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Advice on Tandem Nursing

post #1 of 22
Thread Starter 
Hi mamas, I sit here at 2:45 a.m. With sad, sore boobies. I'm still nursing my two year old, and I love it, I really do but I am beginning to feel overwhelmed bc I thought the soreness would subside as I'm 12 weeks pg. I'm also dejected bc I've heard the soreness lasting the entire length of the pg and I just don't know if I can take it. True be told, I'm a bit worried about tandem nursing an infant and an incredibly spirited and demonstrative toddler ( aka, she can be a little asshole sometimes;). The reasons I'd want to continue nursing my kid is we both love the bonding, she's unvax'd, and my hope is tandem would assist in keeping any new baby jealousy at bay. But, again, the latter could be a crapshoot bc my girl is incredibly impassioned and emotional and what if she doesn't WANT to share her milkies? She loves it so much, she'll take a nip ( of what little amount I'm producing), fondle the other one, do a switch for a nip off the other, etc etc. it's the way she's been doing it for a year and I worry that she's going to be a *#!t when she sees another babe at my other boob. , sorry that was long winded but does anyone have advice/ insight on this? Is tandem truly worth enduring the crazy sore nipples, esp w a high needs toddler? Thanks in advance mamas smile.gif
post #2 of 22

i was so worried about all those things with ds2, ds1 was still pretty uncommunicative (he's high functioning autistic), still nursed a lot, was very high needs. i was terrified it was going to be horrible...when the baby first came out and was having his first nurse...i invited lucien to come nurse too, he laid down with us, nursed and petted the baby...and we never had a problem with jealousy. it's like that moment sealed the affection in.

 

he did slow down on his nursing while i was pregnant but started right back up once the baby was born. the only time we had trouble was at bedtime...but that had more to do with a non-supportive father than the kids doing anything. but since i had no help, they would tend to wake each other up all night..bed time could take hours. the problem would have been easily resolved if then dh would have been willing to hang out with the toddler while i put the baby to bed

 

and having a toddler that you can ask to nurse when you are engorged was a blessing.

post #3 of 22
Thread Starter 

Thanks, mom.  Its good to hear this!!!

post #4 of 22

I tandem nursed for a year and a half. It was really challenging. It also created problems of jealousy. When I finally decided to wean my older guy he felt really upset that the younger on could still nurse. (I just couldn't do it anymore.) He still remembers it now. It is a challenge and I'm not sure it's worth it. Feel free to give yourself a break. It might be easier to draw lines now, before the baby, than later. 

post #5 of 22
I read a ton of stories on tandem nursing and decided to endure the painful nursing throughout pregnancy and give it a try because I saw so many stories of sweet siblings holding hands while nursing, the jealousy being held at bay, etc. DS1was also very needy, attached to nursing, and was 2.75 when DS2 was born. He was also still nursing at least once in the middle of the night. I had tried nightweaning but he reacted so strongly even after several nights, I had given up. During the pregnancy, I managed to get him down to just one nursing session at night, around 5 am or so. I also limited how long he could nurse during the day (though not really how often) because it was so unbearable. I would give him one minute per side or something, and I would count to 60 in my head, sometimes very quickly! He learned to live with the limits.

DS2 was born, and I had a very hard time with tandem. I had set limits with the toddler, and once baby was nursing all the time, he wanted it more too. I didn't want to refuse and create jealousy, so I let him nurse more. I felt very touched out, it was so intense. There was never a sweet moment of them holding hands, it was mostly me holding my breath to get through it! I remember reading about the toddler relieving engorgement, and let DS1 nurse one time at night--he thought he had won the lottery! Then, he started to want it at night again, and the inconsistency was just confusing for him. Finally, I decided I couldn't do it tandem anymore, and only nursed them one at a time. Then, I was just ready to be done with DS1nursing, so I told him that he would not nurse anymore when he turned 3. It was a very gentle end (well, there was crying, but I responded with empathy), but it was cold turkey--any cutting off of nursing was hard for him, so a gradual approach would have had him suffer for each dropped session. We talked about it for weeks in advance.

Looking back, I did not enjoy it, it did not help with jealousy, or bonding. It did, however, allow DS1to hold on a little longer to nursing. I'm not sure I could have cut him off before DS2 was born, even if I had known how it was going to work out for us, but given how rough it was, I would have tried to come up with a way to avoid tandem nursing.

There is not a lot of info out there on gentle, mother-led weaning. My DS would probably have continued until starting kindergarten if I had left it up to him! I think it is reasonable for moms who have let their child nurse for years to be ready to wean and take the lead, if that is what they want. Ultimately, I think it comes down to your resolve--if you are sure that weaning is right for you at a given time, it will go as well as possible.

Just thought I would share my experience!
post #6 of 22

I'm so sorry it hurts! I've been so grateful that I didn't have that this time. 

I have no advice - I'm right with you on trying it the first time. I really want it to work out, I hear great things about it but sometimes I am DONE and don't wanna nurse him. So I tell him no and offer food/drink. Less now, but it works pretty well. If he really needs it, he can always have it. It's hard to have a child and be pregnant!

post #7 of 22

i just wanted to clarify that when i say tandem nursed...we only literally tandem nursed twice. because it made me want to rip my eye balls out when their suction patterns were different.

 

when i say, i tandem nursed, i only mean i was nursing a toddler and an infant...but never ever at the same time.

post #8 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by Selissa View Post
 

i just wanted to clarify that when i say tandem nursed...we only literally tandem nursed twice. because it made me want to rip my eye balls out when their suction patterns were different.

 

when i say, i tandem nursed, i only mean i was nursing a toddler and an infant...but never ever at the same time.

Yep, that's about exactly how I felt too!! LOL!

post #9 of 22
I want to add our experience. I have tandem nursed once, my first and second children. When number three came, I was nursing three. When my fourth came, my oldest had weaned and I nursed three again. Of course, the very oldest in the sets of three nursed infrequently, maybe once a day and fading into once a week towards weaning.

My first weaned at 5, as did my second. My third weaned at 4.5 and my fourth at 3.5-4. This time is like my first time, I have not been lactating in a long time.

I don't want to diminish the struggles I had through pregnancy. It is hard. I remember the painful, pinching feeling in my nipples as my supply waned and they kept nursing. Some of the best advice I was ever given was to not refuse nursing, but to limit the duration. Even very young children are capable of understanding a count or amount of time they can nurse. You can say, ok baby you can have nurses for 15 seconds, or you can count it by 'sucks' or however your child understands best. Then you count and at the end you say, ok, that's all for now. Do you want something to drink or eat?

Early pregnancy was the hardest. If you make it through this, the rewards are great for everyone.

In my case, I have oversupply and a tandem nursing toddler is so helpful to me when a newborn cannot keep my supply in check. I am a little worried about this time, actually, and I plan to pump and donate instead.

It is scary to think of a newborn and toddler, but amazing lessons of gentleness and quiet were learned by my older siblings while they tandem nursed with their baby brothers and sister. Yeah, after giving birth those firstborns of yours look huge with giant teeth and hands, compared to your helpless newborn. And I did find it useful to keep some limits in place with my older child, either duration or number of times. Nothing too strict, but it left me lots of time for one on one with my newborn. Also, when newborn napped or was happy I sought out time to be just with my older child, who was going through a transformation as a big sibling that is frankly quite painful. I believe there are few things more rewarding than giving your child a sibling, but I have also seen how hard those first weeks are for the older sib. They grow up, a lot, and it's hard to watch from your rocker while you take care of your baby. But it's totally normal and necessary. It helps you grow, too, as a mom of two (or more).

Anyway, it is not easy but I am so glad I was able to do it. I really encourage anyone who's considering it to reach out where you can and seek support, and keep trying even if it means limiting nursing for awhile. Of course, it doesn't have to work for everyone and you just do what you can. Love, Tabitha.
Edited by tabitha - 9/5/13 at 11:00am
post #10 of 22

tabitha - Thank you. So much love sent your way.

post #11 of 22

Tabitha, you put it so much better than i was able to. yes exactly all that :)

post #12 of 22
Thread Starter 
Omg, I'm totally emotional and weepy after readi g your reply Tabitha! Thanks. And thanks all of you moms, as w so much in parenting this is a journey and half the time I don't know what I'm doing but I'm doing it and hoping that I'm doing the best for the kiddos and everyone else, including myself. Thanks
post #13 of 22

My eldest daughter was a little over the age of 2 when he brother was born and had been denied the breast for little over month.. not so much because it hurt, (which it did) but because i became so agitated while she nursed. I literally could not stand it. I could not last full minute... it was like ants crawling under my skin, I just hated it. no good explanation... So for about a month no one was sucking on me. 

When my son was born and my milk came in I looked like Dolly Parton (looking for a photo- hold on)

okay, maybe it wasn't quite that bad, but i felt like Dolly... clearly supply was in abundance and i had experienced mastitis in the past and feared it happening again, so I offered my little girl the breast one day... it was so funny, because she had forgotten how to nurse... she kept licking my nipple as milk dripped off it. she would laugh and say it was yummy and i would laugh because the whole thing was ridiculous... me laying on my side nursing the baby and her draped across my side licking the other breast. (looking for another photo)
 


she did however figure it out and I did tandem nurse (at the same time- mostly nap time) for another year or so. After that I did nurse her occasionally, but not at the same time as him, she distracted him too much. I do think that the tandem nursing contributed to a more peaceful transition for her and improved their connections to each other. It led to some very sweet snuggling, cheek patting and hand holding

see the cuteness :) and i didn't have any issues with blockage... a toddler really takes care of that.

All that said, I did just wean my 3 year old in the last month or so... I started getting that "omg stop!" feeling and decided to trust my gut. He's been a little sad and asked for boobahs, but overall it's been fine. I'm glad there is a longer space between these 2... i don't want to ever have 2 in diapers at the same time again!!!

hope this helps to see another Mama's experience with tandem nursing.
 

post #14 of 22

I too have experienced the highs and lows of tandem nursing.  I've tandem nursed twice.  The first trimester and the third trimester of pregnancy can be hard (and a bit painful), but I continued mostly because the toddler wasn't ready to fully wean and they were not quite 2 yrs old (my personal "goal") when the next baby arrived.  I only tandem nursed each toddler for 6 months after the baby was born.  I would start to get the "creepy crawling" agitated feelings when toddler nursed and I felt like it wasn't healthy to keep going when I was so "done" and irritated most of the time.  I feel like night weaning and setting pretty clear limits helped manage the tandem nursing up until that 6 month point (otherwise the toddler typically wants to nurse 24/7 like a newborn after the baby comes...it's SO YUMMY!!! Who would want food if you had an all you can eat ice cream fountain? lol).  I had my older two down to first thing in the morning, nap time, and bed time nursings before new baby.  Nursing continued to be a parenting "tool", great for bonding, and was helpful for managing oversupply.  I've had major oversupply with all 3 of my babies, tandem or not.  Of course when tandem nursing the supply is increased even more so, but at least I could have toddler help out a lot and allow me to block nurse more effectively to decrease supply.  Anyway, my 3rd baby is 21 months today.  I wouldn't be sad if he self-weaned before the next baby comes...but I'm preparing myself for night weaning him and setting some limits to help manage the reality of tandem nursing again.  Here is a sweet picture of my DD (28 months) and DS2 (5 months) holding hands and nursing.  Happy I have this shot...I initiated full weaning with her a few days later.

*

post #15 of 22
I'm still nursing my 2 year old. I've tried to lessen nursing sessions to wake up, nap and bedtime and she is acting like a wounded bear. She still wakes up in the middle of the night kicking and screaming after three months of no night nurses. She's been cutting molars, I think I'll send DH to the store for some Camilia and try to find an amber necklace, they're around here somewhere but I'll have to sneak it on her or else! I tandemed with #1 and #2, #2 and #3 but I'm a little nervous how my little bear is going to do(we do call her Amelia bear orngtongue.gif). I was certain about weaning before babe is here, but now Im thinking when she turns three in May. My others I weaned at three and it went ok I just tied it into being three and big now. I'm just not sure about the timing it will be just over a month from baby #4 due date, whereas For DS it was 5 months before #3 was born and For DD1 it was a year and 6 months after #3 came. I think the two days away for the birth will be good, tell her baby needs mommy milk maybe, try to pump some for her? I don't really have a plan yet!
post #16 of 22

Just wanted to check in again here too -- DS2 just turned 3 and I did the same for him that I did for DS1. I told him that 3 year olds don't have nurses anymore. He was down to just twice a day for the last 6 months or so anyway, and he had skipped a few of those sessions too. It went so much more smoothly with him -- he was ready to let it go. No crying at all. Personality, age, and your own desire all play a huge part in what will work best for you.

post #17 of 22

I've been wondering the same with my girl. She'll be 3 in Feb. She's down to nursing 1-2 times/day. For a while, as my milk was decreasing, she would say there was no more and be fine ending the session at that point. But within the last week or so, there's hardly any milk left and she is getting more and more frustrated and agitated to quit drinking. I'm torn between her being done now (love the closeness because I work FT) but then I also don't want it to cause jealousy issues when the new baby comes. I guess I'll just have to see how the next few months play out, if she weans completely herself or not, and just play it by ear.

 

I appreciate your stories!

post #18 of 22
Thread Starter 
Sweet summer, after deciding to continue our nursing my milk dried up, lol. So, she suckles once, maybe twice daily going down to sleep but of course no milk:(. I'm in the same boat, just waiting to see how it plays out. She didn't nurse, or suckle, at all yesterday, so perhaps she's self weaning. Honestly, fact that I'm not producing milk makes for kind of an uncomfortable 'session.' On my part. It kind of creeps me out bc she's just, like, sucking on my boob. My pregnant likes and dislikes are super strong right now, I can't help it! It's funny how it played out. I finally wholly accepted and was down with the idea of tandem when my placenta took over and stole my milk producing capabilities.
post #19 of 22

I haven't had milk for awhile but Charlie still nurses almost as much as normal - which is pretty frequent. It hurts so I limit it a bit, but I like it. Good snuggles. We like to talk about how the new baby will nurse, too :)

post #20 of 22
Quote:
Originally Posted by anachka View Post

Sweet summer, after deciding to continue our nursing my milk dried up, lol. So, she suckles once, maybe twice daily going down to sleep but of course no milk:(. I'm in the same boat, just waiting to see how it plays out. She didn't nurse, or suckle, at all yesterday, so perhaps she's self weaning. Honestly, fact that I'm not producing milk makes for kind of an uncomfortable 'session.' On my part. It kind of creeps me out bc she's just, like, sucking on my boob. My pregnant likes and dislikes are super strong right now, I can't help it! It's funny how it played out. I finally wholly accepted and was down with the idea of tandem when my placenta took over and stole my milk producing capabilities.

That's how I am right now too! yesterday nothing was coming out and it is just uncomfortable so I said "mommy's body is not making very much milk anymore so why don't we lay here and I'll rub your back [to sleep] instead?" she protested for about a minute and then was fine. She only nurses right before bed but not really to sleep anymore anyways. So we'll see where this takes us...

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