What exactly is tandem breastfeeding and how is it done?
Tandem breastfeeding occurs when a mother nurses or feeds two babies at once. They can be twins, multiples or infants of different ages.
K has been breastfed until the age of three, he is now four. Rey is two and a half and I have recently begun weaning her off the boob. M is still breastfeeding and I have begun introducing her to solids. Health officials instruct us to feed babies only breast milk or formula in the first six months of life as a newborn comes with a delicate digestive system, one that has much development to go through.
K & Rey were exclusively breastfed for 6 months. Rey was born when K was 18 months old and still had the odd feed here or there. M was born when Rey was just over two years old and still consuming “Liquid Gold”
Given the ages and stages that my children were born, I decided to tandem breastfeed. I can tell you that it is absolutely wonderful but it is also time-consuming, back-breaking and downright draining.
As an individual, it took a lot of strength and positive thinking to have two little ones milking on me almost 24/7 at times. I have to ensure that my own diet is regular and well balanced so that I can provide adequate nutrition to the kids without compromising on my own.
My tandem breastfeeding journey hasn’t been short of mishaps, bites, awkward positions and sleepless nights. It has helped me tremendously though, the bonding between my children and myself has been magical.
I experienced little to no problems introducing K or Rey to the “new baby” and they didn’t feel left out or excluded. I wonder if things would have been different had I not actively practiced tandem breastfeeding.
I think I would have faced tremendous toddler tantrums and would have made my older children feel excluded, whilst inviting other psychological issues. My breastfeeding journey is far from over and it has been glorious throughout all its trial and tribulations. The greatest trial was attempting to feed in public! I managed to overcome that with the proper selection of clothing and not venturing out during feed times.
My family thought I was crazy to attempt this as a new mom, especially for the reason of my children not being twins or multiples, but I did it! Boy am I glad that I achieved the desired outcome.
If you are attempting to tandem breastfeed, I suggest reading up about it, as I did. As this helped decide whether I would actually execute feeding more than one baby at a time, from my breast. Research has also allowed me to learn feeding positions and how to keep myself on par, diet wise.
Remember breastfeeding one baby is already a strain on you as a person, mentally, physically and emotionally. Be patient with yourself and your babies. All will fall into place, eventually. I’m sure that you will be more than pleased with the results as I am.
Good luck and much love.
P>S For any breastfeeding queries you can join La Leche League South Africa on Facebook.