Are you pregnant and trying to decide whether to continue breastfeeding? Here is my journey so far.
In the beginning of October 2011, my daughter turned 1. A few weeks later, we found out we were pregnant. Right away, the comments and questions started….you have to quit nursing Maggie, you can’t nurse when you are pregnant. Or, what are you going to do when you have a 3rd kid, grow another boob? They will fight over your boobs….and tons of other things. I love the people saying these things very much, but really, I have thought about this, I have tons of support, and I know what I am getting myself into. This continued throughout the pregnancy and beyond.
To be honest, when people asked what I was going to do, I mostly felt I had to defend what I was doing. I had no clue how I was going to move forward with her nursing. There were times when I had to cut her off because I was so tender from the pregnancy that it hurt when she nursed. I thought about weaning her. Then I realized that I didn’t want to make her stop. Why should she be forced to miss out on something that is really important to her because of the baby? I loved those moments holding her while she nursed. It is really important to her and I both. At the end of the pregnancy, I would take a bath with her to help ease my discomfort. I had to wear a shirt or a bra in the tub otherwise she would attack me to nurse. This girl would do a happy dance when I got out of the shower because she could see my boobs. Does weaning her sound like something I want to take on? No. I live by the motto that it is only a problem if it is a problem for your family, and nursing her wasn’t a problem. Would we continue after the baby was born? Who knew, but we would find out.
I had a lot of support from our local La Leche League, and one of our mommy friends there was just beginning tandem nursing, so if I had questions, there was somebody right there I could turn to. With a mix of criticism and support, we went with what felt right for us. Our daughter would continue nursing.
I won’t lie, I was a little nervous. When Charlie was born a few weeks ago, Maggie was 20 months, and she LOVES to nurse. Maybe this is horrible, but if I really need to get her to cooperate or do something, I bribe her with it. That is how powerful it is. It’s like an extra treat for her then.
She had never been away from me overnight, but was going to be while I was in the hospital. She has gone to bed many times without nursing, so I wasn’t overly concerned, but I was going to miss it. She visited a bunch and was there for quite awhile on the day we would be going home. That was the only time I have seen her get really jealous. She missed mommy and somebody else was using her comfort system. She hadn’t napped in a few days and was a very tired girl. We snuggled up He nursed, she nursed on the other side, and they both went to sleep touching each other in my arms. Best mommy moment ever!
Since we have been home, it’s only gotten better. She only gets jealous if she is tired. She loves her brother so much and loves to be near him. She starting nursing at nap time again, so I have a baby on each side, but she has to be touching him the entire time. I know people have fears or misconceptions about jealousy or hatred from an older sibling when the baby arrives, but it really has been quite the opposite for us. Now, Maggie walks around and says, “Boob, boob, Charlie, eat, eat, eat” when she decides it is time for him to eat.
As for now, I am happy to let her continue nursing. I love that feeling of pride that I get knowing I can provide something that is so important to my babies. Tandem nursing my babies has been a wonderful experience that gives us the chance to snuggle up all together (which usually results in a nap for all 3 of us). I want five kids, and if Charlie chooses to still be nursing when that baby arrives, we will do it again and again and again.
Do you tandem nurse your kids? Did you? What was the biggest challenge you faced or did it go smoothly for you?