Tandem nursing occurs when a woman breastfeeds two or more children of different ages. Many women wonder how they will continue to nurse their infant or young toddler when another baby is expected to arrive. Tandem nursing allows the older child to continue nursing and the new baby to begin nursing. A mother that is consuming enough calories and getting adequate nutrition can safely nurse more than one child at a time.
Many women wonder how they can nurse more than one child. The answer will depend on what system works best for the mother and child(ren). WIll you nurse them simultaneously? WIll you encourage the older child to wait until the baby is finished? Some women say that it is easier to nurse both children at the same time, while others feel it makes nursing harder. It is best to try it out and see what works for you and your children.
BENEFITS OF TANDEM NURSING
- Continued nutrition for an older infant or toddler. Breastmilk provides immune system boosting vitamins no matter what age. Picky eaters will continue to consume necessary vitamins and minerals from the mother's breastmilk.
- Lowers the mother's risk for breast cancer. The chances of breast cancer decrease as the length of breastfeeding increases.
- Comfort and security increases among the children. An older child is less likely to feel left out or jealous after the birth of a new baby if he is not forced to stop nursing because of the new arrival.
- Reduced or absent breast engorgement after the new baby is born. Because the older sibling is still nursing, the breasts do not become excessively full.
DRAWBACKS OF TANDEM NURSING:
- Ensuring that all children are receiving proper amounts of milk. Some women find it easier to assign a breast to a child, while others allow the youngest child to nurse first. Because breastfeeding works on a supply vs. demand system, the more demand there is, the more the body will produce.
- Explaining to the older child. This can be the hard part. Because the older child(ren) have been able to nurse as they please, it may be difficult explaining to them that the new baby needs to be nursed.