Five reasons to try tandem breastfeeding
Photo credit to Maggie Cuprisin Photography
If you are a breastfeeder and planning to have more children, you have probably wondered how getting pregnant will affect your current breastfeeding relationship. There are mountains of misinformation being spread about breastfeeding while pregnant and tandem nursing. The reality is that for the vast majority of women it is a perfectly safe option. Once you have addressed all of your concerns by doing some research, you might still be wondering why someone would want to do that – as breastfeeding one child is hard enough! But here are a few reasons why you might want to give tandem breastfeeding a try:
1.Feel the power: All adjustments are hard, especially as a parent – it’s all so new! But even when the going gets rough we cannot deny the power of our bodies. The female body is remarkable and capable of so much more than we can ever imagine. You grew a baby in your body. You birthed the baby with your body. You nourish and comfort that baby with your body. That part you already know. But you can also grow another baby while still nourishing and comforting the first. And you can nourish both of your children at the same time. Many women even report that breastfeeding during labor helps ease the pain of contractions. You are mighty!
2.Bonding: When you grow your family you will be witness to an amount of love that you could never perceive! You, your partner, and your other children will be getting to know your new baby, and you will all be getting to know each other again as the family dynamics shift. We already know that breastfeeding is a wonderful way for families to bond. When both of your children have the opportunity to breastfeed (and to breastfeed together!) they are speaking a language to each other that no one else can fully comprehend. You can wrap your arms around all of your children feeling like this whole ordeal has finally come full circle – even if the feeling is fleeting!
3.Transition: Speaking of that fleeting feeling, there will be tough times too. A new family member is a transition no matter how excited everyone is to meet the newbie. Breastfeeding can provide much needed down time for a physically and emotionally exhausted family. Breastfeeding also provides a deep sense of security for the children. So when emotions are running high, it can help tremendously to have that sense of connection to mommy.
4.You are in control: I thought that tandem nursing was going to be an easy free-for-all. That made me feel comfortable with it because it seemed like less work. But when baby came and I needed space, it was a big struggle because I had never created nursing boundaries for my oldest. This is something that can make moms considering tandem nursing feel out of control. You can, in fact, create boundariesaround breastfeeding for your nursing child so that when the new baby comes you will be able to have more control over the nursing frequency. And more control means more sanity for you!
5.Breastmilk: Continuing nursing means more breastmilk and breastmilk brings so much goodness to a growing body. Your milk supply may drop during pregnancy due to the changes in your body, but it will come back. And it’s likely that your older child will be as happy as a pig in a peach orchard! Having a sick child is a big bummer and having two sick children is a mother’s terrible day. But breastmilk helps with the healing of illnesses and the easing of symptoms, which is a big bonus now that you have two germ sponges living in your home!
Tandem nursing can be an emotional rollercoaster, but it can also be a major protective factor against the many trials and tribulations you are sure to experience as your family grows. I have been tandem nursing for 2 years and nursed through my pregnancy. The only regret I have is not creating more boundaries for my oldest son before the new baby came as it would have been helpful for him when I needed some space. I would tandem breastfeed again if the opportunity presented itself.
Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder