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Thread: Tandem feeding - can you share with me?

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    England
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    Default Tandem feeding - can you share with me?

    Hello, I'm new to the forum, although I have been reading some of the posts on here for a few days in the hope of finding something to help me. I am feeding my only child a lovely boy of 18 months and would love to start trying for no.2 but I don't want to wean DS yet, I don't think he's ready nor do I feel it's necessary as I always wanted to wait until he indicated his readiness.

    I am happy to tandem feed/nurse in theory but I'm worried about a few people who have mentioned negative feelings and feelings of anger and resentment towards the eldest child when nursing when pregnant and then after the baby is born and that's not something I want in the slightest. I guess I won't really know if that's the way it will be for me until it happens but I'm hoping that there's people on here who can share their experiences with me and maybe there are positive stories out there.

    It's also hard to find many people out there (face to face) who are still feeding their child after 18 months and I'm hoping to get some insight into what could be coming up for me and DS in out BF journey.

    Hope to hear from you all.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2011
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    Default Re: Tandem feeding - can you share with me?

    Hi!

    I got pregnant with DS2 when DS1 was 19 months old. We managed to nurse throughout the pregnancy, even during the dry period (approx. 80% of women lose their supply during pregnancy). We've only been tandem nursing for 4 weeks, but so far I'd say it's a positive thing.

    The only negative feelings I've had toward my eldest have been when 1) his latch is wonky, and 2) when he won't let go, even after nursing for an hour. In case 1, it's because the wonky latch feels yucky (only way to describe it) and makes me want to do a heebee jeebee dance. In case 2, it's usually because I'm running out of patience; "We've been here an hour, can't we do something else now?!?"

    I'm actually very glad DS1 is nursing. He's a terribly picker eater, so I feel better about his eating habits now he's getting my milk again. It's also helpful cause it lets DS1 touch base, lets us reconnect in a way that only breastfeeding mamas understand. It's also helped with jealousy, I think. Since I can nurse them simultaneously, DS1 doesn't feel like DS2 is getting all Mommy's attention. DS1 still isn't thrilled with his baby brother, but he's coming around. Any time DS2 cries, DS1 tells me "Baby needs boobie!"

    Are there any LLL groups in your area? It might be worth looking to see if there are any toddler meetings near you.

    Good luck!
    Breastfeeding, babywearing, sci-fi loving, total geek of a mom!

    Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter, and those who matter don't mind. — Dr. Seuss

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    Default Re: Tandem feeding - can you share with me?

    There are a number of positive stories about tandem nursing. Lots of moms here do it successfully, even some who did experience those negative feelings. They just nursed through it.

    It's pretty much impossible to predict what will happen, though. Sometimes it's mom that can't deal with it- some have pain while nursing during pregnancy, some have 'icky' feelings (that was me)...and some can deal with it and nurse anyway, some can't. And your child is a factor as well. Many moms...I'd even say the majority of moms (though that's only my observation and not based on anything concrete) have their milk dry up during pregnancy. Some kids continue to nurse anyway (dry nursing). Some kids wean themselves when that happens. From what I've seen, the child's nursing habits prior to the milk drying up have little bearing on whether they will keep nursing once it's gone. However, I'd also say the majority of toddlers will ask to nurse again once the baby is born. Whether they continue to nurse is hit or miss, but some moms are able to encourage their older child to go back to nursing even when they've weaned themselves.

    Really, the only concrete piece of advice I could give you would be that if you absolutely and undeniably do not want your older child to stop nursing...just wait. Wait to get pregnant until you are at a point where if they did stop nursing you would be okay with it. Because it is going to be a possibility, really, no matter what you do.
    “We are not put on earth for ourselves, but are placed here for each other. If you are there always for others, then in time of need, someone will be there for you.”
    --Anonymous

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
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    5,611

    Default Re: Tandem feeding - can you share with me?

    Hi and welcome to the forum! First off, if you have not read Adventures in Tandem Nursing, I strongly suggest you do. It is full of mother’s experiences so you will see, there is quite a huge variation from mom to mom, family to family, of how nursing while pregnant and TN goes (or does not go!)

    I also suggest the books (either one) How Weaning Happens and The Nursing Mothers Guide to Weaning. Because of course if the decision is whether or not to tandem nurse, the decision is also-is it time to wean my child?

    but I'm worried about a few people who have mentioned negative feelings and feelings of anger and resentment towards the eldest child when nursing when pregnant and then after the baby is born and that's not something I want in the slightest.
    I think occasional feelings of anger at our children and resentment of the needs of our children are normal and happen whether one is nursing or not, tandem nursing or not. It's how we handle these normal feelings that matters. Mothering two is going to be very different that mothering one child, nursing or not. Toddlers and older kids have an intense need for mom and require age appropriate supervision. Babies certainly have intense need for mom and require constant supervision. Balancing those needs are hard, but you figure it out.

    So here is my personal exp. I got pregnant with my second child shortly after my oldest turned two, baby was born two months before oldest turned three. I nursed throughout my pregnancy and tandem nursed them for two years(!)
    For me the hardest times were
    -when I had nipple pain while nursing and pregnant
    -in the newborn period when my toddlers latch felt so weird-and he looked so big next to baby
    -sleep issues about 6 months in-both waking each other up at night

    Everytime, FOR ME, these negatives were offset by positives-for example- I could nurse my toddler to sleep when I desperately needed naps when pregnant
    -I seldom had to worry about my toddler getting into trouble while I nursed, as he was right there, either nursing himself or waiting his turn
    -When it became necessary for us, my 3 year old transitioned to his own bed much more easily, I think, because he was still able and welcomed to nurse during the day.

    If a problem came up, I always had the choice to
    1-solve the problem without weaning
    2 solve the problem and wean.

    I don't know if weaning itself ever would have solved the problem, as we did not wean at those points. Weaning came later for us.

    I would ask myself this-despite some bad days, overall, is nursing my oldest working for me as a mom, or working against me, as a mom. There is no right or wrong answer to this question! The answer is always going to depend on your personal experience.

    I don’t think you can know ahead of time when/if you will feel ready to start more actively encouraging of weaning. You know when you know!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    England
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    Default Re: Tandem feeding - can you share with me?

    Hello, thank you all for your responses. Is it uncomfortable to have a child nurse when there is no milk coming out? DS is currently sleeping next to me in bed - horizontally of course - and I often wonder what goes through his mind about nursing because I'm pretty sure it's not been the same for him so far as it has for me. I've had blistered raw nipples, searing pain, painful letdown, blocked glands - all sorts really and he's probably been thinking "hmm, milk.....yummy". The next time round I'd like to master feeding in a sling as we never quite got the hang of it before.

    DS loved to cluster feed in the evenings, can I ask how people have managed when no.2 wants to cluster feed and no.1 wants to settle down in bed for their night time feed? My husband works shifts so I'm trying to prepare myself with the assumption that I will have to do bedtime for 2 by myself.

    Hope you've all had a good day, and may you all have a restful night.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Feb 2007
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    1,710

    Default Re: Tandem feeding - can you share with me?

    I did not find that it felt any different when the milk was or was not coming out. In fact, it can be hard to tell one way or the other.

    I've definitely experienced the negative feelings, but I don't think you should let it worry you too much. There's no guarantee that you'll even experience it, and if you do, I am sure you'll find ways to handle it, just like the rest of us did. Keep in mind we tend to post when things are going badly, but not so much when things are going well, so it gives a bit of a skewed impression of the experience. As much as it was hard sometimes, I really treasure the closeness I was able to have with DD1 while pregnant with DD2. I remember she used to rub my pregnant belly while nursing - so sweet. It was well worth the times when I just had to "get through" it.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
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    England
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    Default Re: Tandem feeding - can you share with me?

    Thank you

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