How do you tandem nurse? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 15 Old 12-03-2001, 11:30 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a 14 month old and just found out that I am 2 weeks pg. Not very far along but I am concerned about weaning and tandem nursing.

I have always had big dreams of tandem nursing and am not sure how it should work. Do you nurse the newborn first and what is left over for the older?

We co-sleep and Aidan nurses several times a night. How do you co-sleep with both babies and nurse? Is it possible?

Any help info would be great!

Thanks
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#2 of 15 Old 12-04-2001, 02:00 AM
 
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Annie~

I just wanted to Welcome you here. I have not TN, but these women here are warm and wonderful and have great advice!

Congrats too, on your new baby.

Warmly~

Lisa

Lisa, Todd, Dane and Amber: & :::
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#3 of 15 Old 12-04-2001, 02:40 PM
 
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My DS was 2.5 when my DD was born. I nursed through most of my pregnancy, he stopped nursing for a short time at the end, and then started nursing again after the baby was born. I always nursed the baby first. By the time the baby was born, my DS was sleeping in his own bed, but I would go in and sleep with him if needed. My DD still sleeps with us. Sometimes we all end up in the "family bed". (We got a king size bed and can't live without it!)

I think it is possible to co-sleep with both and nurse both. My DS learned to take turns. I couldn't deal with nursing them both at the same time. I tried and I just got really irritable and didn't like the feeling, but I know that some people are able to nurse one on each side, so it just depends on what works for you.

I highly recommend connecting with people who tandem nurse for support. I found support through LLL - there is a tandem nursing group in the area, and though I never made it to a meeting, the phone contact and support I got was invaluable.

Take good care of yourself!
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#4 of 15 Old 12-05-2001, 03:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for the info! I do have a LLL group here in TN and lots of BF moms. Just none that Tandem...that I know of. Oh well, I am sure we will figure it out.

Thanks sooooo much!

Annie
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#5 of 15 Old 12-05-2001, 03:58 AM
 
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So much will change between now and your next baby's birth, that it's hard to know if you will tandem nurse. First, you need to know about nursing during pregnancy. Your nipples may be a little more sore when Aidan nurses and you can make sure and get extra minerals and nutrients in your diet. I think B vitamins may help with the sore nipples. Your two will be far enough apart that you may not need to nurse them together, but if you do it will probably be during the first three months. I don't remember sleeping being a problem. The older one didn't wake that much at night and it was easy to roll over to one or the other. The hardest part was at night and when they both wanted to nurse at once. I did feel partial to the baby and it felt weird to nurse two at once, but it expanded my capacity, quite literally Just take it one thing at a time. Get adjusted to the pregnancy and nursing with that and then think about the tandem nursing a bit later. JJMama, you've got the right idea about LLL and their books. I bet there's something in Mothering Your Nursing Toddler Congratulations on your pregnancy
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#6 of 15 Old 12-05-2001, 12:19 PM
 
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I'm tandem nursing a 7.5 mo old and a 2.5 year old now. It has been challenging, to say the least. My toddler was 22 months old when his sister was born, and an avid nurser. First of all, you don't have to worry about letting the baby nurse first (except during the first few days when s/he will need all the colostrum! you'll need to enlist your spouse's help during this time to redirect your toddler).

I found that my nipples became sore around the 3-4 month of my pregnancy, and nursing my little man because painful and emotionally upsetting! It won't necessarily happen to you, but it may, so be prepared. I had to decide that I did want to continue, but that I just couldn't continue to night nurse him. My dh helped me night wean him by taking him for a snack in the middle of the night when he woke up. This may sound simple, but it was a pretty traumatic month or so!! Eventually, it worked out, and since then he's slept the night.

When the baby was born, I also wondered about her getting enough milk, and if I should be feeding her first and so on. Well, it is important for a baby to get foremilk, but it is just as important to get the rich hindmilk! I nursed the baby simply on demand, and if my toddler also wanted to nurse (which was very frequently, as you can imagine) I would let him have one side only, to let the baby have "fresh" one! This wasn't so traumatic for him, because he usually nursed only on one side.

Like JJMama, I also have a problem nursing both at the same time. I did it and still do it occasionally when I feel I must (if they are both so melting down I can't stand it, and I'm feeling particularly magnanimous and earth-motherly), but as a rule, that's a big no-no for my personal sanity. If you can do it without going bonkers, it's terrific!

I've blabbered on long enough. I just want to end by giving you support and telling you that my toddler absolutely LOVES his baby sister and I attribute it all to being still nursed. Even though I find it difficult, I am very happy with the choice. Good luck and congrats on your new pregnancy.
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#7 of 15 Old 12-08-2001, 01:48 AM
 
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mine are 2 and 4 (26mo. apart). my older one is the more avid nurser and always has been! She is now night weaned because she nursed 3-4xs per night he nurses once. For the first 18 months though, we tandum nursed day and night. mine nurse to sleep at the same time. dd lays next to me & ds lays across my body to nurse on top. my dd started nursing on just 1 side during my pregnancy (she decided that only one side had milk and that the baby could have the broke side--such sibling love!)so I've never had to worry about who nursed first...the little one ALWAYS got first and last on HIS side! Of course he sneaked a bit of nursing in on her side when she wasn't looking -- don't tell. It was a bit odd when he was born because I had colostrum only on one side and mostly milk with bits of colostrum on the other. If you can make it thru the soreness of nursing while preg. the tandum nursing thing seems to work itself out!

mom to four lively children. birth and postpartum doula. midwifery student. choosing to enjoy life. :
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#8 of 15 Old 12-11-2001, 12:53 PM
 
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My two daughters are almost 21 months apart. I have been tandem nursing for almost a year now.

I experienced significant nipple tenderness nursing throughout the first part of my pregnancy. I simply nursed through it. It eventually subsided.
My milk pretty much dried up altogether, but my daughter continued to nurse as usual (she is and always has been an eager nurser).
My doctors and their staff were ill-informed about nursing through pregnancy and tandem nursing. She told me to wean my daughter right away and that I was only nursing for myself anyhow (ugh!). But the FACTS are that it is perfectly okay and healthy for all to continue nursing.
Nursing through pregnancy afforded me naps anytime I wanted which was wonderful!
My daughter still obviously needed to nurse---it was not her fault that another baby was on the way---she was still a baby too.

Getting started tandem nusring was ... very tough at times, but I am SO THANKFUL I stuck it out. It is very worth it and gets MUCH easier.
There is no issue with providing enough milk for all----where there is a demand there is a supply.
The dynamics of nursing both at the same time is very challenging at first while the newborn is so helpless and floppy. But you do find your way. Hopefully you have a good husband who will step in and help with the balancing act.
My older daughter wanted to nurse seemingly ALL THE TIME at first, likely because of emotional issues adjusting and with the delight of new plentiful milk which had disappeared for so long.
There were times I thought I couldn't go on with it, but I found support on the internet which pushed me through. Checking in with veteran tandem nursers is a BIG help. (Feel free to email me anytime).

At this point, ten plus months into it, tandem nursing is no big deal at all. I nurse them both at the same time frequently (it's easy now). My older daughter is still eager to nurse anytime; my younger daughter seems she could really take it or leave it. They both sleep in our bed, although I have a small bed on the floor beside our bed that my older daughter sleeps in the first portion of the night after being nursed to sleep. At some point in the night she always wakes up to nurse and sleeps in the bed with us the rest of the night.

I could go on, but I won't. I hope I haven't been too winded about it. Bottom line, it's not convenient to tandem nurse, but what about being an attachment parent is convenient? In the long run, however, it is all SOOOOOOO worth it!!!!!!
Best wishes to you.
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#9 of 15 Old 12-21-2001, 08:55 PM
 
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Thought I'd bump this up for apmommy, since she was asking questions about TN.

Happy Holidays~

Lisa

Lisa, Todd, Dane and Amber: & :::
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#10 of 15 Old 04-07-2002, 01:06 AM
 
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OK, I've read through what everyone has said and want to say thanks. My kids are 4 days short of being two years apart. I've been tandum nursing them for 2 months now. At times I lose my sanity...and I have a few more questions for experinced tandum nursers.

Firstly, how do you 'successfully' put both to sleep nursing both when the oldest takes a good 40+ minutes to go to sleep, and the little one needs frequent burping because I have a very fast, forceful let-down? Right now, I lay on my back, put a pillow right up next to me, lay the baby on it turned into me. Then the older one lays across my belly stretching my nipples like it's silly putty. But then just when he's about to fall asleep the little one starts crying needing burping or something. It's normally not a problem, but two nights a week my husband teaches and I have to put both to sleep.

Just this week my oldest has started getting very demanding and whiny for milk. He was nursing 3 times a day - morning, nap time, and before bed. Now every hour he's throwing a fit for milk. I don't want to nurse that much. I've compromised and when I can't distract him to something else I'll nurse him. But it's really wearing on me, more the whining and crying than the actual nursing. We haven't seen any jealousy, and I'm wondering if this may be some. But I'm not sure, it's just started this week and the baby is 9 weeks old. I 'think' my oldest is still getting the same or at least almost the same amount of attention because the little one sleeps a lot. Has this happened with anyone else? - increased nursing.

Also, do you ever feel like you don't have enough milk? I always have had more than enough milk but lately my boobs feel empty. I know milk is being produced as they are drinking but sometimes I wonder if the little one is really getting enough. She weighs more than more her age but...

Can anyone recommend some good duo-tandum nursing positions?

And is there any tips you can throw my way just in general about tandum nursing?

Thanks.
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#11 of 15 Old 04-07-2002, 12:36 PM
 
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Hi Moukii,

First of all let me congradulate you on making it through the first couple of months of tandem nursing. The first few months are the hardest. It gets much easier soon....and easier and easier with each passing day thereafter. I KNOW it can be so hard sometimes, but I also KNOW your children are benefitting so much from your committment.

Okay, getting them both to sleep at the same time... These two nights a week that your husband is not there to help are just going to be touch and go for some time. I remember litterally getting a nervous feeling in my stomach on the nights I knew my husband wouldn't be around at bedtime to help me with getting the girls to sleep. It's like being in a canoe where it just takes one person to tip the boat----it's so frustrating when you've gotten one of them to sleep and then the other one wakes everyone up. And it's impossible to then care for both of their needs at the same time. I don't have any magic tips unfortunately, but I can tell you that (and I don't mean to sound like a broken record) it does get easier. It will ALWAYS be much better when you AND your husband are there to help at bedtime, but it will become less of an impossible task for you to do it on your own soon.

Next, a big H*LL YES!!! on the increased in nursing frequency for the older child. BIG time!!! That's very normal. It comes and goes in phases. I suggest you indulge him and allow him to nurse frequently in the knowledge that this will pass. Like you said, you can use distraction and avoid situations where he will want to nurse, but otherwise just let him nurse. The surest way to make it worse is to deny him and turn it into a big issue---he is still going through a lot of adjusting and will sometimes be more needy than others. I know it can be frustrating for you sometimes, but again...I promise it does get easier.

Also, it is normal for boobs to seem "uninflated" or empty after the first couple of months of nursing (tandem or not). It's a mystery to me, but even though they often seem to have very little milk there is actually plenty for both of your children. Again, where there is a demand there is a supply. I was puzzled too by this wondering how I was making enough milk when my boobs had become softer and smaller (and of course a couple of inches lower than they once were ). But things just level out after a while. Nature is still taking care of things and there is plenty of milk for all.

I would/could write more, but I've been lucky enough to steal these moments to post uninterrupted (my husband's on his way back from the bagel store with our dds). Please continue to ask questions/seek support/share your experience. I applaud your dedication to the well being of your children.
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#12 of 15 Old 04-07-2002, 06:54 PM
 
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HI there - I'm tandem nursing my 2 dds also (ages 2 1/2 and 11 months). It does get easier!

I also had the problem of a husband who was out many nights, so I had both girls to put to sleep (dh is a minister, so lots of evening meetings, unfortunately). I'm luckier - dd1 doesn't nurse to sleep in general. WE nurse, then brush teeth and read stories, then I tuck her in and leave her to fall asleep on her own...

But - I did used to find it very stressful when dd2 was newborn and I had both of them on my own. In your case, I think I would try to nurse the baby to sleep, and once the baby is down, then put your toddler to sleep - would that work? That's what I ended up doing with my dd2. Do you co-sleep with both children? I could see that that would make things much more difficult, as my oldest was in her own room when dd2 came along.

Still - I would probably try putting them down separately, rather than nursing both at the same time.

Just a thought.

I also found dd1 increased her nursing after dd2 was born. She still goes in cycles - some days nursing a lot, some days not nursing much. But mostly - she nurses quite a lot!

Good luck and good for you!
Carolyn
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#13 of 15 Old 04-08-2002, 02:52 PM
 
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I am currently TN for the 2nd time. My girls are 27mos and 10wks. I TNed during this preg until ds weaned on his own about 1 1/2 mos before baby was born. My dd was down to nursing only once a day most days until the baby was born. Now she is back up to 6 or more times a day. I do the same thing with trying distractions first to see if she really wants to nurse or is just bored. I f she persists, I allow her to nurse.

I never did the "nurse the baby first" thing. My children have always been fed on demand and I would never know when one or the other would be hungry. Sometimes it was every 20 minutes for the baby, other times she would sleep 3 hours. Not to mention, I learned early on that telling my very strong-willed 2yo that she had to wait stressed me out more than just doing it.

I do not always nurse them together, and I try to avoid it as I enjoy the time to bond with each one individually. However, sometimes in our situation that is not always the best idea. I have witnessed on many occasions the bonding that my children have when they nurse together; holding hands, rubbing each others heads or, as they get older, making funny faces and laughing at each other .

Good Luck to you and remember we all do what works best for us.
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#14 of 15 Old 05-03-2002, 12:44 AM
 
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Well, now that DD is 3 months I finally figurerd out a position that works (for the most part) so I thought I'd share it.

I lay a pillow next to my torso and lay on my back with the pillow pressed up close. I lay the baby on it and kind of prop the pillow and turn her on her side. If I were to move my body away she would fall, that's how close up I put her on the pillow. I roll a little bit on my side and get her properly latched then give an extra little shove in towards her getting as close as possible. Then go back flat on my back. DS (26 months) latches, plays with my hair with one arms and flops his head onto his arms (the one playing with the hair). This acts as a pillow for him and doesn't stretch my boobs too much. His legs are laying down kind of perpendicular to me and I can even manage to cover him up. This seems to work. When he's really asleep, I move my arm way up over my head under his arm, unlatch him with my free hand, and slowly roll him onto the bed. SOmetimes the baby wil roll into the position I was in which isn't good, but it works and is pretty comfortable surprisingly.
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#15 of 15 Old 05-03-2002, 04:26 AM
 
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This is my second time tandem nursing and it doesn't feel any better this time around, but it is easier ... practice makes perfect ...

As far as who first & how much, I don't deal with that. They each nurse when they want & however much they want, & everybody's thriving. Though if one side is fuller than the other and the toddler wants to nurse, if the baby's already on the emptier side (which would be why it's emptier) I'll move the baby to the full side and let the toddler on the first (already-been-nursed) side. After all, toddler already drinks milk from a cup, doesn't need all that much breast milk, right?

Remember, it's a supply&demand thing, you nurse 'em more, you have more milk. Nurse away, you'll have plenty, G-d willing.

The easiest way to do both at once I've found is sitting up, with the baby in the sling in a football hold type thing (ie., baby's laying along your side in the sling) and older child on the lap on the other side.

As far as in bed, I try to nurse them to sleep sitting up, as above, or else I pile up pillows on the toddler's side and she kind of lies down on top of me, and the baby is in the sling, pulled kind of tight. (It helps that I kind of sag at this point , if yours are still "upright," well, then good for you, but bad for this nursing position).

We have everybody in the bed, several futons spread across the floor, and the only difficulty is that the bigger kids tend to travel in their sleep. Gotta watch out for the baby, so we keep him between me and a wall ...

As far as those middle-of-the-night wake-up&nurse things, when it's suddenly two at once it's tough, but again, I keep the sling nearby to strap on the little one. Or else, if I'm feeling testy, I'll tell the toddler to wait her turn and pray that she falls asleep right away. If she doesn't, then it's a minute or two to set up the pillows, & hopefully she won't wake up the rest of us 'til the sling is slung ...

Good luck ...
- Amy
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