Please share advice for tandem nursing! - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 8 Old 12-14-2011, 06:14 PM - Thread Starter
 
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DD just turned 3 and I'm 33 weeks pregnant.  I was really expecting dd to wean herself during my pregnancy (my milk dried up months ago) but she is clearly not ready to wean.  I'm not really excited about the idea of tandem nursing but I'm less excited about weaning dd when she's clearly not ready, and I'm guessing it's unlikely at this point she'll wean before the baby gets here.  Even if she does, I'm guessing she will ask again anyway when the baby is born so it seems a little futile to try hard to wean at this point.

 

Right now, DD nurses before bed and for a long time (about an hour) as she's waking up in the morning.  She almost never asks to nurse any other time.  I would love to continue just nursing her these two times but I have a feeling once my milk comes back and she sees the baby nursing constantly she is going to be asking a lot more.

 

I would appreciate any advice about tandem nursing, specifically if your older child wanted to nurse more once the baby came and how you were able to set limits with your older child.

 

Also, only my family and a few friends know i'm still nursing and they respond very negatively and just give me weaning advice.  DH has been telling dd that once the baby comes she'll have to stop because mommy's milk will be for the baby.  I don't think DH really wants me to tandem, he thinks it's just time for dd to stop.  How did you deal with negative comments from others, especially close family and DH/DP?

 

Were you reluctant to tandem?  How did it work out?

 

How did it affect your older child's transition to the new baby?


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#2 of 8 Old 12-16-2011, 11:05 AM
 
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my kids are closer in age, but with both of my older kids they were down to nursing only once or twice a day by the time their new sibling arrived..  for me, i set the expectation that that was all they were suppose to nurse.. if they asked when the baby was nursing i told them that babies can't eat food so they have to eat milk all the time, you only have milk at night night time (or something like that) would you like a snack, do you want to read a book etc. my kids accepted this.  my newest baby is 15 months old, my 3.5 yr old DS still occasionally asks for milk when he sees me nursing DD even though i have  never let him nurse during the day since i was about 5 months pregnant.  he just asks to see what i'll say and i say 'later it will be your turn' .. 

 

as for negativity from family/friends - don't talk about it and they will assume you weaned and leave you alone - as for DH i would tell him not to say that dd can't have milk when the baby comes - explain to him that could cause more problems then it solves.. making her think that you're going to suddenly take away the milk could make her panic and make her jealous.. i found that both my older kids asked to nurse a lot more when they thought i was trying to push weaning or cutting back ..  so now i don't tell them what i'm doing  beyond what is necessary - i explain that babeis need a lot of milk and i distract , i don't explain that they don't need it  kwim?


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#3 of 8 Old 12-21-2011, 08:00 AM
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Tandem nursing can certainly be done successfully and I believe that is the sort of advice bluedaisy is asking for. Anyone have advice for her that is supportive of tandem nursing and can help her through the things that are concerning her?


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#4 of 8 Old 12-21-2011, 08:40 AM
 
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When I got pregnant with DD2 I thought maybe DD1 would wean during the pregnancy, but although my milk totally dried up she continued to nurse and clearly didn't want to wean.  I did nightwean her during the pregnancy because my nipples were so sensitive and her nightnursing was really waking me up at night when it didn't used to and I was feeling very sleep-deprived.  In any case my girls were only 2 yrs apart but I decided to go with DD1's natural inclinations and not push weaning on her.  She did nurse more when DD2 was born and my milk came back in, but I always just let DD2 nurse first.  I actually think letting her continue to nurse helped mitigate any potential jealousy at DD2's birth, and I was glad I let DD1 continue because she ended up nursing for 2 more years!  I didn't nurse her a lot in public so I didn't really deal with too much negativity; I let her nurse more frequently at home.  Honestly for me it turned out that tandem nursing wasn't as hard as I was expecting, and truthfully the nipple sensitivity/irritation of nursing during pregnancy was more of a bother for me than was tandem nursing.  Good luck to you!


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#5 of 8 Old 01-01-2012, 12:02 PM
 
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My daughter was 23 months when my son was born. They are now 2 and 3 months.

 

Like all aspects of parenting, tandem nursing seems to work on the "higher the highs, the lower the lows" principle. Yes, it is danged hard work. If I don't eat enough calories during the day, I become ravenous at about 6:30 in the evening as my body prepares for the evening milk delivery. Sometimes, I feel like telling the toddler to grow up and eat her oatmeal, for crying out loud.

 

But, the good times are extra good. It will make your tired little heart sing songs of joy when you see your toddler hold hands with the baby while they both nurse. When you see that some of the infant's first smiles are aimed at the older sibling.

 

It's not all sunshine and rainbows, but there are indeed rainbows after the rain. I had no idea tandem nursing would be this hard, but I'm glad we're still nursing.

 

As far as limits go, I had others distract my daughter when I needed a little more space for the constantly nursing newborn. When she couldn't be distracted, we had milk. As time went on, we talked about how there are different ways of sharing milk; sometimes we share by taking turns and sometimes we share by having milk at the same time. Generally, mama decides how we will share milk at a given time (Is naptime nursing coming up soon anyway? Am I in a comfortable chair for tandem nursing?).

 

Toddler nursing is a great teaching tool; the little one is learning to balance his/her own needs with the needs of others (mama, little sibling, etc.). The thing you have to remember is that the toddler is only just learning these things, and it rarely goes smoothly. But I do think that breastfeeding allows a safe place for the toddler to learn these lessons.

 

Welcome to the adventure!

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#6 of 8 Old 01-01-2012, 05:24 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Mum2sara- thanks for sharing your experience, it was encouraging!  DD is still nursing with no signs of being ready to wean, and she has offered to nurse the baby herself so she can continue nursing from my breasts!  At this point I am planning to just have them nurse one at a time and I've been talking to DD about how the baby will need to nurse all the time and how I'll have so much milk again, and she can keep nursing at night and in the morning but she doesnt need to nurse all the time like the baby will be.  I'm hoping she'll be responsive to limits once the baby arrives and that a few nursing sessions will be enough for her. 

 

Lampeter - I remember being so hungry all the time when I was just nursing DD - I ate so much food but kept losing weight.  I'll have to make sure to keep my kitchen stocked with quick and easy foods to keep my supply up.  I had a major oversupply with DD and leaked until she was 10 months old so I don't anticipate having any supply issues with 2 nurslings.  I'm glad tandem has worked out for you even though it's been challenging.  Since my dd is a little older than your toddler was when the baby arrived, I am hoping she will be better able to understand limits but I'm also nervous about that.  She has been in a very clingy "mama phase" for the past few months and I'm not sure how she will feel about the baby nursing constantly and her only getting to nurse a few times a day.  At this point though I really don't want to go back to nursing her 8 or more times a day so we'll see what happens.

 

I'm only a month away from my due date so it looks like I'll definitely be tandem nursing, which I wasn't really expecting but I do feel it's what is best for DD and I think jealousy issues would be even worse if I tried to wean her at this point


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#7 of 8 Old 01-20-2012, 11:24 AM
 
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I am tandem nursing a 3 yr old an an 8 month old.  My older daughter actually went through a clingy phase just before the baby was born.  We never had issues with it though.  I think she just needed to know that even though changes were happening that she still had her mommy.  Once the baby was here she didnt get pushed aside in any manner so she just resumed business as usual.

 

Before having the baby I thought I'd tandem to save on time but found it to be awkward. Most of the time the older one would be ok with waiting if I asked her to.  Sometimes I'd point at the breast the baby wasnt nursing from and tell her that once the baby was done that this breast would be all hers.

 

My biggest challenge with tandem nursing was to eat enough and keep hydrated.  I would be drinking water and thinking that I was doing pretty OK only to get a dehydration headache.  After nursing for such a long time I dont get as thirsty as one does with a newborn so I would also forget to drink often. I also at some point started telling older daughter that she could nurse after I had eaten/drank. I explained to her that i need to eat/drink so I can make milk.  She accepts that most of the time.  Another challenge is that I think that some times she'd like to nurse about as much as her sister. I cant do that because she will literally suck me dry leaving me feeling quite bad physically. We seem to have gotten into some kind of balance with her nursing 3-4x most days.


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#8 of 8 Old 01-27-2012, 03:35 PM
 
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........


Me (27) DH (30)...9 Years

DD (7) ~ DD (4) ~ DS (3)

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Babies in Heaven...angel.gif 9/04 angel.gif 2/05 angel.gif 3/11 angel.gif 4/11 angel.gif 6/11 angel.gif 11/11 angel.gif 2/12 (along with my tube greensad.gif )

 

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