The Truth About Tandem Breastfeeding

The Truth About Tandem Breastfeeding

Guest Post by Rachel

What is Tandem Breastfeeding really like?

If you are like me, then you picture this wonderful experience of nursing your older child and your newborn at the same time in pure bliss.

I personally was not fortunate enough to tandem breastfeed. I was in a situation where I got pregnant twice while breastfeeding and in both cases, my toddler quickly weaned due to my dwindling supply (they were both milk monsters, as I called them, and no milk was not acceptable). 

I imagine that tandem breastfeeding would have been amazing but I also recognize the dedication and time needed to not only nurse a newborn but a needy toddler as well. I stand in awe of moms who chose to tandem breastfeed!

Today’s guest post in our National Breastfeeding Awareness series, tells Rachel’s story and how she managed to tandem breastfeed her two daughters. The truth about tandem feeding might surprise you!

The Truth About Tandem Breastfeeding: Rachel’s Story

I was one of the lucky ones.  I have had a long and beautiful breastfeeding journey, but like anything in motherhood, there were trials along the way.

When my first daughter was born, she latched immediately and spent the next two days in the hospital chewing on my nipples.  She was only happy if she was suckling.

By the time I went home I was saddled with cracked, sore, bleeding nipples. I remember sitting on my couch and hearing my baby cry to nurse and feeling my heart sink in my chest because I did not want to endure the pain.  

I thought to myself, “I can’t do this. I’m not going to be able to breastfeed.”

I thought to myself, “I can’t do this. I’m not going to be able to breastfeed.”

Thankfully those feelings were temporary.  

With the support of my mom and my husband, I pushed through the pain.  For a solid two weeks, I would experience pain that shot from my nipples down to my toes each time my daughter latched.  But by the third week, my nipples had significantly toughened and things got easier.

From that point on, nursing became a source of connection and comfort for both me and my daughter.  

She was petite and largely uninterested in food initially, but with nursing, I always felt I was providing her with all of the sustenance she needed.  

She nursed to fall asleep.

She nursed when she bumped her head.

She nursed when she felt overwhelmed by the world.

And she nursed when she was hungry.  

Breastfeeding was an amazing tool in my motherhood toolbox.

When my daughter was 19 months old, I found myself pregnant again, but my daughter had no interest in weaning and neither did I.  I continued to nurse my daughter throughout my entire pregnancy.

I even nursed her on the delivery table only hours before my second daughter was born.

I even nursed her on the delivery table only hours before my second daughter was born.

Then came the task of tandem nursing.  

I had thought this would be a magical bonding time for all of us and sometimes it was, but it was also overwhelming.

Providing breast milk to two children simultaneously was taxing. When baby nursed, my daughter also wanted to nurse. I spent many hours sitting on the couch cuddling one child or another in those first few months.

Luckily my older daughter slowly lost interest and I was able to focus on nursing the baby.  

And guess what?

This baby likes to nurse to sleep too! She nurses when she bumps her head, or when she’s thirsty, or when she is feeling overwhelmed by the world.  Once again, breastfeeding has been an invaluable resource.

This is not to say that it has always been perfect.  

I have had three cases of mastitis requiring antibiotics.  I have struggled with oversupply and engorgement. I have woken up in sheets soaked with milk and had to change everything in the middle of the night.  I have had to nurse publicly so often struggling to be calm while a baby claws at my chest and rips away any attempt to cover the scene.

But in the end, I feel lucky.  Breastfeeding has been a gift for everyone involved.  So here we are, three and a half years since I had my first child and I have never stopped nursing.  

What a unique and cherished life experience.


About the Author

guest post rachelRachel is mom to two rambunctious, but sweet little girls.  Most days she stares at her house wondering how it got this messy and why Starbucks doesn’t deliver yet.  Other days she takes amazing international trips with her girls and her husband and then writes about it on adventureswithlittles.com.  Check out her site to take a little vacation without ever leaving your couch!

 

 

 

 


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2 comments

  1. Samantha says:

    Sweet! I wrote about my experience with tandem nursing too! I actually tandem nursed twice, so my middle was bookended by my oldest and youngest!

    • Heather Grace says:

      Wow! You are a trooper to do it twice! That is amazing and a great encouragement to any mom who would like to tandem nurse. Thank you for sharing your story and showing that it can be done!

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