I really hope some of you who have BTDT can pass some advice along. I am tandem nursing my 26 month old and his 3 week old brother. There are moments when I love it, but they are fleeting. My problems are emotional rather than technical.
I cringe whenever DS1 asks (often whines) to nurse. I try to distract him when I really feel I can't handle it, but it usually leads to him breaking down, especially in the morning and through the night. This leads to me "caving" and feeling like I have no choice but to nurse him. Often I can't even look at him while I nurse, and I have to hold his hands because I can't stand to be touched. Today has been a real struggle for me. Each time he asks to nurse I feel like lashing out physically. I've never felt like that before. Admittedly, I'm pretty tired today so that could be having an effect.
I don't want our nursing relationship to be so negative. Today I am seriously considering weaning him, even though it's obvious he has an intense need to nurse. Other days I think I should just suck it up and wait it out, but my feelings of resent (all around) are becoming hard to handle. Sometimes I regret having another baby before he weaned, and I mourn our time alone together. I want to move past this but I don't know how. I wonder how so many women continue to nurse two, when they admittedly don't like it. How do you keep it positive and loving? Or did you make the decision to wean? How did that go? I can imagine it being a nightmare, as the tactics I'm using now are essentially a part of gradual, mama-led weaning.
I would be so grateful for any advice or shared experience you might be able to offer.
Thanks for reading,
Are you still nursing your older one at night? That might be one area you could regain back some sleep time and energy. I find when I was tired my ability to tandem nurse was low and I got frustrated easily. When I feel good and rested it is much easier.
Some days I feel like the mama pig on the farm that kicks away the little ones because she has just had enough (I limit nursing when I feel like that). Most days I love it though.
Try to get as much sleep as you can. Hard I know with two little ones. And be kind to yourself. It will all work out.
So so sorry mama. That sounds tough. I don't know if you can have him only nurse certain times? When I had DD2, DD1 was 26 months old and pretty much had free reign of nursing (not at night though), it drove me crazy, I felt like I was going to lose it. I had to get her to only nurse morning, nap and night, and if she was particularly sad about something, but it was really just 3 times a day. It made it so much better and we continued nursing till she was 38 months. I am now tandem nursing DD2 and DS, but I had her down to 3 nursings a day before he was born and we just continued with that. These first few months are so tough transitioning to a larger family. Good luck mama.
SAHM to Chloe«- 6/2008 (10 lbs, 5 oz), Hannah- 9/2010 (9 lbs, 12 oz), Liam- 2/2013 (9 lbs, 6 oz)
Springshowers, DS1 is still nursing at night. I had weaned him at night before the babe was born, but he's started again. I would like to get back to him sleeping through, but I don't see it happening now. I do find that when I don't limit him much, it's an easier day for everyone. He actually seems to nurse less overall. I just need to find ways to work through my own discomfort. That's so great that you're still nursing both. It's very encouraging for me!
Chloesmama, did you find your older nursling's need increased with new baby? And when you cut DD1's nursings down, how did you do it? How long did it take? Was it difficult?
I'm feeling better about things today, and I do want to keep nursing DS1 for as long as he needs it. There just might have to be a bit of compromise in there!
Glad it went better yesterday. I did find that DD1's nursing really picked up when DD2 was born, like asking ALL THE TIME. She was probably down to nursing 4-5 times a day before DD2 was born, then she was trying to nurse constantly....after a few weeks, I had to just tell her that she could nurse at certain times. She had a complete meltdown for a few days and then I let her nurse whenever she wanted again and then another few weeks later (perhaps when DD2 was 2-3 months) I had to cut her back down to 3 times a day. It didn't go super smooth, but not as bad as the first time. It was about 2-3 weeks until she was ok with the new set up..... it was not a kicking, screaming fight all the time, but sometimes.
All of these above reasons were why I had night weaned DD2 and had her already on a 3 times a day nursing schedule before DS was born..... It has not been completely smooth, but so much better than with DD1. I know that isn't helpful for you right now, but perhaps if another mama comes looking for these same answers before having #2.
Some kids do better with no restrictions, some do better with..... hopefully you guys can figure it out and all be happy.
SAHM to Chloe«- 6/2008 (10 lbs, 5 oz), Hannah- 9/2010 (9 lbs, 12 oz), Liam- 2/2013 (9 lbs, 6 oz)
I'm tandem nursing my boys, who are now 1 and almost 3. My older was 20 months, night weaned and down to 4-5 nursings a day when the baby came, and we have yet to get back there... For the first few weeks he wanted to nurse at least as often as the baby, especially at night--which has definitely been the hardest for me. My older so passionately needs nursing, he definitely does best when I can let him nurse as often as possible (the "possible" bit varies from day to day...); again, especially at night. I do make him wait for his brother to finish before he can nurse at night, as simultaneous nursing is both uncomfortable and emotionally too much for me at night. It has gotten so much better, though! I would say the first six months were by far the toughest. We're finally getting the part where they'll hold hands (or, you know, pull each other's hair...) :) For me it's mainly been giving myself and my boys grace to learn this new skill of tandem nursing, and making the decision moment by moment to have a good attitude about it and love my boys well even when it's extremely hard--definitely an ongoing lesson. I hope things improve for you!
My DD was 24 months when her brother was born, and I had a hard time too. She was grabby and demanding, and even though I hadn't noticed it before I had a newborn, her latch seemed messed up. Her nursing ramped up in a huge way after her brother was born, and I think she would have nursed exclusively had I let her. I found that once I set some limits with her I became much, much happier and less resentful....only first thing in the morning, before lunch, mid-afternoon when she was tired, and before bed. I felt bad at first, but it was so worth it. She was very verbal and I just told her that boobies needed to rest, but made sure that we cuddled or read a book so that she still got the closeness/mama time even though she wasn't nursing. I ended up weaning her when she was ~32 months because I developed some pretty awful aversions, but until that time we had a pretty good tandem nursing relationship once she was no longer nursing on-demand.
Good luck, and be gentle with yourself in setting the limits you need. Some of the best guidance I've gotten from mamas in this forum is that a mama-child nursing relationship is a relationship....making changes to make it work for both mama and child is key to it being beneficial to both.
Mama to F (3/09) and S (3/11); and never forgetting my babe gone too soon (4/10).
Crayfishgirl, that is excellent advice! I've been keeping that in mind since I read it. Thanks so much for sharing your experience.
Just wanted to chime in that those first few months are HARD while everyone is adjusting. I just have a couple of quick thoughts - for my DS (2.5 when baby was born) having a song to sing to signal the end of a nursing session was huge - it gave him time to transition. Also, having certain times that he could depend on to nurse. I tried just letting him go whenever, but sometimes it would be too much for me...and it was too much for him to not know what to expect in terms of me letting him. We were never really scheduled, and even now it's more routine than schedule....so he can nurse when we wake up, but not again until after breakfast and coffee. And instead of saying "soon" or "later" having a definite event worked better, even if the event wasn't necessarily close (like he would want to nurse after lunch, and I can say "not until after supper".) he doesn't always like it, but he feels more secure having a definite time to look forward too.
The night time stuff stinks, but it will work itself out. Once older DC learns the routine and that you will tend to him, it will get easier. Now when DD is fussy at night (since about 4.5 months old) and DS wants to nurse, he knows he has to wait. Sometimes he just rolls over and goes back to sleep on his own. Anyway, it won't be too much longer before things calm down. Just make sure that you are getting as much rest as you can and plenty of food and water - it's amazing how much your body needs to nourish you and both your kids. And remember like a PP mentioned - it is a relationship, so setting boundaries is important so that you can enjoy it too! Good luck and remember it WILL get easier! My Ds is almost three and DD is 5 months and we have a really good thing going now....so long as I eat a ton!
Mommy to DS born 11-10-10 And DD born 6-3-13
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