Saturday, 11 May 2013

Tandem Nursing Adventures

How will this work? Do I nurse the little one first and then the big one? Will they want to nurse at he same time or one after the other? Would I enjoy nursing Lennon once the new sweetness had arrived? Can I physically keep up with the demands?

These were just a small fraction of the questions I asked myself often during my pregnancy. Of course I couldn't know until I arrived here how everything would play out. I did try to prepare myself by finding friends who were tandem nursing so I could talk with them and receive support, hooking up with my local La Leche League and I read the book "Adventures in Tandem Nursing". All have proved as great assets in my positive transition from nursing a toddler to nursing a toddler and a newborn. I'm sure that they will continue to be crucial as my journey progresses.

So far, things have been fantastic. I was fortunate to have a great start to my nursing relationship with Mackenzie, who has had no latch issues and is dealing well with my over supply and the difficulty it brings. I first tandem nursed the girls only 4 or 5 hours after Mackenzie was born. We were all cuddling in our bed (she was born at home), and they both wanted to nurse. I was resting and nursing Mackenzie on my side so I let Lennon climb up and reach over my other side to nurse. Luckily, at 28 months, Lennon has some serious skills so nothing really fazes her. It was a wonderful experience and I fell in love with both of them even more in this moment.

From then on, it seems we tandem nurse together at least 2 times a day. Lennon is only allowed to nurse 4 times a day but at first, with all the extra milk, she was nursing a lot more to keep me from getting clogged ducts. Most mornings and nap times though we cuddle in bed and I hold both of them in my arms, nursing them. It has been powerful to watch their relationship grow through breastfeeding. Lennon will gently hold Mackenzie's hand, or watch as her little sister nurses. The other night, Lennon gently rubbed Mackenzie's head, all around her ears and eyes, until Mackenzie closed her eyes in complete comfort and satisfaction. Love doesn't get much purer than that!

I have found that nursing Lennon is easier for me when I am also nursing Mackenzie. My oxytocin seems higher and I feel more comfortable and at ease. During my pregnancy I had quite an aversion to nursing and sometimes I feel it creep back. I remind myself of how sweet and young Lennon still is and how much she needs this connection with me. Especially in these moments when her world has been flipped upside down and she wonders if mama is still thinking of her as much with this new needy little person around.

I'm excited to continue this breastfeeding journey with these two girls and watch as they grow and share together. 

If anyone has any questions or things you would like me to address in another post about tandem nursing or nursing through pregnancy I would be happy to help out!