Breastfeeding is such an amazing journey no matter how many times you have done it or how many children at once it is such an amazing time in the journey of becoming a mom. So far I am loving this stage of motherhood, and after 3 years of breastfeeding I’ll be honest I have no idea what to do when this stage is over.
Tandem Nursing: My Journey
First experience breastfeeding
I can remember when I was pregnant with Adella I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but until she was born and nursed the first time I didn’t realize just how important it was to me. I nursed Adella day and night (she seriously ate all the time), and I had to supplement twice and it was the hardest decision of my life and in the moment I thought my breastfeeding relationship was ruined.
In fact those two 1 ounce bottles made me more determined to be successful breastfeeding, and then when she gained a pound in 3 days I knew I was in it for the long haul.
As the weeks turned in to months I was falling more it love with nursing her and the bond that it gave us. When Adella was just 10 months old I found out I was pregnant again, I was shocked and excited, but so nervous since I was still breastfeeding. I thought I’m going to have to stop, how am I going to stop, what are we going to do?
Breastfeeding during pregnancy
As Adella reached her first birthday everyone started in asking when I’ll stop nursing, and won’t that harm the baby. I kept it simple and to the point, no we are not stopping and the baby is fine.
What I didn’t realize was the nursing aversion I would feel while pregnant. That nipple sensitivity that pregnancy causes was amplified by nursing and it was exhausting and so frustrating. I knew I wanted to continue nursing as long as she did, but how was I going to make it?
She was up all night wanting to nurse and I just couldn’t physically and mentally handle it! I was ready to quit, ready to give up, and many tears later I decided I couldn’t. It wasn’t her fault I was feeling this way and I couldn’t take this away from her.
Related Post: Breastfeeding during pregnancy your questions answered
Then the comments started about nursing both, even after Delta was born the doctor was telling me how the baby wouldn’t get everything she needed and that I needed to limit Adella. All my own research did not agree with what she was telling me and I felt empowered to do as I saw fit for our family.
We tandem nursed for the first time in the hospital and it went great, I had talked to Adella the last few months about having to share with the new baby and she seemed totally fine with that. She rubbed Deltas’ back and held her hand. It could not have been any more perfect!
Once my milk came back in Adella was like a newborn nursing all the time day and night! She was so excited to have milk back and to be honest I took advantage! My nursing aversion was gone and instead of chasing around a 19 month old we all cuddled and bonded. For weeks we didn’t do much but cuddle, nurse, and spend time outside. Honestly it was the easiest transition. Adella felt included and the baby didn’t take anything from her.
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By about 12 weeks Adella was finally slowing down nursing and eating more food. By this point I was a little burnt out on nursing and started to set some boundaries with her, especially at night. I did find some new toys (our favorite) and books (our favorite) helped to keep her a bit busy.
I was still loving our bond and watching the girls love grow for each other but I needed my body back a little and I was starting to have some anxiety and was hopeful that better sleep and more time without someone touching me would help, but it didn’t.
After starting Zoloft I felt so much better and like my nursing relationship could continue without so much stress. Delta was growing like a weed and at 6 months she was up to 18lbs of happy chub, and Adella had gained 7 pounds since her sister was born! Isn’t it amazing what our bodies can do!
I made it one year!!!
1 year into this tandem breastfeeding journey and I can’t believe we have made it! I thought women who tandem nursed this long were a mixture of crazy and super heroes. While I may be a bit crazy (I mean aren’t we all?) I don’t think I’m a hero. I am simply providing my children with what they need. Adella has slowed down on nursing and has actually only nursed twice today!
So what have I learned while tandem nursing?
I have way more patience then I ever thought possible. I feel touched out often but I am able to rein in the stress that causes and nurse my girls. I find that closing my eyes and taking a few deep breaths to clear my mind helps the most in calming me down. I have heard that magnesium supplements especially the spray can help with aversion too.
Our bodies are incredible! Give yourself a pat on the back ladies! Not only can we grow a new human but we can keep them growing after they are born! For 2 years I grew my children entirely by myself!!! And pump and donate for other little babies. I am just in awe.
What have I struggled with while tandem nursing?
The nursing aversions have been the hardest part. As I stated before their are ways to help, but it is the most common issues with breastfeeding while pregnant. I have had to set limits and have contemplated weaning my oldest more than I would like to admit. And as we talk about trying again I am not looking forward to having those feelings again.
This goes with feeling touched out and those aversions… my sex drive tanked. I didn’t even want a hug, I mean more touching. AHHHHH It is common for a dip in your libido while breastfeeding so don’t stress too much over it, but if it gone completely and is causing harm in your relationship it might be worth getting your hormone levels checked.
The HUNGER! I have never been as hungry as I am during the first month after the birth of each of my children. I would eat all day and drink water and chocolate milk by the gallon! No matter how much I ate I was never full! It was a solid 6 months before I wasn’t hungry all the time.
It doesn’t sound like a bad deal and I love food, but I also wanted to try to lose the baby weight!
What about our bond?
The girls are in love with each other! We have been lucky enough that we haven’t had to deal with any jealousy from Adella and I believe that is because she was still nursing. The baby didn’t take anything away from her! As the months go on I watch them continue to hold hands while nursing and giving each other hugs and kisses when one of them wakes up. It really is adorable.
I have such a great bond with the two of them. I do try to make sure they each get their own snuggle time on top of one on one time, so we get that separate time but I love when we all snuggle together.
I can’t say enough about the blessing tandem nursing has been for my girls bonding time in this first year of tandem nursing.
I think if tandem nursing is something you want to do, then you should and you can do it! It is hard work just like nursing one child is hard, but you can do it! The benefits of tandem nursing for both you and your children out way the struggles that come with it.
How far are you in to your breastfeeding? What has been the hardest part for you?