I thought DS might wean during this pregnancy and I wouldn't have to sort this out, but here we are - 31 weeks preggo with twins and my 2 yo going strong.
I just can't even imagine the logistics of keeping my active monkey off me while I'm bfing two newborns...and I'm trying to "prepare" him by talking about it and such but I'm very afraid! Very! He's not super verbal yet and is more at the stage where he is randomly announcing "tOES!" and pointing to his feet very proudly - we aren't sharing toys or taking turns well at all! In fact, I'm pretty sure he is still completely ignorant that twins are even coming, let alone that he will have to share breasts!
He is not at all keen to have me nurse his stuffed animals at this point. Any tips? Advice?
I'm starting to really lose my confidence after attending a local Baby Cafe and having 3 different LCs focus more on quickly weaning DS before twins come than feeding all three. And...we co-sleep too. And Im a super AP mom without enough hands/lap space goinging forward. Fun times ahead. Help!
One (huge) positive thing! I have help with housework/cooking/cleaning with my inlaws/parents and super supportive husband...it's the babies bit I have to focus on. But only my husband is supportive of bfing in general. All the parents think I HAVE to bottle feed, and they are horrified I have not weaned DS. Horrified!
My daugher is 17 months older than my twins. I nursed her throughout my high risk pregnancy (TTTS) with the full support of my perinatologist and OB.
Just because someone is a LC does not mean they know squat about tandem nursing OR nursing twins and a singleton. I had to bounce 2 LCs out of my hospital room because they gave me such incompetent advice it would have really screwed things up if I didn't know what I was doing. Nursing twins and a toddler is a very unusual situation--even at LLL meetings while people were supportive, they would also readily admit that they could only give general advice because they had no experience. So if you're going to do this, to be honest, I would not expect a lot of situationally specific help or advice--people are simply not going to know, even 'experts'.
I also think you may be overthinking things a bit. Yes, it MAY be hard for your toddler to adjust, but it may not be as hard as you think either. My kiddo was younger, but really after the babies had been here 2 weeks it was like they'd always been there. She was not freaked out about nursing babies. (She did totally wig out over the breast pump I rented when one of the boys was in PICU though--like, running screaming in terror from the room freak out. Which I can understand, really, pumps look and sound pretty freaky, especially the industrial ones, and I never pumped at all with her.)
I don't think sharing toys is an indication of how a kid is going to adjust to a sibling (either good or bad). Of course he's not sharing well, he's 2. You need to have realistic, developmentally appropriate expectations; he'll need some extra care and attention, but chances are things will be just fine. I found dealing with the hormone crash and sleep deprivation harder to deal with than helping my toddler adjust, to be honest.
So. What I would say is...relax. Dump any consultant that has a hardon for telling you to wean, you don't need that kind of agenda-driven ignorance. A good LC will work with you on specific issues (which I'm not sure you're going to know until you're there), so concentrate on finding someone who you connect with, and who can mind their tongue about weaning if you're not interested. I can't believe that any LC in their right mind is telling someone to wean their toddler BEFORE the babies come (barring some kind of medical issue), hello people, you think engorgement from ONE newborn is bad? You will never be so happy to see a toddler's eyes light up with milk-wanting glee as you are when your milk comes in and you have an expert someone to relieve the pressure so you can actually latch on your newborn. (at least, that is my experience).
That being said, I have heard that some toddler will cut down/self wean before the birth because the milk production slows down or there's an off taste, that really didn't seem to happen with DD (she would comfort nurse even though I don't think there was much there the last month or two). She literally did a jumping up and down happy dance (complete with cackles of joy) when she saw me in the hospital after the boys were born and she knew the milk was back.
Oh, also, we did the family bed with all three. We put the babies inbetween us, DD on the side (our bed was scooted up to the wall), later sidecar-ed a crib next to the bed for her when she wanted more space. No big deal.
I'm not sure how helpful this is going to be, but as you said, it's hard to find other mamas in the same situation. I am currently nursing my twin girls who are 15 months and am 18 weeks pregnant (with twins!). My girls will be about 20 months old when the new babies are born. I have received many opinions on *Still* nursing my girls while pregnant. I think to a certain degree, you have to just go with the flow. One of the best lessons I learned when my girls were born was to be open to change and to trying different things while we figured out what worked. When I found out we were expecting twins again, the thought of nursing 4 babies at once was completely overwhelming to me, and I felt like we needed to wean, even though my girls are still super attached to nursing. We ended up night weaning and it has made such a difference for me that I'm not so concerned with them weaning entirely at this point. My midwife thinks it's awesome that I'm still nursing, the moms at my LLL group are super supportive, and my husband is amazingly supportive. The negative reactions come from certain family members, random people whose opinions I could care less about and certain people who make very ignorant or unhelpful comments. Sometimes you just have to try to surround yourself with people who make you feel good about your choices and really work at letting all the other stuff go. If everyone is healthy and happy, there is no problem. And having the ability to nurse your toddler when you need to might provide you and him with some much needed one-on-one time when the new babies arrive. Just take it one day at a time :)
Married to my love since 08/12/10, mama to E 04/06/01 and twin girls M and Z 01/08/11
We are a family! Expecting #4 and #5 in September - what a surprise!
I wanted to make a longer comment but I keep running out of time. I'm currently nursing my 16 month old a few times a day but I did night wean her about 4 months ago. That is how I've kept my sanity with it. Thankfully she was ok with it and seems content to just have her few times a day. My husband could care less what do in the nursing department but my family has mentioned a few times that they think she should wean when the twins arrive. We'll see what happens... but I do love to give a good show when she nurses in public with my big old belly out for the world to see
For us this has worked and I hope you find a solution. If you don't want to wean and there's no medical reason to then I say go right ahead. I figure my DD is going through enough changes right now that why take away something that always instantly calms her down and lets her know that I am still here for her. Good luck!
Emelee married to J in 03/07. 12/10 our DD C was
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at 41.3 weeks, and 06/12 our fraternal DDs A and V were hospital birth at 41.1 weeks.
I can't speak to the nursing a toddler and twins, as I chose to wean my toddler when I was 19 weeks with the twins. I'd been experiencing recurring mastitis from a persistent plugged duct for over a year at that point. I have been solidly breastfeeding for 10 years, excluding that 19 week break last year while I was pregnant, and I just needed the time to heal. But, I have nursed 4 sets of tandems now, and all the older toddlers have accepted sharing the breast with the newborn very positively. The only problem I had with tandeming was with one son, who decided he needed to nurse just as often as the newborn. This was only a problem, because of his response if I said "no," and that he has a very slender build type. He stopped eating solid foods, and was dropping so much weight he was falling off the growth chart. So with my husband's counsel, I weaned him. All the others we have nursed together at least a year or more.
You'll know what the right thing is to do, because you are very connected to your son. Realistically, it may be hard to find time to squeeze him in the first weeks, if your twins are anything like mine. I don't think they took a break for the first several weeks! I'll be interested to hear your experiences and those of the others on this thread who will be tandeming a toddler and twins!
Mom to eight!! Our twin girls arrived 3-3-2011.
Weaning would be good to make life simpler. When you have twins, you find simplicity is your new byword. One less thing to manage and cope with. This can be important when you have newborn twins to adjust to. Having said that, I do not think it is necessary. If your DS is not weaned you WILL find a way to deal. Also, like another poster said, you may find it occurs as a result of diminishing supply with the approaching of your due date.
If that does not occur, I think it would be better to concentrate of how you will manage nursing all 3. To my mind the newborns needs would take priority. So if they want to nurse, they would be considered first. The sticky thing would be handling that w/out your 2 yo feeling shunted, displaced or somehow disregarded. Having someone on hand to help with him in case things get hard to handle will be your best bet. When my twins were born, my son was nearly two, but he had weaned in my 1st trimester, so I have no direct experience with the situation. Knowing how toddlers are though, he might struggle a bit with seeing them nurse, and if he is denied because you are already nursing both of them, he might have a bit of a melt down. Thankfully toddlers are very distractable, so having someone around who can take him out of the room and engage him in some other fun activity will get him over the bumps until the situation becomes his new normal.
As others have said, you will know what to do when the time comes. I expected my first set of twins to wean during my pregnancy with the second set. It never happened. The four of them nursed together for 2 years... which was never part of my "plan." I actually enjoyed nursing my toddler twins after the babies were born because it was rare quiet time in our house and everybody was usually calm and content. (Never lasted long, of course!) That special time with my toddlers was even more precious with all of the chaos of newborn twins.
Best of luck!