Breastfeeding may be dubbed as the most natural thing in the world, but it certainly isn't always the easiest thing to master. Especially when you're nursing two children instead of one. Tandem nursing, the act of nursing siblings, is an amazing, albeit exhausting, experience that many moms consider after they get pregnant with their second child. If you find yourself in this situation, you're bound to need a few tips for tandem breastfeeding, no matter how long you've been breastfeeding.
So why do moms chose to breastfeed two babies at a time? Well, many mothers aren't ready to stop nursing their older child after the birth of their new baby, making tandem nursing the perfect solution. Similarly, mothers of twins often tandem nurse their babies, instead of opting for other methods of feeding.
Whether you will be nursing twin babies or a toddler and a younger baby, tandem nursing comes with its own set of challenges that mothers who have never done it before just can't understand fully. As exhausting as meeting the needs of two children at once will be, it will also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your role as a mom.
Remembering to have loose expectations, patience, and a positive attitude will help combat the overwhelm you may feel when things aren't going as planned — because, when it comes to parenting, things rarely do. Here are few tips to keep you cool and calm while tandem breastfeeding.
1. Experiment With Different Nursing Positions
Regardless of the ages of your children, you're going to have to get a little bit creative with nursing positions now that there are two involved. Since the simple cradle hold won't always cut it anymore, learning a few new positions will make it easier and less stressful for everyone involved. The Nursing Mothers Counsel recommends the "double clutch" hold, especially for mothers nursing twin babies. And for mothers who are nursing a toddler and a baby, letting the toddler sit up on one side while holding the baby and resting their legs on the toddler may work. Similarly, simply laying on your back with your children beside you is another technique that is both relaxing and easy.
2. Have A Loose Schedule
Even if you're the biggest proponent of on-demand feeding there is, when two children are involved, a bit of order is essential. If you're nursing a newborn, schedule feedings around their needs, since your older child won't feed as often. If you nurse them separately, you could nurse the toddler while the baby naps, or before bed as a comfort to them. Find what works for all of you, even if it's more scheduled than when you only had one baby to feed.
3. Get Enough Rest
Taking care of yourself is even more important than ever. Producing milk takes a toll on your energy levels, so ensuring that you're getting enough sleep and down time will help you produce enough milk, and feel as healthy as possible.
4. Have Reasonable Expectations
As Motherlove noted, you shouldn't expect tandem nursing to be easy. You may experience "nursing aversion," you may get overwhelmed, and that's all OK.
5. Ignore The Haters
In a society that doesn't value nursing in public or extended breastfeeding, you can probably expect to see your fair share of flack while nursing two babies at once — regardless of their age. Remember that breastfeeding is your call to make and you have legal rights that allow you to nurse, even two babies, where ever you want. According to Huffington Post, almost all 50 states have laws protecting the mother's right to breastfeed in public.
6. Eat And Drink Enough
As you're already well aware of from nursing one child, having a healthy diet where you're eating and drinking enough is essential to both keep up your energy levels and make sure your baby is getting the nutrition they need. As The Natural Child noted, you really are eating for three in this situation, so make your choices count.
7. Have Patience With Your Kids...And Yourself
Tandem nursing will be one of the hardest, sweetest, most exhausting, and rewarding choices you make as a mother. Remembering to give patience to both yourself and your children on the hard days will help you remember the sweetness of the time you have together.