I need help....tandem nursing struggles - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 8 Old 03-26-2013, 06:08 AM - Thread Starter
 
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I have a week old little boy and am still nursing my 27 month old daughter.  I am getting so frustrated and emotional because she is not dealing well with the baby nursing.  This morning she FREAKED out when I had to nurse him first and she had to wait.  She only nurses first thing in the morning, nap time and bedtime...

I don't know how to make the situation better.  Most times during the rest of the day she is able to handle it and is okay, but there are times when she is beside herself so upset.  She cries, then I cry...and it is just not fun.  She also has hit the baby a couple of times, and I don't know if that is normal for a sibling or if it has to do with the nursing jealousy.  She will ask me if daddy can hold the baby longer because she wants to nurse.  Otherwise she is so nurturing and loves him...but the nursing issue is pretty difficult.  I am starting to feel like I should have weaned her before the baby arrived...it makes me feel so guilty...guilty for her being "pushed aside" and guilty that my baby is being "pushed aside."  When I wake up in the morning I literally have to sneak into the bathroom to even go pee before I have 2 children needing my body.  I am at my wits end.  Please please please...can anyone help me with some tips???

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#2 of 8 Old 03-26-2013, 07:43 AM
 
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Big hugs mama! I'll soon be in your shoes. I'm 22 weeks and DD will be about 27-28 months when baby comes. My one thought is, is it possible to try simultaneous nursing? Maybe grab a pillow, latch baby on in a football hold position then let DD crawl up into your lap and latch on the other side. If you can get your hands on it, the LLL book "adventures in tandem nursing" has a ton of stories of mothers going through the same issues and it presents lots of ideas to try. I think there's a section specifically on becoming the big sibling and it gives ideas to try to ease the transition.
I think the occasional hitting is probably not nursing related, there could possibly be more of that if you weaned DD and she had no access to the breast now. Maybe offering her an extra session while baby naps and have that special one on one time where she doesn't have to wait or share each day may make her more accepting to wait her turn. You sound touched out and in need of a break. Is it possible for you to leave and have a coffee with a friend for half hour to an hour? It's such a small thing but can help in such a big way. I'm sorry I don't have BTDT advice yet but wanted to reach out to you with encouragement. Congratulations on your sweet baby and you're doing a wonderful thing for your older DD. The feelings of guilt are with me too since I have no milk left at all and I feel like I can't provide the immune benefit and nutrition I could before I got pregnant. Be kind to yourself; you are doing your best hug.gif
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#3 of 8 Old 03-27-2013, 03:00 PM
 
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Hugs!  Get your hands on a copy of Adventures in Tandem Nursing, as the previous poster suggested.  Know that it gets better.  I started tandem nursing 3 years ago with my now 6.5 and 3yo.  It is very occasional for my older child now, but my 3yo is still going strong.  The benefits outweighed the difficulties.  I think that's the thing to remember: your oldest will always have issues sharing you with the new one - if it's not nursing, it will be something else.  The benefit of continuing to nurse is that you do get to maintain that connection and chance to comfort in a way that is meaningful to your older one.  This is the beginning of the dance you and your children will do for the rest of your lives.  For many children, sharing nursing is the first experience of true sharing that is meaningful to them.  Know that in a few weeks you will be able to more truly tandem nurse  -nurse them both at the same time- and the times of your two children nursing and holding hands or patting each others' heads will make you smile and be oh so proud of your dedication to giving this the best shot possible.  It does get easier.  It is worthwhile.  Give it time and patience.  Remember that the baby days and weeks are time to take the very best care of yourself and get lots of help.  You need to feed yourself well and make sure you rest.  Ask for help and keep asking for it for 4-6 weeks minimum.  Good luck!  You are a very strong mama!

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#4 of 8 Old 04-05-2013, 04:54 PM
 
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I tandem nursed for a year. I never ended up having a positive tandem nursing relationship, but it did dramatically improve after 3-6 months. Can you afford a mother's helper to distract her while you nurse the baby? And it's okay to wean your oldest if you really feel at the end of your rope. You nursed your eldest for over two years: that's awesome without tandem nursing for months on top of it, if it isn't working for your family.

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#5 of 8 Old 04-06-2013, 11:45 AM
 
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I second the suggestion of nursing them at the same time if you can logistically figure out how to do it.  If you frame it as a very special bonding time for the three of you, your older child may jump right on board.  My other suggestion would be to read to her while nursing your newborn.  Tell her that the baby is too little to understand the story, not big and smart like her.  If you can engage her while nursing the little one she likely won't feel so excluded.  Most importantly, like the other super smart mommas have stated, this is just the first week.  It is *totally* normal for your older child to be out of sorts and a little unpredictable right now.  You'll all have to give each other a little wiggle room as you settle in to the new dynamic.  Best of luck and big hugs!!

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#6 of 8 Old 04-07-2013, 07:23 PM
 
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So I see this is from a few weeks ago, hope things are getting better. I also have a toddler daughter and baby boy; she was 25 months when he was born (now she's 2.5, & he's just a little over 5 months). We never had the hitting problem, though I agree with others that it probably isn't/wasn't specifically a nursing issue. But we did have a huge increase in her desire to nurse for a while.I think part of that was seeing the baby doing it, and part of it was that my milk came back after dwindling to next to nothing in the latter months of my pregnancy. Really, it felt like she wanted to nurse as often as the baby! Overwhelming, for sure. I have never had supply issues, except of the over-supply variety with her, so we did figure out ways to nurse them both together, and that helped in many ways..kept her occupied, gave us all some downtime, etc. and I'm happy to say the high frequency of her nursing didn't last too long...it all seems so long ago already, which is crazy! She still often wants to nurse, but can be delayed if need be, and sometimes I just have her nurse for a little while if I'm feeling touched out, & she can handle that pretty well. I never really had planned to nurse this long, just thought I'd play it by ear and here we are, but I have to say I'm glad I haven't weaned her yet... Some days when she's driving me nuts for other reasons or is cranky/tired/etc. it's a good way to settle her down, esp. at naptime. Developmentally, a few months makes a difference for both of them... She is better able to understand that her baby brother needs to nurse more, and his need to nurse isn't quite as instantly urgent, if that makes sense...he does more than just eat, sleep, & go to the bathroom.
So, I guess what I'm trying to say is that it gets better once you get past those crazy first weeks. Definitely make sure you're sharing the load with daddy or someone else so that you get some time to yourself, even if it's just a little while, to shower our nap or go for a walk, whatever...it really does help. And the adventures in tandem nursingbook helps in terms of offering some different ideas as well as laying out some normal/ common behaviors, issues, feelings (both in kids and adults!). I bought a used copy on Amazon for $7 or 8, which seemed a reasonable price. Good luck!
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#7 of 8 Old 04-15-2013, 04:45 PM
 
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I am tandem nursing my second "pair" (ages 3 months and 3 years old.)  My first two children (now 11 and 12) were 18 months apart.  The first 2 weeks were the most exhausting - and were also the weeks that the "displaced older sibling" had the most issues with behavior.  I usually nursed at the same time while I was either in bed or on the sofa.  It was still a struggle, but it kept things from feeling too chaotic.  As the weeks went by, my nursing toddlers resumed to their previous nursing schedule rather than demanding to be fed as often as their newborn sibling.  Try to be easy on yourself and have daddy do his fair share of the cooking and cleaning.  You stated that you're feeling guilty.  You really shouldn't be.  You are doing your best.  Nursing just one baby is hard enough. 

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#8 of 8 Old 10-26-2013, 08:05 AM
 
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Hi mamatoemily,

I just wanted to say that I know how you feel. I'm struggling with tandem nursing my 2 yo and newborn. I'm reading Adventures in Tandem Nursing, and it's very reassuring. It seems like many mamas struggle through these early days of the new nursing relationship. How are you doing now? I hope things are getting better for you.

Tara
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