Tandem Nursing

Many mothers decide to wean their babies when they discover they are pregnant with another one. There’s nothing wrong with that, especially if your baby was older and ready to start weaning anyway. As a matter of fact, babies will often wean themselves when your colostrum starts coming in for the new baby. The reason for this is fairly simple: your milk tastes different, and the older baby decides she doesn’t want it.

Others decide to continue nursing through their pregnancy and to nurse both babies after the new arrival comes. As long as you and the baby want to continue nursing, there’s nothing wrong with that, either. As a matter of fact, tandem nursing offers several advantages, including:

  • Less chance of engorgement. With two babies (or a baby and a toddler) breastfeeding, you’ll be dishing it out as fast as you can produce it in most cases.
  • Continued benefits for both babies. By the time your new baby is born, your older baby or toddler should be eating solid foods. Still, studies have shown that it is beneficial for babies to continue breastfeeding until they are two years old. Some suggest that it is beneficial to breastfeed beyond age two.
  • Keeps both children busy. If you feed both children at the same time, you won’t have to worry about what the older one is doing while you’re feeding the younger.
  • Less jealousy/sibling rivalry. Many older babies and toddlers feel left out when a new baby arrives, especially when mom gives the new baby lots of special attention (like when we breastfeed them). If they continue to enjoy the intimacy of breastfeeding, this can mitigate the jealousy.

As with any parenting decision, it’s important to go into tandem nursing with your eyes open. When considering whether you should continue to breastfeed or wean your older child, it’s important to consider your own willingness and ability to breastfeed two children. Breastfeeding is ultimately good for both you and your baby, but it can take a toll on your body. It takes a lot of energy to breastfeed one baby, much less two.

If you do decide to tandem breastfeed, make sure that you are eating plenty of nutritious food. You will want to eat plenty of vegetables and fruit. You will also want to make sure that you are eating enough protein. Ideally, you should be eating about 600-700 extra Calories every day.


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