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I. Do you have any experience with nursing while pregnant or tandem nursing? Is it really feasible? How did you manage to nurse two (or more!) children at a time? What kind of schedule was the older child on? Any advice for someone considering it?




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This article is from the Breastfeeding Past the First Year FAQ, by Kim Smith with numerous contributions by others.

I. Do you have any experience with nursing while pregnant or tandem nursing? Is it really feasible? How did you manage to nurse two (or more!) children at a time? What kind of schedule was the older child on? Any advice for someone considering it?


Heather Madrone <madrone@cruzio.santa-cruz.ca.us>:

I nursed my 3.5 year old for the first four months of my pregnancy, but I
weaned her because I was threatening miscarriage. Frankly, I didn't enjoy
nursing when pregnant. I'd get this creepy-crawly sensation and feel antsy
and impatient. If I had a very young child, I would try to nurse through a
pregnancy if it caused no problems.

This seems to be very individual. I know a few people who have tandem nursed
and their older babies have been young (11 - 18 mos). My advice would be
"follow your heart".
____________________________________________________________________________
Bonita Kale <bf455@cleveland.Freenet.Edu>:

When I got pregnant with my third, I made my second (age 2 1/2) stop
nursing, just because I felt so rotten. So I haven't really done it.
_____________________________________________________________________________
Carolyn Olive <olive@esmlsun.gatech.edu>:

I became pregnant with Nick when Ben was 19 months old and still nursing
many times a day. Ben tapered off gradually, and by his second birthday
he was down to 3 or 4 nursings a week. There was no milk, and he did it
just for comfort, for a minute or two at a time. Milk started returning
about a month before Nick was born, and Ben stepped up to daily nursings.
I never had any pain or difficulty nursing while pregnant.
When Nick was born, and the milk really came in, (and the sibling rivalry
with it) Ben started increasing his nursing demands. By the time Nick was
2 weeks old, Ben (then 28 months old) wanted to nurse every time Nick did,
and sometimes in between. We even went through a brief phase where Nick
slept through the night and Ben woke up to nurse. I finally decided this
was too much and gave Ben bottles of milk at night instead. I never had any
supply problems, but after a few months I started to feel resentful of the
constant demands on me. I gradually cut Ben's nursing back to 3 times a
day, morning, after school and bed time. When Ben was 3.5, I told him he
could nurse once a day, and left the choice of time up to him. When Ben was
4, I told him he was too big to nurse anymore and we stopped.
Throughout this time Nick nursed on demand. Ben usually nursed at the
same time, one on each side. It was incredibly cute to see them both
nursing away and looking into each others faces and stroking each others
heads. (Although sometimes they would be jockeying for the best position
and hitting and we would have to stop). Ben would always get as close as
he could when Nick nursed, even if he wasn't nursing himself. He still
does, as a matter of fact.
I think the tandem nursing helped to create a special bond between them.
They get along quite well. It certainly helped me to meet Ben's emotional
needs once Nick was born, although things might have been easier if Ben
had weaned himself before Nick came. I had thought the problems of
resentment I had when Ben kept nursing past 2.5 and 3 were due to the
tandem nursing, but now that Nick is 32 months old and still nursing 5-6
times a day (and screaming for nonny whenever he gets upset as his main
form of tantrumizing) I have the same feelings that this has gone on long
enough and we need to start cutting back. So I guess the problems I had
were more due to my impatience with the duration of nursing than to the
tandem part. I guess my main advice would be
1: be prepared for the older child to regress to an infant's schedule,
2: be prepared for mixed feeling on your part.
The book "Mothering Your Nursing Toddler" by Norma Jane Bumgardner has
a chapter on tandem nursing that covers the pros AND cons pretty well.
___________________________________________________________________________
Karen Plomp <karen@ankh-morpork.hacktic.nl>:

Cees was 1yo when I became pregnant again. He still was enjoying the nursing
sessions, so I just let him decide whether to wean or not. He didn't wean, so
I nursed him my whole pregnancy. The biggest problem were the sore nipples I
got from about 10 weeks pregnant till the end. That was the reason I tried to
restrict his nursings to one when awakening and one when he went to sleep
(for naps and for nighttime). One of the advantages was that I always could
go to bed with him in the middle of the day and nurse him, and we would both
blissfully fall asleep. So I could get some rest.

I think nursing during pregnancy didn't differ much from nursing when not
pregnant (only the sore nipples :-( The supply was much less, but Cees didn't
mind. I think he enjoys the feeling nursing gives him and the special time
with mommy, whether there is milk coming or not. But he was very happy to
have the real milk back when Tim was born.

Tim is only 4 weeks old, so we are still trying to settle into a new
arrangement. I tried once to put them both at one time to the breast, but
that was not a success. I couldn't get Tim to latch on again when he loosed
the nipple, since I used that arm to hold Cees. But I think it will go better
when Tim is somewhat older.

Cees (22mo) is now nursing when he awakens at about 6:00am (and then goes to
sleep again) and at about 8:00am. Then some time during the day (around
2:00pm) and when he is going to sleep (about 7:00pm). But we are still
working things out, since he would like to nurse more often. Since Tim was
born he also sometimes awakens for a nighttime nursing, but luckily that has
happened not too often.

Most of the time Cees is not having problems seeing Tim nursing, but
sometimes he will come and whine: 'Cees bed. Cees breast. Tim breast not.' I
then tell him he will also be allowed to nurse when we are going to bed, but
he has to wait for that since first we are going to [....] (eat, shop, ...)
And sometimes during the night he will have problems waiting for Tim to
finish. Not always. I hope he will get used to the waiting soon, otherwise it
will be solved when I am able to nurse them both at one time.

When I was pregnant I talked a lot about the new baby to him. I also kept
telling him that the new baby also would get mommy's breast. I think this
helped him accept the situation better. When he first saw his new brother he
already told me that Tim should get the breast. So it wasn't useless to tell
it to him for a thousand times :-)

 

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