Breastfeeding and having a toddler is hard enough, but if you've decided to try tandem nursing, then I think you should get some kind of medal. I can't even imagine nursing both a toddler and a newborn at the same time, but so many moms do it. Whether it's because you want your toddler to continue receiving the benefits of breast milk or because they're jealous of your newborn nursing, you could probably use some tandem breastfeeding hacks to make the whole journey easier.
Because let's face it, nursing a toddler is not a walk in the park. My daughter stopped breastfeeding at 10 months, and even she was getting way too wiggly for me. But La Leche League International notes that continuing to breastfeed your toddler not only gives them the benefits of breast milk, but it's a great way to stay connected to them now that there's a new baby in your life.
Of course, when you're ready to stop nursing your toddler, that's your call. According to KellyMom, it's normal to feel agitation about nursing your older child, especially if you're feeding both kiddos together. You may find yourself getting frustrated, stressed, or disappointed with how breastfeeding is going because you can't give either child the attention you want.
The best thing you can do is find what works best for your family and go from there. These seven tandem breastfeeding hacks can also help you out and promote a successful, happy nursing session.
1. Stock Up On Pillows
Look, I breastfed one baby and I know how important pillows were for that journey. Nursing two kiddos of different sizes? Mother Loves noted that you need as many pillows as possible. Slide some up under your newborn so you can have semi-free hands, and give your toddler some, too so they aren't trying to pull your nipple halfway across the room with their stretching.
2. Set Time Limits For Yourself & Your Toddler
Your newborn has the right to eat until they're done feeding, but it helps to set a time limit for breastfeeding your toddler. According to La Leche League International, as the task gets harder and more difficult, it may help you (and your toddler as your patience wears thin) to suggest shorter feeding times. Try setting a timer and telling them that when it goes off, they are done nursing. You can also sing songs for the duration of their nursing or offer them a treat if they finish in five minutes, like a big kid snack.
3. Use Positive Language With Your Toddler
Feelings of jealousy are bound to happen when mommy is sharing her milk with a new sibling, but you don't want to increase the discontent between the two. Instead of telling your toddler that the baby needs the milk more than they do, La Leche League International suggests reminding them of all the yummy things they get to eat and drink that the baby doesn't. You don't want them to think it's bad for them to continue nursing or that the baby is more important.
4. Latch Your Newborn First
Your toddler is an old pro at latching, so be sure to give your newborn the time they need to latch first. Just ask your little one to wait for a few seconds until the baby is situated, and then they can have some milk, too.
5. Try Different Positions
It's hard enough trying to find a position that's comfortable for both you and your baby while you're breastfeeding, but tandem nursing unleashes a whole new set of challenges. KellyMom has a great list of tandem nursing positions such as combining a football hold with a cradle hold, and modifying a double cradle hold so both of your children are comfortable.
6. Keep A Basket Of Special Toys For Your Toddler
There are going to be times when you have to let your newborn nurse first and your toddler will have to wait, so keep a basket of toys reserved only for nursing sessions nearby. Tell your little one they can pick out a toy to play with while they wait their turn, and because the toys are reserved only for nursing, they'll be excited every time.
7. Wear A Sling For Your Newborn
Nursing a newborn in a sling is a great trick so you can have your hands free and your baby can eat on the go, but it also helps if you're tandem nursing. Because you won't have to hold on to your newborn while they eat, you can give your toddler snuggles or have a hand free for that Netflix remote.