Breastfeeding through pregnancy:
When I first realized I was pregnant with my third child, I made a decision to continue nursing my five month old son throughout my pregnancy. I was hoping to continue to keep my milk supply up so that I could eventually nurse both of them. After my son was born I set goals for myself. I planned on nursing him until one year of age and after that point if I was still nursing I would set my next goal to two years and so on. However, because I became pregnant I knew I would have to take it one day at a time and set mini goals for myself. I knew if I made it to one day, one week, one month and so on, I would eventually reach my goal, but if I did not place expectations I would not be disappointed if my milk supply dropped and my son weaned himself.
For eleven years now, I regret not continuing to breastfeed my first child longer than two weeks. I was a young mother with not only latch issues but little support from friends and family. This time, when my second son was born, I not only wanted to prove to myself that I can do this, I wanted to provide my baby with the most natural and safest thing for his tiny body. Over the years, I heard so many positive benefits for mother and child while breastfeeding along with an instant bond that is shared.
My second son was born tongue tied and had latch issues. I continued to nurse with a nipple shield and met with a lactation specialist. After continuous latch issues and nipple tenderness, we made a visit to see the pediatrician in regards to being tongue tied. The only way I would ever be able to breastfeed my son was to have a small procedure done to correct his tongue tie. We knew this would also prevent speech issues down the road. It was a very quick procedure done in the pediatrician’s office where the frenulum is cut so that the tongue is able to extend further out. Afterwards I nursed and his latch was perfect.
As I struggled at times to keep my milk supply up during my pregnancy, I was still producing enough milk to keep my son interested. I had some nipple discomfort at times but nothing like the pain of a first time mom nursing a newborn. I made sure that I ate my oatmeal every morning for breakfast, drank lots of water and drank Mother’s Milk tea when my supply dropped towards the end of my pregnancy. Also, with the help of friends I had some breast milk donated to me to supplement in a bottle for night time feeding when my milk supply dropped dramatically in the very end of my pregnancy.
Why I love Tandem Nursing:
Today I am nursing a one month old who has been gaining a pound every two weeks and a 16-month-old toddler that has been plumping up. While waiting three days for my milk supply to come in, it started with waking up to painful engorgement in my breast. My newborn could hardly latch on and when he did, the milk flow was so strong that he would choke and spit up frequently. This is when I realized I needed my toddler to drain most of the milk since I had such a quick let down and allow the milk to flow slowly before latching my newborn to my breast. First thing in the morning I would nurse my toddler and the choking and spitting up was immediately resolved.
Having a toddler is exhausting and the one thing that works is redirection and distraction. Tantrums, climbing and getting into things – just to name a few – are avoided in my home by being able to have some down time to nurse both of my babies. This has helped me on numerous occasions.
In the beginning my toddler was extremely jealous of the new baby. After all he was the only baby in the house and was accustomed to getting all of the attention. Eventually, I would feed them at the same time and I watched for the first time, my toddler grab his baby brother’s hand. My heart melted. I have heard stories of sibling rivalry being reduced due to tandem nursing but I never understood it until that moment when my babies were close to me and close with one another. I’m enjoying this bonding experience with both of my nurslings and don’t plan on weaning anytime soon.