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January 06, 2009

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I always like reading tandem nursing stories. I have done it twice now, with kids spaced 3y apart. Both times I was so very glad I nursed through the pregnancy, because it was so helpful while adjusting to the New Sibling situation for each of my boys to still be able to connect with me through nursing -- it was one thing which hadn't changed and which the coming of the baby had apparently even improved!

Interestingly, the first time I was happy to continue for quite a while, until my oldest weaned spontaneously, but the second time I found it much harder -- mostly, I would get terribly irritated and angry-feeling while nursing the older one. When those feelings of anger started to spill over into nursing the baby, I decided that was a sign I was overreaching myself and decided to deliberately wean my 3yo, which I did as gently as I could with over four months.

The one thing I could NOT do was nurse two children at the same time (I mean, not just "tandem nursing," but nursing one on each breast simultaneously). I hope if I ever have babies close together, or have twins, I get over that, but if I don't, I guess I will just have to deal IF I DON'T DIE. I tried it soon after my second was born and hated it so much I made the older one stop IMMEDIATELY and swore I would never, ever, ever do it again. I think maybe I've done it twice since then because I HAD TO (screaming baby, serious bonked head) and HATED IT. I have no idea why I found that so revolting, I generally love the act of nursing my kids, but it gave me the serious creepy crawlies. A force so powerful I decided to respect it -- it must be telling me not to do that for a reason. :-)

Isn't it weird?

I don't see why people have to have opinions about it either way. My youngest nursed until around 15-16 months, just because that's when he stopped. My middle nursed until he was 16 months old because I was 6 months pregnant and freaked out that he would never wean, and my OB told me my body couldn't handle the nursing (I had severe hyperemesis gravidarum with all of my pregnancies). I think both of those reasons were wrong, but it worked out okay. Nursing is personal--what works for you is what is best! I'm glad your 3 year old is happy to share, I bet it will even make him feel closer to his new sister.

Thanks so much for sharing, CJ! I loved nursing my two girls, but never had the opportunity to nurse a baby and toddler. I was mostly curious about how Pete would react to the different taste/texture/fat content of the new milk, but I guess he gets different flavors every day depending on what you've eaten anyway, so this is just another variance on a changing product to him.

And nutritionally - your body makes milk appropriate for the infant because she (& your postpartum body) is the one driving the supply now, not Pete with his here & there comfort nursing. I'm guessing.

I weaned my youngest at 31 months because of a med I had to take. It took some creative effort on all of our parts to get her off the nana, and she talked about it for a year. Now she's almost 7, and she'll mention it here and there, wistfully, but I doubt she really remembers it concretely. But I do, and those are some sweet memories.

Thank you very much for posting this. I also do enjoy reading why people tandem nursing stories. I love reading how Mothers bond with their children. Nursing was such an amazing bond between myself and my son. It amazes me how people in our culture can be so judgemental. Congratulations on your new addition. BTW, what sling do you like best? I have the Moby Wrap already, but I hate all that extra fabric. They have a new sling called Baby K'Tan, have you heard of it?

Thanks for this story. I tandem nursed my last two. We have 3 kids. My second son was 3.5 years when his sister was born. He weaned at 5 and she kept going for a few more years. The oldest (now 19) nursed until 5yrs, (his brother was born when he was 7yrs.). I have longed to become pregnant with #4, but so far (after several years) no luck. I have no more nurslings and I sure do miss babyhood. Though my youngest two fight like crazy now, when I nursed them together they were very loving toward each other. I think it was a tremendous bonding experience.

I admit, CJ, I envy your tandem nursing relationship(s). My son was 2.5 when my baby was born, and we tandem nursed for 4 months, but it was awful for a lot of the time. Just awful. Although he loved all over the baby most of the time, when she nursed he became furiously jealous, screaming and trying sometimes to physically pull her away from me. There were times when I literally had to lock myself in the bathroom in order to nurse my newborn. We had to wean, painful though it was for both of us, and we were all much happier afterwards.

So more power to you! And kudos to Petely for sharing you so nicely. He deserves extra kisses. :)

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