If you had told me 10 years ago I would breastfeed two kids at the same time, I probably would have laughed and said, “No way. Not me!” I’m not talking about twins either. I am referring to an older and new sibling.
Life has a funny way of doing the opposite of what you think. In this case, that’s exactly what happened.
My mother never nursed my baby sister nor me so I wasn’t really around it. I had an aunt that nursed her child until he was two years old. I didn’t get it and couldn’t understand why would a mom do this when the child is clearly old enough to hold a cup to drink or even get the drink themselves. What’s the point?
Breastfeeding can become a heated debate. One common denominator I have noticed is judgment. Everyone has their opinion of how long a mother and her child should breastfeed.
The bottom line breastfeeding is solely between the mother and child. Our opinion of that relationship is null and void. I also certainly don’t think someone who has neither been a mother nor breastfed can offer an opinion on the matter. No offense.
So let’s get to how I ended up tandem breastfeeding!!
After my eldest was born, I knew I wanted to breastfeed. A woman’s body produces the perfect nutrition for her babies and passes antibodies through her breast milk. I wanted to equip my new baby with all the resources I could so she would be healthy and strong.
I was extremely lucky in that I experienced no issues with latch.
“It is the lucky child who still breastfeeds past two years old.”
-Former U.S. Surgeon General Dr. C. Everett Koop
Was it painful?
Did I want to stop and just give formula?
Did I quit?
I pushed through the pain until it no longer hurt. I literally took one day at a time.
My first born was a challenge.
She was colicky and the milk I was drinking irritated her. It took a few months of trial and error to figure out what in my diet upset her and eliminated many things. Turned out to be a protein in cow’s milk called A1.
I nursed day and night.
When there were teething troubles, for naps and ouchies.
I nursed through sicknesses and times when my little one just need to touch base and cuddle, then I nursed.
After breastfeeding one, I came to answer pre-existing questions I had myself, prior to becoming a mom. Your child may be old enough to ask for a cup of milk. So what’s the point in breastfeeding, you ask? Breastfeeding isn’t just to provide nutritional value. It’s also provides comfort and security to children.
If you were anxious about a job interview and someone took away the one thing that provided you comfort, how would you feel? Pretty upset, right?
There are so many benefits
Children are brand new. They’re discovering their world and things can be pretty overwhelming for them. When they are learning or experiencing new things, breastfeeding can provide warmth and comfort for them to work through challenges.
I always said I would nurse until my child self-weaned. I did eventually guide her into weaning, but that’s for another blog post!
Our nursing relationship was going fine….until…I got a positive pregnancy test. Nursing while pregnant was very difficult for me. If you want to read about that experience, I will post a blog devoted to that very soon.
I had considered weaning while pregnant to prepare for a new nursing baby. I never actually intended to tandem. I couldn’t bare to take that comfort away from her when she would be overwhelmed with such a life change as having a new sibling. I also feared jealousy and resentment. So when it came time for baby sister to arrive, I rode the wave and let tandem happen.
So how did it feel?
I have to admit I felt pretty bad-a** the first time I tandem nursed. There is something incredibly empowering as a women to know that my body was giving my children rich goodness perfectly formulated for them.
Whatever you choose to do: formula, breastfeed for one day or for 600 days, you are that child’s mother. Do what you think is best. I’m sure you’ve heard the saying “Momma knows best!” Well it’s true. Only you know your baby. Only your baby has heard the sound of your heartbeat. Do what you feel is best for your family. Only you know the correct answer.