21 October 2014

Tandem Breastfeeding


So we're 8 months into tandem breastfeeding. Who would've thought?

After struggling with nipple sensitivity and nursing aversion during pregnancy, I was pleasantly surprised to find that it (mostly) lifted after J was born. And while he was in NICU I was immensely grateful that I was still breastfeeding A, as it meant I didn't have to be so stressed out about pumping to keep my supply up - my toddler was doing more than her part to help out in that department.

Yet, the adjustment to breastfeeding not just one, but two children was difficult at first. A was of course overjoyed at the plentiful and free flowing milk available again after J's birth. And feeling a little insecure at the new family dynamic (especially also the first two weeks while J was in NICU and everyone was a bit tense), she, understandably, wanted to breastfeed pretty much 24/7. She had a free pass probably for the first month or so, but for my own sanity I decided to put some limits in place again. She was wanting to breastfeed more frequently than my newborn which was a bit much for me to take. Kudos to moms breastfeeding multiples - I have newfound respect for you!

We soon settled back into our old routine of breastfeeding three times a day - morning, before nap and before bed. Of course when she is hurt or upset she might ask to breastfeed and I won't say no. Initially it was difficult for her to understand that she couldn't join in each time I breastfed J. But she quickly adapted and she will now often encourage J to 'drink milkies' or breastfeed her doll while I breastfeed J. 

As far as logistics go, I prefer them to take turns breastfeeding, but it doesn't always work out that way. The first two months I almost couldn't bear it when they both nursed together, it was a feeling similar to the nursing aversion I felt during pregnancy, but thankfully that has passed. I will say that I do feel a bit like a milkbar when both of them pounce on me at the same time though. 

And for those wondering, yes there is plenty of milk for both kids. In fact, A put on a kg in the first month after J was born just from all the breastmilk she was getting again. And no, she also didn't 'steal' the baby's milk - J has almost quadrupled his birth weight. As with breastfeeding a single baby, the laws of demand and supply is applicable to tandem nursing as well. The higher the demand, the more milk you make. 

How long do I intend to carry on? One day at a time. My goal is still for A to self-wean, even though I find myself gritting my teeth at times. She still needs it though. She still finds comfort in breastfeeding. So who am I to deny her that?

Have you tandem breastfed? Is it something you would consider? Tell me about it in the comments below!

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