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Age difference in tandem nurslings...

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
I read about all these other moms who love tandeming. The thread in BBI about tandem nursing, etc. Mom's who look forward to it, love doing it, etc. And I wonder, why haven't I enjoyed it? And I started thinking, I wonder if it isn't the age spacing. Mine are only 14 months apart, so maybe that's why. I know that I still feel guilty over the fact that I had to supplement with formula while I was pregnant. I know that I often felt that dd1 got "robbed" of her infancy, she has no memories of life without dd2. Ds was 3.5 when dd1 was born, so he had tons of one-on-one time, kwim?

So what do you think? How much difference is there in your tandem nurslings? Do you think it would have been different had they been closer together/further apart? Was the additional pregnancy "planned"? Or if not planned, not unexpected? I am envious of the mothers who talk about tandeming in this glowing, rosy, loving manner. We've had our glowing moments, to be sure.....but mostly, I have not enjoyed it.
post #2 of 17
I didn't "love" tandem nursing. When I found myself pg when DD was only 9mo, I basically had 3 choices: terminate the pregnancy, wean my baby, or tandem nurse. I couldn't see weaning my baby before she was ready, and abortion just didn't sit right with me.

Being pg while caring for a baby is HARD. Caring for 2 babies is HARD. I would never *plan* on having children so close in age- but tandem nursing had some wonderful moments. There's something really sweet about nursing a toddler while the fetus moves inside. There's something magical about nursing 2 babies simultaneously, the 3 of us snuggling together.

Boy am I glad those days are behind me now!!!!
post #3 of 17
i absolutely think it makes a huge difference. my son was already 2 when we GOT pregnant. so he was nearly 3 when ava was born. it makes a HUGE difference, imo. he actually nurses more than the baby does, but it's just...*different*. i can tell him to wait a minute, to pause if i have to answer the phone, he can delay his gratification a bit and i don't feel guilty, really. if he were only 14mos when she was born - TOTALLY different ballgame. back when he was 14mos i would not have felt NEARLY as relaxed about limiting his sessions or negotiating with him, etc.

i want to be clear, though, in case someone reads my post wrong - i am NOT trying to wean him. i just mean that when something happens while we're nursing and i have to stop quickly, he doesn't really care because he knows he'll get more in a minute. i think that makes a big difference to me.
post #4 of 17
imhp, anyone who says they enjoyed tandem nursing is lying through their
@##. It is very difficult, mentally, and intense. I tandemed twice, the first time there was a 22 month difference, the second time 2.5 yrs. I would do it again if I had to, but would not say it was "enjoyable".
post #5 of 17
LOL um...i promise you i'm not lying out my ass. of course, there are moments when i get touched out...but overall, tandem nursing has been a godsend to me. and honestly enjoyable. especially when they hold each other's hands. BUT - i also know that it is NOT the case for everybody.
post #6 of 17
post #7 of 17
I have twin boys who are 2 1/2 years old. They are my only children, so I've only experienced tandem nursing. In my case, there was no other way to do it!! I am very happy that I breastfeed for all the reasons people do it, but there have certainly been challenges along the way. It's not easy. I've always loved being able to meet both my children's needs at the same time. You would really have to work to do that with a bottle!! I am being extra careful with pregnancy, though, because I don't think my body could handle that plus tandem nursing!!!
post #8 of 17
I had a couple of moments that were super sweet, like recently... my son is 7 months and my daughter is 4 years.... they were both nursing and my son noticed my daughter and started smiling and reaching out to play with her hair and my daughter started smiling and rubbing his back. It was very sweet. But Mostly I am tired of still nursing my daughter. I don't want weaning to be a bad memory for her, but I don't know if I still want to do "child-led" either. I am ready to just say "all done, sorry" and hope she gets over it.

I'm not sure if that answered your question about the age difference mattering or not...
post #9 of 17
I tandem nursed my boys (2.5 years apart) and am now tandem nursing my ds2 and dd (19 months apart). I like the closer spacing better. Could be the personalities of the babies involved, or the circumstances. My oldest self-weaned a month before dd was born (I tandem nursed through pregnancy) and I fully expected to be nursing 3 children, so 2 seemed too easy

I discovered the first time around that I just didn't like nursing 2 at the same time, so I tried to make sure that I could have one-on-one nursing time with each. That definitely made it better for everyone, but especially the older nursling (who just loved having nursing/mama time to himself).

My ds1 had a horrible latch as well, especially as he got older. He is also very intsense about everything (nursing included). My younger 2 are more easygoing.

So many factors to consider. I guess my (long rambling) point is that so many things go into each nursing relationship. Therefore it stands to reason that each tandem nursing experience will be very different. Some will definitely be better than others!
post #10 of 17
So what do you think? How much difference is there in your tandem nurslings? Do you think it would have been different had they been closer together/further apart? Was the additional pregnancy "planned"? Or if not planned, not unexpected? I am envious of the mothers who talk about tandeming in this glowing, rosy, loving manner. We've had our glowing moments, to be sure.....but mostly, I have not enjoyed it.
My toddler will be 3 in a few weeks and my twins are 4 months old. The pregnancy was defenitely planned but of course the twins were uexpected. I am very glad to be nursing all 3 of them, but there are defenitely days when I am touched out and frustrated. I don't tandem nurse much, but sometimes the twins nurse together or I will nurse my toddler along with one of the twins. My toddler thinks it is funny to break the babies' latch and try to steal their boob so that is kind of annoying. Plus his head is so big he bumps into the baby's head. I don't think triandem nursing is a magical, glowing thing, it is just our life. Somedays it is hard, and most days it's just what we do. It is kind of like when people ask if having twins is hard-I don't really think about if it's hard, I just do what we needs to be done. I hope I am making sense. Overall I would say yes, I do enjoy triandem nursing. Probably 80% enjoying it, 20% thinking it would be easier not to.
post #11 of 17
Thread Starter 
Thank you for all your input. I appreciate everyone's honesty. I guess what it comes down to is that tandeming is like every other relationship with our children. It's different for each child, each set of children, regardless of age, etc. I don't plan on any more children, but if I ever find myself in the position of tandeming again, I think I'd be willing to give it another go.
post #12 of 17
My 3 yr. old tries to break the baby's latch and steal his boob, too! I thought he was the only one.
I usually dislike tandem nursing my 39 mo. old and 4 mo. old boys, but sometimes it is very sweet. When my big kid rubs his brother's head or back, when he says "I think Luka wants some mommy milk now!" or when Luka sees his big brother's antics and cracks up... but usually it is just draining, my nipples are always sore, and I feel touched out. My 3 yr. old still nurses 8-12 times per day and my 4 mo. old nurses more than that. I think if I had one of those miraculous 2-3x a day toddlers, I might love tandeming.
post #13 of 17
Mine are 2y8.5m apart, and so far, I am very glad to have tandem nursed them. I can definitely see where it has helped DS adjust to having to share his mama and be a big brother. He nurses 2-3 times a day now at almost 3.5 and she is anywhere from 6-10 times a day at 8 months. I do get touched out at times, especially when both kids have a high needs nursing day (not feeling well or whatever) and then DH still wants some later that night. But, I really love the fact that they are sick less often, and if they do get sick, it is of shorter duration and not as severe.
post #14 of 17
i coming up on 5 yrs of continuous tandem nursing (that will be in august) of which the last 2 have been triandem. i haven't had a child completey wean yet, but my oldest is pretty close.
age differences
1 & 2 16mos
2 & 3 31mos
3 & 4 expecting it to be 27mos
now, i'm not a matyr and i haven't been suffering. i truely have enjoyed my experience in tandem nursing. too me, it's just like nursing only one, just + one. that's why i have 2 breasts.
it's not always great...i'm not too fond of nursing 2 at night (which i did for over 2yrs) and that has issues too like is one keeping the other going longer especially since #3 (who's not been tandemed at night) has nightweaned on her own by age 2 (she's still going back and forth on this, but currently she's not nursing at night her decision). but after 2 at night, i never did complain again about 1 at night. so it looks like it will still just be one after this one is born. hopefully.
and nursing while sick or pregnant is tough too. i have noticed (in my experience) that the closer they are in age, the better nursing through a pregnancy is as far as keeping the supply going.
of course, the bigger the age gap, the more you can reason with the oldest especially when you can't possible nurse 3 at the same time. usually i could get the oldest to hold off for a few minutes. and then alternate him with the 2nd oldest.
i've dealt with bottlenecks (when 3 want to nurse at once), kids fighting over the same side, kids getting upset that they are touching their sibling, etc. but we've worked through those.
i think pulling the nipple out of siblings mouth is funny, and all mine have done it. it's neat to see the older one get the nipple pulled out his mouth by the youngest.
i've seen the good stuff too. i've seen tenderness between the siblings, eye contact between them and me, we've joked and tickled, i've had two fall asleep (probably fighting previously because they were tired). i've watched my youngest when she could finally climb onto the couch, drag her oldest brother off the breast and then take over, and the snuggling with a baby in my belly. i've been nursed! (while one is waiting sometimes i get a back scratch/rub by the one in waiting, so i call that nursing mama)
while nursing two together, i've knitted, read books, read books to them, conferenced called my boss, worked on the computer, etc.
i've even had my oldest latch on, get off, and say "i'm going to go get you a glass of water, you need it".
tandem has been a valuable in my roll as a mom. i'd hate to be without it. it's not perfect, nothing in life is. and i think you can get burned out in any aspect of your life from time to time. and excepting that your not always going to have your good days, makes you appreciate the good days more. i would do it exactly the same way again if i had too!
and there is no magic age gap. they all have their benefits.
post #15 of 17
Kirstie, I know I've said it before but, you're one awesome mama. :
post #16 of 17
kirstie - beautiful.
post #17 of 17
thanks Celeste and Michelemiller
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