Just found out that you are pregnant again while nursing a toddler? Well, you have a decision to make about nursing, one that many mothers have had to make in similar situation.
There are two options. You can choose to wean your toddler while pregnant, so you can focus on nursing your new baby. On the flip side, you can choose to nurse them both, also known as tandem nursing.
What is Tandem Nursing?
Tandem nursing is best defined as nursing two children of different ages. It is quite different from nursing twin babies. In tandem nursing, the mother nurses a baby and a toddler at the same time.
There are a few concerns about tandem nursing, but the first thing you should know is that it is safe. Generally, many mothers manage to do tandem nursing as long as they have a healthy pregnancy such as no cramps or spotting. If you are unsure, continuously seek advice from your doctor during prenatal checkup.
However, there are certain red flags that may lead to weaning your toddler:
- High-risk pregnancy or risk for miscarriage
- Multiple pregnancy
- Uterine pain or bleeding
The biggest concern mothers have about tandem nursing is the milk supply. You do not have to worry about this if you want to nurse. Your breast produces enough milk to meet demand. This means that as long as you do tandem nursing, your breast will provide enough breast milk for both of your children.
You may also consider feeding your newborn first before his/her sibling. Now that you know that tandem nursing is safe, the next question is, how do you do it?
There are no right or wrong ways to tandem nursing. Each mother finds their groove and does what feels best for her and her children.
However, there are a few suggestions that you can try out. Nurse your children simultaneously, or one after each other. Positioning and timing depend on you and your children. As long as everyone is happy, fed, and satisfied, you are doing great.
Why Tandem Nurse?
There are a lot of advantages. Here are a few;
- It increases your milk supply fast. Your body will produce enough breast milk for two, so you might not deal with underproduction.
- Nursing your toddler simultaneously with your newborn can reduce your chances of experiencing an engorged breast.
- It is a great bonding experience for everyone, especially for your toddler and your baby. Toddlers can feel threatened with the presence of a newborn. Tandem nursing helps reassure the toddler of your attention and care while also introducing him/her to the new baby.
- The only disadvantage here is that it is exhausting. Nursing two children at the same time is not a walk in the park, but you can overcome this by eating healthy, staying hydrated, and resting.
In conclusion, tandem nursing is a great way to feed your newborn and your toddler while also bonding with them. It is safe and healthy all-round, but if it takes a toll on you, you can try weaning your toddler early in the process. A ‘no offer, no refuse’ strategy can be very effective for this.