Breastfeeding 101: Tandem Nursing

Breastfeeding 101: Tips and Tools to help you Succeed! #breastfeed #nursing
Written by my contributing writer, Rachel

When we learned we were pregnant with our second child, my daughter had just turned 1 year old and was still nursing strong. She showed absolutely no signs of letting up on nursing. At my La Leche League (LLL) meetings, I had heard about tandem nursing and that women could breastfeed two children (and sometimes more!) at the same time, but I didn’t know if that would work for me.

I could not imagine nursing a toddler and needy newborn at the same time. I would NEVER get anything done.  Nursing TWO children would be a lot of work, time-consuming, and a bit of a juggling act. However, I was not ready to end my nursing relationship with my daughter.

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I decided to talk with other tandem nursing moms through my Facebook LLL group, and I read several LLL articles on the subject. I also bought Adventures In Tandem Nursing by Hilary Flower – such a great resource!

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Just like deciding whether or not to nurse is YOUR decision and no one else’s, so is deciding to tandem nurse.

Here are the reasons I decided to tandem nurse:

1. I Wasn’t Ready to Stop
My daughter and I were not ready to end our nursing relationship. She has been an on demand nursling since birth. Even now at 26 months, she would nurse all day long, if I let her! I try to limit her to one morning, one noon, and one night nursing session with a few times in between if she is in need of some calming mommy time. It is amazing how nursing can change her attitude – a lifesaver for those terrible two tantrum moments!

2. Continued Health Benefits
I wanted to give my daughter the health benefits of extended nursing to two years. In mainstream media, the idea of nursing past the 1 year mark seems absurd. However, the World Health Organization recommends nursing to 2, if desirable for both you and your nursling. Your toddler is still receiving wonderful health and emotional benefits by doing so – and so are you!

3. Sibling Bonding
This has been one of the most amazing benefits of tandem nursing for me. Getting to witness the bond develop between my daughter and newborn son is beautiful. They gaze lovingly and inquisitively at each other while nursing, she helps him out by squeezing my breast and expressing more milk for him, and she strokes his hair while they both nurse. These are precious moments that I will hold dear for a long time.

Ben and Meah bonding

Though it can be time-consuming and demanding, I find that tandem nursing has been worth the effort and has been a good decision for myself and my little ones.

I’d love to hear your nursing stories! Maybe you are currently pregnant and considering tandem nursing now, or have tandem nursed before. What effect has tandem nursing had on you?

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2 Responses to “Breastfeeding 101: Tandem Nursing”

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  1. Maribeth says:

    I was still nursing #1 son when pregnant with #2 son. (My OB/GYN wanted me to stop and filled my head with scary stories & statistics about miscarriage.) My boys successfully tandem nursed until my oldest had an allergic reaction to medication I was taking. He was cut off cold turkey (and not a bit happy about it) when he was 2.

    I continued to nurse #2 throughout my next pregnancy. He weaned himself just before turning 2.

    Tandem nursing my two oldest boys helped prepare me for the awesome blessing of tandem nursing my twins! I think I would have been too doubtful to even attempt to tandem nurse twins. However, I was “a pro” and confident in my abilities. My twins were 100% breastfed & I’m incredibly proud of our accomplishment! It took a lot of work & determination to keep pushing away those free cans of formula everyone dumped at me! :)

    • Sandra says:

      Hi Maribeth! I also breastfeed one son while pregnant with the other. :) When I was pregnant with David, I nursed Isaac all the way through my pregnancy. Then I tandem nursed for a brief period of time after David was born and until Isaac abruptly stopped nursing on his own. He was 2 years old.

      I know you tandem nursed your twins, and you are ONE AMAZING WOMAN! You’re an inspiration, friend!

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