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Tell me about your nursing while pregnant/tandem nursing experience?

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

I am still nursing my almost 2.5 year old DD (I'm not sure how much milk she is getting, but she nurses at least once per day and sometimes much more often than that), and I am just now about 4.5 weeks pregnant.  I would like to keep BFing through the pregnancy and to tandem nurse as long as DD wants to keep nursing, but I am a little bit concerned about whether it might be too painful in pregnancy to continue nursing her (and how DD would react to that), since I've definitely heard from women who had to stop while pregnant for this reason, and I'm a little baffled about the logistics of tandem nursing once number 2 arrives (For example, shouldn't all that colostrum go only to the newborn?  But how do you keep the older child from nursing for the whole time while it is there, before the "regular" milk comes back?  How soon after the birth are you actually able to nurse both kiddos, and how did you "juggle" them without having pain from too much nursing (my first nursing experience was very bad the first three months because of undiagnosed tongue tie)? What do you do with the NB when the toddler wants to nurse? How do you handle the toddler's jealousy of the NB getting all the nursing first?, etc)


It's pretty early for me to start worrying about the tandem nursing, and so far it has not been an issue BFing my toddler while pregnant, but it's so early and I know that things can change and I'd like to be mentally prepared if they do.  So I'd be happy for any experiences or advice, or anything that would help me to imagine what might happen and how I could handle it if it does.  (And encouragement from those of you who have done it would be great, too!)


Thanks for your time!

post #2 of 16

no experience here, just subbing because I would like to hear the other ladies advice as well!

post #3 of 16

Adventures in Tandem Nursing was great to read while pregnant & nursing my oldest back in 2004/2005.  Since I don't have much time, I thought I'd at least mention this.  winky.gif


Best wishes,


post #4 of 16
I am tandem nursing. My ds is almost two and my daughter is 3.5. I will pop on soon to write more. It had been a huge success for me with no problems at all! Update the post if I forget to come back.
post #5 of 16

I'm here to encourage you!


First, I recommend that you read Adventures in Tandem Nursing by Hilary Flower.


I haven't had huge problems nursing in general, but tandem nursing works well for me too.  I experienced a time in the second trimester when it did not hurt, but I had an aversion to it.  I just got the urge to pretty much throw the nursing child off of me.  What I ended up doing was putting some limits on nursing.  For me, what helped was nursing on demand, but only for shorter times.  It was really just an issue at bedtime for some reason.  But that is when it would bother me and I would count to 10 and then say they were going night night.  I also said that I was sore and that I would love to nurse more but I couldn't now.  I was fine with counting to 10 and then counting again if it seemed like a bad time to stop. 


So I tried to be as accommodating as possible while still keeping my needs met.  There were some nights that I just couldn't keep going though, and that's when I would say we needed to just hug or snuggle.  There was crying, but it's what needed to happen.  The hard part was actually that my husband thought weaning might be a better idea because of the crying.  But I'm glad we kept on going. 


I kept nursing because I thought that both kids still needed it.  The newborn for obvious reasons, and the bigger kid because it just wasn't time to quit.  As far as who is getting what milk, I just kind of used my mom senses to determine who and what side would be good at each moment.  I gave priority to the little one when I had colostrum.  But as they get bigger, there's room for argument about what's better for who- if the older one is made to wait all the time, they actually wind up getting the fatty hindmilk.  So what I did was just switch it up a bit in the beginning.  As they got older (maybe when the little one was a couple months old) I stopped thinking about it at all, really.


There were times when it did get to be a bit much with all the nursing, but it always was just a phase.  That being said, I thought that since the bigger one was down to two sessions per day that when the little one came, it would maybe ramp up a bit with jealousy and then quickly go back down, or to weaning.  But...nope. LOL. Everyone still loves the milk.


Oh, and to answer your question about jealousy, sometimes I let the big one go first and make the little one wait (as long as the little one is not fussing for food).  It's still an important connection. Any jealousy issues that came about were reflected in the nursing relationship, so that was hard.  But there will be jealousy with a new sibling no matter what.  I'd rather deal with fussing about milk than deal with hitting or anger towards a sibling.  I think that tandem nursing helped with sibling rivalry, even though at times it was what the big one was acting out about.


I advise doing what feels right, and keeping in mind that you can set limits on the older one's nursing.  I hope things go smoothly for you.  Hang in there!  For me, tandem nursing has totally been worth it! 

post #6 of 16

thanks for sharing, salr. It's good to hear about your experiences!

post #7 of 16
I am tandem feeding a 7mo and a 3yo.

I found feeding while pregnant painful and I also developed an aversion. I found limiting the length of feeds and distracting myself with reading, iPhone etc helped a bit. I did end up having to nightwear at 34 weeks which helped considerably with the pain.

Once DD2 was born I just fed them both on demand. They rarely wanted to be fed at the same time so I didn't have to worry about feeding the baby first. DD1 would see the baby feeding and ask for Mummy Milk and I would just tell her I'd feed her as soon as the baby was finished. I still have a strong aversion to feeding DD1 which is worse if I feed them simultaneously so it's always one at a time.

The jealousy was better to start with and has gotten a bit worse as they've gotten older. It's not too bad though, mainly just DD1 hassling me to feed her when I'm already feeding DD2. I just try to empathise and repeat the message - when DD2 is finished.

I have had to stop feeding DD1 to sleep. I just couldn't do it logistically. She took longer than DD2 would tolerate being away from me. DH took over her bedtime (except when he works an evening shift) and she actually sleeps better for him than me.

Night feeds have crept back be aside when I refused she would keep asking - loudly - and wake everyone up. I give her about 20 secs before sending her back to her side of the bed. DH is about to have two weeks holiday though and I am going to sleep in the spare room with DD2 to try and get us back on track. She just spent 3 nights with my parents while I was in hospital and didn't wake overnight for them so I'm sure she'll be fine.

I think I've covered everything. Let me know if you want to know anything else.
post #8 of 16

I agree with what the others have said so far.


During pregnancy, I limited nursing to first thing in the morning, nap time, and bed time.  That was our routine anyway.  I didn't have a ton of pain, but more some aversion.  I handled it by limiting time.  I would let him nurse while I sang our two bedtime songs at nap and bed time.  In the mornings it was longer, but I had less aversion (probably because I was still all comfy and relaxed in my bed and well rested!)


Now I'm tandem nursing a 9 week old and DS will be 3 in a few weeks.  With DS1 I had over-supply so nursing two has been good to deal with that, actually.  In the colostrum stage DS1 was staying at my parents house (my milk came in on day 2, same as DS1) so I didn't have to deal with this.  When I was engorged, DS1 was  more than happy to help me deal with the discomfort!!  At first my plan was to keep DS1 to our 3 regular nursing sessions.  But he's wanted to nurse more since my milk came in (I think he MAYBE got a drip during pregnancy) and sometimes I let him if he asks, sometimes I say no.  He's fine with that, but I'm also sensitive to when I say no.  So I'm ok with him nursing more than he did.  I feel like it is reassuring to him, and a nice time to connect.  As to who gets priority, if DS1 wants to nurse and it's a time when DS2 is nursing often, I just let DS nurse from the "empty" side.  So he's still nursing but the full side is there for DS2.  So far, it hasn't been an issue.


Also, I couldn't find "Adventures in Tandem Nursing".  It's out of print.  If you can find it, I've heard it's good.


Good luck!

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

Sorry for not replying sooner - I didn't realize there had been other posts, because I didn't get the email notifying me of new messages until just over the last day, and then I came back and found out for the first time that all of you had posted!  Thanks, Sas, springshowers, salr, katelove, nstewart, for sharing your advice and experiences!


Sus, I did see Adventures in Tandem Nursing mentioned online, but also had the same problem as nstewart finding a copy that isn't absurdly expensive, plus I'm abroad until the end of the summer, so it would be even harder to get here.  I wish they would sell an eBook version - you would think it wouldn't really cost them much to release an eBook version on amazon or elsewhere for those of us who still want to read it even though it is out of print...


salr, thanks for sharing that thought about the hindmilk - I hadn't thought about it that way.  I agree that as long as there is enough milk for the baby that it could be good fairness-wise to alternate some so that the older child doesn't always feel like their needs come last.  I'm hoping that once we are there it will be easier to tell what to do.  (I worry a bit about my DD going first because, while right now she really isn't drinking that much breastmilk as far as I can tell, she has always been a voracious milk drinker, and I can imagine that as soon as it starts really flowing again that she might start wanting to drink large quantities.  I guess we will see once we are there.)


katelove, it's interesting to hear that the two typically didn't want to nurse at the same time.  My memory of my daughter when she was an infant was that she practically always wanted to nurse.  She had tongue tie problems, though, so she would nurse for 30-60 minutes at a stretch, and then want to nurse again after half an hour.  Hopefully we will not have that same issue with the next baby, and they won't be such a marathon nurser. :)


nstewart, it sounds like good advice to let them nurse on the "empty" side, too.  I've been wondering if there is a good way for DD to not nurse during the day or so when I am just producing colostrum, but I also don't want her to feel displaced by the new baby.  She has never actually spent time completely alone with relatives, but we also haven't really thought yet about what we will do around the birth with her.  I'm hoping that things will go as smoothly this time as it did last time and that we can go home the same day and things can go ahead and get back to normal right away, but that could change if something happens where I'd have to give birth in the hospital instead of the birth center and/or if there are any complications that require us to stay longer.  I hadn't though of having her stay with someone else outside that case, but maybe it would be a good idea because it could give us some time to recover a bit before DD comes back - I'm adding this to my list of things to think about. :)


It's interesting to hear the different experiences about how it went for each of you, and to hear about the issue with aversion.  I've definitely already had some problems with it being painful, but my daughter had an undiagnosed posterior tongue tie, and I'm not sure that getting it fixed at 3 months when we finally figured it out ever really fully corrected the problem (although it did improve it significantly) - maybe she also has a high palate or something else, so nursing has always been at least a little bit painful, but I haven't minded so far.  She isn't really patient enough to nurse for long periods, and only very rarely has she wanted to nurse repeatedly, and in those cases it has worked out ok for me to tell her that she just couldn't nurse anymore at that moment because it hurt.  But I am wondering about my milk supply.  I was very lucky when DD was an infant, because even though we had three months of her not really getting enough milk because of the tongue tie, my supply never really suffered, and was actually really strong.  I knew before I got pregnant again that my supply was already relatively low again (I think it used to be fine, but this spring I went out of town for 3-5 days twice for conferences for work, and I could tell that pumping on those trips just wasn't that successful, even though it used to be when she was younger, and I think my supply decreased a little bit each time after each one.  But just this week, even though I'm not quite 6w yet, my daughter has begun telling me while nursing that my breast doesn't work anymore, and that it is broken.  There is definitely still milk coming out, but all I can guess is that it is either less milk or a slower flow than she is used to, and I was surprised to see changes this early.  She doesn't seem too upset about it, but it has me wondering how things are going to go over the next several months...


I've also been thinking a bit about managing tandem nursing also in the context of having two breasts with very different milk output.  With DD, my left breast was always super full (I remember getting 8-9 ounces a few times out of that breast alone while pumping, and often got at least 6 ounces, when she was an infant), whereas my right breast was more normal (getting more like 3 oz when pumping back then).  Because of this, I always had to start her on the right side, or she wouldn't nurse on that side at all, and probably around 6m ago she stopped nursing on that side altogether - occasionally she will try it again for about 3 seconds, and when a ton of milk doesn't suddenly come gushing out, she gives up on it (even though a little bit of milk still comes out on that side).  So I'm thinking that maybe I can put the baby on the left side and DD on the right side?  But then I don't want her jealous of the baby getting the "good" side... :)  I'm sure I'll have to figure a lot of that out once the new kiddo is here, but I would also like to be able to prepare DD for what to expect as we get closer to the birth - I think she handles things better if we talk them over a lot ahead of time and help her to understand the reasons for what we are doing, and to have clear expectations about what will happen.  


Anyway, thanks again for your responses everyone, and if anyone else has a different experience that they would like to share, I'd love to hear your perspective also!

post #10 of 16
I'm tandem nursing my 2.75 year old daughter( she'll be three at the end of September, so closer to 3 than 2.5) and my 8 mo old son. its been a good experience for us too, no major issues. my supply definitely dwindled during pregnancy...I had to go on a trip for about 5 days without DD, and did not have any need to pump while gone. thought she might decide she was done with nursing then, but she picked right up where she left off when I got home! seems like I had some aversion during pregnancy, but it's kinda strange how quickly you can forget those details. I'd just tell her we were done when I needed to be done and that was mostly fine.

when DS was born, I asked both my midwife and pediatrician about the colostrum issue, but they really told me not to worry about it. I guess if you were feeding multiples, your body could provide what they needed, so feeding a toddler and newborn is kind of the same thing. And like another poster said, I had oversupply with my first, and DD was VERY helpful when my milk came in after DS was born and I was engorged. so glad during those few days that she hadn't weaned yet! that's a definite benefit this time around... I leaked for months with DD, but have rarely had to worry about that this time. And because I have an abundant supply, I've never had to worry about who got what when. when DS was little and figuring out how to latch, etc. I usually nursed him alone, though every time DD saw me nursing him, she wanted to too, as though she was a newborn herself! her frequency of nursing increased by leaps and bounds when my milk returned! But from early on, I nursed them both at the same time. lots of pillows, etc, and I usually got him latched first because that just worked for us.

don't recall any issues with jealousy over BFing. DD loves DS very much, and any jealousy arises more over him wanting to play with her toys (toys she had no interest in herself for months before, I might add. :-) )

as to the adventures in tandem breastfeeding book, I'm surprised you can't find it on Amazon. I got a used copy last fall for something like $8. maybe check again?
post #11 of 16
The cutest thing was when my second got old enough to push a breast over to offer his sister! I love that!
post #12 of 16

So just last night I was thankful for tandem nursing!  DS2 slept the longest stretch yet (7 hours!) and I had to go into DS1's room, wake him up, and ask him to nurse at 3am because I was so full and uncomfortable I couldn't sleep!  He obliged willingly, of course!

post #13 of 16
oh, and my pregnancy weight just melted off and then some! I actually need to start not counting on all those extra calories going out of my body for when I'm no longer nursing two!
post #14 of 16
Originally Posted by nstewart View Post

So just last night I was thankful for tandem nursing!  DS2 slept the longest stretch yet (7 hours!) and I had to go into DS1's room, wake him up, and ask him to nurse at 3am because I was so full and uncomfortable I couldn't sleep!  He obliged willingly, of course!

Cute luxlove.gif

post #15 of 16
I'm nursing my two and a half year old and 6 week old, and I have to agree that it has been challengingcc but worth it. DS was still nursing a ton wjen I got pregnant, and he did notice a change in the milk really early on. I never really had an aversion, but I did have some pain. I attributed the pain with the nursing being too hard on my body, so I would adjust my diet and the pain would go away. DS slowex down somewhat when my milk dried up arojnd 20 weeks and picked back up when my colostrum came in around 23 or 24 weeks. He nuursed so much that I probably could have pumped sevedal oz of colostrum at a time. So when DD was born I had no worries about whether or not there was enough for her.
It was really hard on my body though, since DS wanted to nurse as much as or more than tbe baby and since I nursed him on demand before, it has been hard creating boundaries. Now tn at we have the it has been a bit better. I am really happu that we have had sucess because DS absolutely adores his sister and I don't have jealousy issues, which is huge considering how territorial he is of me.

Ugh, sorry about all the typos!
post #16 of 16
Thread Starter 

I just thought I'd update briefly.  Thanks again to everyone for all their responses!  I found it really helpful to read all of these different experiences.  


I'm around 26 weeks now, and my DD ended up weaning herself sometime around the end of the first trimester.  I think the milk was just already too slow for her and she wasn't patient enough to wait for it.  She seemed totally ok with it, although I was a bit sad...


I'm wondering if she will try to nurse again once the milk is back after the birth, and if she does, how that will go.  I guess we will find out!

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