I became pregnant with my second (Ellie) in the Summer of 2010 when William was 2 1/2 yrs old. The first few months of the pregnancy were a little rough because my nipples were very sensitive. I understand that this is pretty common, and many women stop nursing at this point. William was a big boobie monster and was still nursing through the night. We managed to carry on nursing throughout the pregnancy using a couple of techniques.
1. I shortened feedings by telling William "one more minute" and then counting down from ten. William was pretty accepting of this, occasionally he would refuse to budge, but it was more of a game for him and he understood when I asked him to be more gentle.
2. William very kindly decided to start sleeping through the night which was great and allowed me to get some decent sleep.
The Highs (Benefits)
- Having a toddler and a newborn nursing my milk volume increased pretty quickly after delivery and I had a tonne of milk.
- William was old enough to know about sharing and because he had decided to nurse on only one side before Ellie was born, he was quite happy to let her have the other breast while he was nursing.
- It can be hard to entertain a toddler in the early days of having a new little brother or sister, and nursing them both meant that they were both still and content for at least a few minutes during the day.
- I believe that it really helped with the initial jealousy. Even now that William has fully weaned, he will happily tell me that "Ellie needs boobie" when she cries.
- William still got lots of cuddles with Mummy during the first few weeks and months as he grew to understand that Ellie was here to stay.
- Having a toddler nursing is great for engorgement and plugged ducts.
- It's really hard to tandem nurse in public, especially with a huge three year old. I never really mastered discrete tandem nursing, but we really only did it at home near bed time for the most part.
- It is a little weird looking down and seeing this teeny tiny head nursing alongside a huge three year old head. Not really a low, just a little odd.
- Because my son only nursed on one side, it was sometimes difficult to time his feeds around Ellies, making sure that she got the majority of the milk and not the leftovers. But truely, I had so much milk it wasn't really a huge problem. Actually I had so much milk that we block fed A LOT and actually to this day Ellie has my right breast during the day and my left breast during the night (not recommended, but it worked for us).
- Breastfeeding two children is pretty physically draining. You do have to remember to eat and drink and rest (which you should anyway after delivery), sustaining three appetites is hard work. I was lucky to be staying with my parents who kept me well fed, granola bars and nuts are my favourite nutrient dense foods.
Please share your tandem nursing experiences, I'm sure tandem nursing is more common than we think, it's just not done in public and maybe not talked about as much as it should be.
Here is the photo -
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Baby Beads is a company that sells beautiful necklaces that keep babies hands busy while nursing. My Ellie is a pincher and pinches constantly while nursing and you know how sharp those little baby nails are!!
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