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Friday, October 21, 2011

Four Months of Tandem Breastfeeding - Check In

It's been a little over four months since I said "yes" to R's request to nurse.

He's not showing any signs of stopping at two and a half!

Oh, it's a roller coaster for me. Some days I'm so grateful that I have this gift to give him and that I get these special moments of quiet with my active, non-stop talking boy. Other days I want to scream every time he asks. Oh how I cringe at just writing that! I know that he is still getting some awesome benefits both health-wise and emotionally. I am still a huge advocate for breastfeeding. But some days I am just DONE. But I'm really not sure I'm done with nursing him or just done being a parent. I don't think I'll have more patience just because he's not nursing. So we are hanging on for now.

I have felt the need to limit him a good bit more. He usually only nurses in the morning and at nap time. Though there are quite a few times he'll ask "Go to bed and nurse?" and then after nursing smile at me and jump out of bed and run downstairs to play again. A few mornings he'll forget to ask right away and ask later once we are downstairs starting our day. I usually say yes. But I have let go of the guilt (or tried to) and I have less hesitation of saying "I'm sorry Boppy, but mommy's nipples are tired right now. We'll nurse later" (Yes he calls them nipples and he is constantly asking to nurse on "the big one") (the big one can change from day to day :)

J has cut his first two teeth at five months old. Ouch.

I must have blocked out R biting because I really have no memory of it. But Daniel insists that it was a problem for a while. I have had a few bad nips lately and my reactions have been less gentle and understanding then I wanted them to be. Oh how this momma needs more patience. Today J bit down and when I unlaced him and said "Ow, that hurts Mommy" he laughed at me! I see how this is going. Oh, but his laugh is beautiful and his smiles warm my heart.

I am struggling with enjoying nursing J as much as I want. Perhaps it is the added complication of tandem nursing. Maybe it's just the novelty has worn off. Oh there are still those wonder moments and the heartbreaking sweetness of being his mother and seeing him settle into sleep clutching my finger or shirt. But then there's those "oh he's growing up moments" where I feel like I didn't really take the time to enjoy his newborn nursing. This morning he was nursing and smacking me enthusiastically on the chest... hard! Daniel was amused... and I laughed a bit too, but I got worried about trying to nurse an older baby and a toddler.

I am thankful to have perspective and to not be as overbearing about how often J "needs" to nurse. He nurses as often as he wants when I'm around. But I have taken a few 4 hour absences over the past few months and he has been content, hungry when I arrive, but content. He also has taken the bottle of expressed milk well. But with my excess lipase I try not to pump that often, it's a lot of work to scald my milk and then never really be sure how it's gonna hold up. It seems it's doing ok. But I'm lucky enough not to need a huge freezer stash.

This is where we are: Content for the moment. I do anticipate gently guiding R towards less nursing over the next 6 months. I don't know how long I will be tandem nursing, but it's going ok so far. The issues that are there seem more like my own issues as a parent and much less about breastfeeding.



  1. I loved reading this, and congrats and how far you've made it! I continuously say that i want my little one weaned before i get pregnant again, that i don't want to nurse throughout pregnancy and i don't want to tandem nurse after the next baby is born. But i don't know, if my little guy asked.. if i could turn him down! I love reading your good AND bad thoughts on it! Got sent over here from another blog for the blog hop -- i'm going to go ready some more of your blog now! ;)

  2. Do you feed them at the same time or separately?
    I remember feeling desperately bad that I wanted my older one to wean somedays, but now I'm glad he didn't. It's an excellent method for getting them to sleep at the same time. I think it's easier when they are both older, and can understand, move etc. I've been tandem feeding for 2 1/2 yrs now :)

  3. The concept of tandem nursing intimidates me, mostly because I'm afraid my supply won't keep up. Have you had any issues with that? My son is 10 months old and just cut his two bottom teeth. I have gotten nipped a few times and when I set him down and say "Ouch, that hurts Mama!" he laughs too. Little stinker. Good thing he's cute.

  4. I love how honest your posts are. I completely understand the tugging feelings you have from both sides, too. It's so hard when you feel irritable because your 2.5 year old is nursing, but then again, you might feel irritable because he's having a tantrum because he's not nursing. Baby T still asks me to nurse, and because I don't want to confuse him, I don't. But I feel awful because I have no good answer for why I don't let him nurse and it makes me feel guilty.

    @Naya - the more you nurse, the more of a supply you'll get, so tandem nursing will actually increase your supply, not diminish it. I have to say, it was great to tandem nurse during the first few weeks when my nipples were sore. I could nurse my toddler on whatever side was more sore, and it wouldn't hurt because his latch was deeper than my newborn's.

  5. @Daisieandbuggy those were my exact fears and the reason R was "weaned" for almost two months. I'm still not sure if I would have preferred nursing straight through or not. It would have been less confusing! So glad you stopped by!

  6. @pinkoddy usually I nurse them seperatly. I have found I get antsy with both of them together. Occasionally I'll truely tandem feed but not often. Congrats on 2.5yrs of tandem feeding! Has it been the same two? Thanks for your support! It's helpful to know others are out there!

  7. @Naya - Tmuffin is right; more nursing = more suppy. If anything I have an over supply. I don't think it's for everyone so follow your heart. But it has been an adventure for me! Thanks for dropping by!

  8. @Tmuffin - thank you as always for your support and encouragement. I know the day will come when I'll be done nursing R and it may be before he's ready so I'll need some pointers from you then! It's hard saying no to them isn't it? You are doing wonderfully!

  9. Hi fellow tandem mama! My kids are 3 1/2, 2 1/2, and 5 months. I nursed my first two for 15 months together, and am now nursing my second and third together. I'm not sure how long my 2 1/2 will keep nursing... she shows a few signs of not being quite as attached to it. Part of me wants to keep going, part of me doesn't... so far now she'll keep nursing. :)

    (Popped over from Femina and added you to my RSS reader!)