Judgment-Free Breastfeeding

My Adventures In Tandem Nursing

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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?

About Shannon Stubbs

I am mommy to Maggie, my very entertaining almost 2 year old, and Charlie, my brand new little man. I work from home as a real estate agent and take the kids with me on appointments. In my free time....okay, not free, I make the time, to blog about life, my amazing little ones and our family life. I enjoy reviewing products and giveaways on my blog. I am a very laid back mama who finds entertainment just about everywhere. The only time I am away from my babies is when I play softball once a week during the summer. Blogging is my main interaction with the adult world some days.


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Booshee says:

I’m glad I found your blog. Great story on tandem nursing. I’m tandem nursing to my 3yos son and 9mos daughter too. (During pregnancy, I still nursing my son.) They will most of the times, nursing together especially during nap time and night time before sleep. Feel free to visit my blog sayangmomdad.blogspot.com

Shannon Stubbs says:

Thanks for sharing your experience too!

Hi! I love your story, it is exactly how I feel! My son will be 16 months when our next is born next month. My only fear is that I have to have a c/s, and I’m wondering how I’m gonna be able to literally position them around my belly while its healing.

I hope it works out for you. I wonder if using a nursing pillow to keep them from pressing on your stomach would work. Good luck and I hope your delivery goes well – congratulations!

Cj says:

SO happy to find a similar tandem nursing mom :-) i have a 3 week old son and 18 month old daughter. Similar experiences as you have had..my daughter LOVES her brother and there is no jealousy at all. SHe also says “boob boob” when she is ready to eat. She loves covering her brother with a blanket when he is nursing. The whole experience has been amazing to say the least ;-D However i was wondering about tandem nursing when one gets sick? I was wondering, when your oldest got sick, did you still nurse both children? You said you night weened her, but still nursed her during the day. Is a sickness contagious thru our breasts/breastmilk? Thank you so much for your blog, your insight and help!!!
Blessings,
Cj

CJ – The experience really is incredible! When Maggie got sick, I did still nurse them both. We just got over nasty colds a few weeks ago, and while she was feeling icky, she was actually nursing more. I figured it could only help her immune system and her comfort. I did *try* to use a wet wipe to wash my breasts before and after she would nurse. I figure that they are sharing germs if they both nurse – I look at it as if they were sharing a spoon or cup or something. I reallly should try to do that all the time, but the reality is, I forget most of the time. I don’t think the sickness is contagious through our breastmilk itself, but through our breasts they are sharing the germs. Plus, I figure it can’t hurt to just clean them anyways to help protect the little guy.
I hope this helps! Thank you so much for reading and congrats on your little guy! Now when I watch them play, I think he enjoys it as much as she does now!

Randi levinson says:

I am so relieved to hear your experience. I have a nursing 22 month old and 5 months pregnant. We will be tandem nursing and your story has helped me not be so nervous. However, my question is- how did you get your daughter to sleep without nursing? My son can only fall asleep during naps and nighttime while nursing.

Randi – When I decided to night wean her, it was mostly on accident. She ended up with a really bad cold over Christmas and needed some extra water at night. I began giving her a sippy to help with the sore throat and then when she was better, we continued doing that. When she woke up and asked to nurse, I gave her her sippy. That helped most of the time. She did still nurse at night sometimes, but not too often. Now she still wants to if she isn’t feeling well. At nap time, she generally sleeps on the couch next to me, and I would tell her just hold on a minute, sit and snuggle. Most of the time, that seemed to work. That part of weaning her was pretty easy for us, I know we are lucky there. She still doesn’t like going to bed without nursing, but some days she will. I hope you have a wonderful experience tandem nursing your little ones!
~Shannon

Laura says:

Sounds like an awesome experience! I haven’t had the chance to tandem nurse, but someday I hope to!

Laura – Thank you for reading! I hope you get the opportunity to tandem nurse!