Day Fourteen | Sara's Journey | Tandem Nursing in Colorado
Tandem nursing was something that happened naturally. I had never known anyone who had breastfed before, so with my first I decided to give it a try - I never thought we would make it as long as we have!
As I mentioned, I had never met anyone who had breastfed before, so it was a completely foreign idea to me. I learned about it in my birthing class, and after hearing all the benefits I thought I would give it a try. I really struggled in the beginning with my first. It was much more painful than I had anticipated - it got to a point in the hospital where I would cry every time she latched on because of the pain. But I loved the bond it was building between us, so we worked through the initial challenges and pain. We corrected the issues mostly using a nipple shield and then popping her off to re-latch as often as it took.
I’m so glad that we kept going! Mainly I have my loving husband to thank in the beginning. He wasn’t knowledgeable about breastfeeding at all in the beginning either but he was always supportive of our breastfeeding journey. Anytime I felt like giving up, he reassured me that I could do it.
I got pregnant with my second baby when my first was just 8 months old, and she was nowhere near ready to wean. My milk supply almost dried up within a couple of months of being pregnant, but my first still nursed around the clock for comfort. Since she loved it so much - and there wasn’t a huge reason to - there was no way I could bring myself to wean her. It was my thought that with all the big changes coming letting her nurse would help her cope better. Plus, it would help the girls bond.
Nursing together has helped them bond immensely! I did my first tandem feed the day my second baby was born, so that my toddler could join without feeling left out. She was so excited to be nursing the same time as her little sister. There was never any jealously between the two, and I think tandem nursing helped with that, especially in the beginning as we were transitioning to life as a family of four.
I love the bonding that the three of us have while tandem nursing. When my youngest was still a baby, my oldest would do such sweet things while they nursed together. Different things like stroke her head, or hold her hand. I must say, as they both grow older, it has been more interesting to nurse then together. As they are both more active, it is a lot harder to get them both to focus and share. But the only thing I dislike about tandem nursing is sometimes I can feel ‘touched out’.
Nursing two takes a little more planning- and a lot more eating and drinking on my end. It is mostly important that I make sure my baby gets as much milk as she needs before my toddler nurses. But to have enough for both of them without completely draining my own nutrients, I really have to make sure I am eating and drinking enough to sustain my supply.
Honestly, I still need to work on eating and drinking enough. It can be difficult to remember at times with the girls. I try to surround myself with liquids to remind myself to drink. My goal is to drink half my body weight in ounces of water per day. That may not sound like a lot, but it is a lot more difficult to do when you are chasing two kiddos around. It is simply easy to forget to drink anything.
The best advice I have for other moms would be to just keep trying! It can seem overwhelming in the beginning, and it can be easy to want to give up - but you can do it. Make sure to be eating and drinking enough from the get go, starting that routine early will help immensely. It can be hard and painful at first, but that soon fades away and gets so much easier.
Are you a tandem nurser too or are you thinking about tandem nursing? We would love to have your comments or questions below. If you would like to share your own story or even just have a private session for yourself, contact me and we can start to plan all of the details.