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Tandem Nursing and Illness?

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

I have an 8 week old DS and a 21 month old DD who is still nursing.  She has been quite sick this week (got a respiratory thing from older DD).  My question is--do I need to sterilize my nipples between when the ill older child nurses/before the baby nurses?  I usually only let my toddler nurse on the side the baby just nursed on, right after he nursed, so it is usually several hours before the baby nurses on the side that my toddler nursed on last.

 

Is he still likely to catch whatever she has because they share a breast?  It's too late for the current illness, but I would like to know what preventive measures are recommended for tandem nursers and illness.  

 

I have also heard that the mother actually gets messages from the child via the breast and thus, my body would start producing antibodies based on the illness of my toddler.  Is this true?  

 

I would like reliable sources if anyone has any.  I haven't been able to find anything I truly trust online yet.  


Thank you!

Swmboa, Mama of DD, 9, DS 5, DD 21 mos, and DS 8 weeks, desperately trying to enjoy the chaos of my last baby-hood :).

post #2 of 8
I have copy of adventures in tandem nursing on loan (a LLL publication) and I'll look it up for you. You definitely start making antibodies once your toddler exposes you to the illness so you will help protect the baby by nursing both. I'll get back to you after bedtime once I've looked it up. Congratulations on your baby and kudos to you for tandem nursing. I'm aiming to do the same in July :-)
post #3 of 8

I have also tandem nursed, and was worried about the exact same thing last year, when my 2 year old got really sick and my new baby was not.  Thankfully the baby never got sick (not so much as a sniffle!) In my case, my older child was only nursing on one side anyway (for some weird reason, I could not tolerate him on the other side, but the new baby was no problem.)  Ds was so sick, and wouldn't eat any solids for almost a week. so since he was only nursing on one side (a lot!!) I mainly kept the baby on the other side. 

 

But it is also my understanding that your body is making antibodies as soon as someone starts getting sick, and whatever germs are from one are possibly getting spread through the bloodstream anyway.  So, I'm not sure that keeping one on each breast had any benefit as much as the anitbodies I was making did.  Also, keep in mind that with most illnesses, the sick person is contagious sometimes days before they appear sick.  So it's really difficult to not spread illness among people who live in the same house. 

 

I guess my point is, that although you certainly can take some precaution about not spreading viruses within your family, I don't think that having two nursing at the same time puts them at any more risk than they would be otherwise.  My two nurslings didn't get sick at the same time, but my toddler and his older brother (who wasn't nursing) did get sick within days of each other.

post #4 of 8
Thread Starter 

Did LLL have anything prescient to say?  Maybe I need to get a copy of Adventures in Tandem Nursing.  Sounds like a good source.  Thanks for your comments, I am such a nervous wreck when my tiny babies get so much as a sniffle, so it is reassuring to have some reliable advice.  Even if it's just "don't worry."

 

Congratulations, skycheattraffic, on the little one to arrive in July.  Tandem nursing has been an adventure in itself for me so far (maybe the real adventure is having 2 little ones so close togethersmile.gif).  Good luck and happy nursing! 

post #5 of 8
I haven't found anything about nursing a sick toddler yet but I'm still combing through it in detail.
Thanks for the well wishes, I'm hanging in there but it isn't always easy - as you well know!
post #6 of 8
My kids are twenty months apart. When my little one was tiny I faced this situation. My midwife said they used to recommend sterilizing nipples, but now know that all germs are spread so easily through the house that sterilizing nipples does not reduce the chance of the other getting sick. I have never worried about it.. And it has been seventeen months!
post #7 of 8

While we were tandem and also triandem nursing over 4 years, I found that it was rarely an issue to have them get sick from "sharing" breasts.  Usually it was a one-at-a-time deal, although when more than one did catch something at the same time or right after each other, there'd be no way to pinpoint the cause as they are all exposed to the same people/places, share everything and we all live together. :)

post #8 of 8
My DD had an ear infection (&a goopy eye to go with it) maybe about 2 weeks after DS was born. She was nursing frequently at that point (my milk was back!) and they were both on & off either side whenever. DS was fine (it was the goopy eye that had me concerned), & my pediatrician, who has a special focus on & training in breastfeeding (& who did 2 house calls- 1 right after DS was born & another for the 2 week check-up; so glad we found her!), said not to worry about it. Same as everyone above has said... Your body starts producing antibodies to whatever you are exposed to & transmitting them to your infant via your breast milk, so just do what you usually do...
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