeding' by Hilary Flower.  It is full of information, and answers a whole host of questions, including discussions about the range of emotions you might experience.

I never really expected to find myself breastfeeding through pregnancy - I just didn't want to make my daughter wean before she was ready so we kept going.  At one point I thought that she had self-weaned as my milk dwindled right down towards the end of the first trimester.  However, about 9 weeks later when I started producing again she came back.  Once the new baby was born there's no doubt that there was tons of colostrum.  Trust me - the colour was a dead giveaway!  None of this was 'planned' - all I've done is let nature take it's own course.  I'm very glad I did.

So here we are.  When my older daughter saw her new sister feeding shortly after the birth she immediately wanted to feed too.

I have no idea how long it will be before dd1 decides she doesn't want to feed anymore.  Perhaps not long.  However, I'm glad that they were able to meet each other this way, and when dd1 decides she's too big to nurse anymore, it will have  been her decision.

Did you nurse two babies?   Have you any tips for a newbie?

12 comments:

  1. This is so beautiful!! Have never really been sure with nursing 2 myself but would now definitely consider it! Your post and picture made me cry! =)

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  2. Beautiful! Like you, I hadn't thought I'd breastfeed through a pregnancy, but I didn't want to make my son wean before he was ready. I thought he'd self-weaned shortly before my daughter was born, but once the milk came back, he went right back to it. Sometimes he'll ask for them both to breastfeed together, even though Charlotte has a tendency to hit/poke him when doing that.

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  3. Well done Anne! :) I never thought I'd ever end up breastfeeding through pregnancy either. I found it really tough, but all the tears were worth it in the end. Tandem feeding's great - it means you know where your toddler is when you're feeding the baby! lol And 1 year later, they're both still going strong! My tip? ENJOY this precious time with both your babies! xx

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  4. Hi, same here. Milk dried up during pregnancy, my 1,5 year old kept testing once in a while to check. When the baby was born and we came back from the hospital, he also wanted to breastfeed. I allowed, because it is nerve wrecking enough not to be the only child any more. I hope tandem feeding makes this transition a little bit easier. I have a similar picture - each child on one knee, both feeding and the oldest son smiling from ear to ear. A lot of people do not understand and try to tell me I am wrong, but that is what I believe is best for my children. Read Adventures in Tandem Nursing and it was a great help :) So nice to see other moms with similar experiences

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  5. Congratulations! I nursed all the way through pregnancy (ouch a lot of the time!) despite pretty much no milk at all. DD is addicted! When bub was born it seemed to be something they instinctively understood about each other and gave me a wonderful intimate way to sooth my daughter when she felt threatened by her new brother. Sometimes it's really hard - I occasionally get really agitated when my toddler nurses which I think is related to exhaustion! Overall though tandem feeding is brilliant - I'm so glad I didn't wean when so man people told me to and we're still going strong with no signs of weaning at 3 years and 1 year old! :o) Good luck and enjoy your truly beautiful girls!

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  6. I tandem fed through my third pregnancy. I didn't plan for it to work that way- we just took one feed at a time, then when DD#3 was born, it kept going. It was great for bringing in my milk very quickly (36 hours after birth) but I didn't get any engorgement. And when DD#3 grazed my nipple (due to poor attachment), DD#2 was able to keep my supply going (gently!) on that side until it healed.
    I am now breastfeeding a 26 month old, and 20 weeks pregnant again. DD#3 has demonstrated the laxative effects of colostrum (don't ask....) but she insists on still feeding. She even stated 'beebee yucky' the other day- then latched straight back on.
    Congrats on your new addition and your introduction to tandem feeding. Enjoy the beautiful, peaceful moments on the couch with both your babes at your breast. It's a memory that stays with me even through the sibling squabbles....

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  7. I delivered twin daughters several years ago. My older children were all breastfed, but not in tandem.
    My older son breastfed for 27 months. My next son who is 47 months younger, breastfed for 30 months. My older daughter who is 49 months younger, breastfed for 33 months. And then the twins who are 44 months younger, only breastfed for 6 months.
    At two months old, they were both at their birth weight of 6 lbs. 5 oz. The doctor said I was making "skim milk" and said I should start supplementing with formula. The girls gained weight alright, but they also weaned themselves at 6 months. It was a challenge for me because I was not ready to stop breastfeeding.
    After the twins, I did not get pregnant again. Years later I have dealt with the feelings I had, but if I had to do it over again, I would figure out some other way of supplementing.

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  8. Adorable photos. Glad to hear all is going well.

    You've made me all excited for giving birth again.

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  9. Congratulations! I tandem fed twice (as in, two periods of tandem feeding, not just two feeds :D)

    Have shared this post on my weekly links post this week: http://freeyourparenting.com/2011/09/18/sharing-sunday-9/

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  10. Congratulations! Beautiful pics. Such a wonderful time isn't it!

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  11. I too never thought about nursing two, but William was still nursing when I got pregnant. We did come to a compromise during the pregnancy, that he could nurse whenever he wanted, but for a short time only because I became very sore. Luckily, he started sleeping through the night when I was in early pregnancy, so that gave a me a little bit more sleep because I wasn't able to nap during the day.

    When Ellie arrived, William was very excited by the milk and happy to share. He had decided a few months previously that he only wanted the left breast anyway, so that made it a little easier as they had their own breasts when he wanted to nurse, and for some reason I was concerned that his mouth bacteria would contaminate Ellies mouth and introduce bad bacteria. Anyway, six months on and he is down to maybe once a week and a real Daddy's boy, while I am still nursing Ellie, and she has just started solids. She already eats more fruit and veg than William has eaten his whole life.

    Congratulations, what a beautiful family

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