Tandem Feeding- Is it for You?
Tandem feeding raises many questions for a mother, especially if we aren’t talking about twins. Will your newborn have enough colostrum after birth? Will you produce enough milk to satisfy two nursing children? Will you be able to keep up with the demands of nursing two children at the same time? Should you decide to go for it, there are many benefits to tandem nursing!
Your body is perfectly designed; so much so, if you are still nursing an older child, when it’s time to deliver your newborn, your body will naturally make colostrum again. The colostrum will not harm your older baby and can act as a booster shot, giving him or her plenty of nutrients. Your older child, who is now used to milk, may experience a day or so of looser stools; but your newborn will get all the postpartum benefits of colostrum.
Tandem feeding can also help to lower sibling rivalry that your children may experience. Many babies and toddlers are removed from the breast so that mom can prepare for a newborn. If they remember the breast, they will often revert (upon seeing their new little brother or sister nursing) and want to nurse again. If the older children aren’t allowed to nurse they might feel left out. Tandem nursing ensures that your older child doesn’t feel like he or she had to give up something they love in to make room for the baby.
Still, nursing two children can be hard on you. Keep in mind that your body will naturally keep up with the demand necessary, based on how much milk is consumed. With two children nursing, your milk supplies will be high. Should you nurse both children simultaneously, you won't be able to switch breasts during feedings as you would with just one child. One breast may not be enough for your new baby (or for your older one) and you may find yourself having separate feeding times. This can be demanding on your time and energy. You also have to be sure that YOU are eating enough calories and nutrients to keep yourself healthy. Be sure to drink plenty of water during the day, continue taking your prenatal vitamins, and eat five to six times a day to prevent weakness and illness.
Tandem feeding is not for everybody. If you aren’t going to be home with your children, you may find that the time it takes to pump enough milk for both children is enormous. In some situations, you may find that the nursing dynamic with your older child changes and they want to nurse more than before. If it doesn’t work, realize that you have done your very best with your older child, and continue nursing your newborn. They rely on the antibodies and nutrients provided by breastfeeding to remain healthy.