If you achieve pregnancy while you are still breastfeeding your previous child, you may suddenly find a host of worrisome questions popping up in your mind. Should I wean my first child as fast as possible? Will I produce milk during the later stages of pregnancy? Let us allay your fears on the topic by addressing common questions and concerns on the matter!
A lot of mothers get pregnant and give birth when they are still nursing their previous child. In such a situation, the mothers usually continue breastfeeding the newborn with their toddler. This arrangement of nursing siblings (that aren’t twins) is called “tandem nursing”.
While many women may find the idea of nursing two children at the same time worrisome, the situation can benefit you in many ways!
There are a few drawbacks of tandem breastfeeding too, that you should educate yourself about (if you are thinking of tandem breastfeeding your two children).
Two children with different nutritional needs and nursing habits, and one mom and her physical limitations – this can prove to be an overwhelming situation!
Both children can be fed simultaneously. This falls entirely on the preference and convenience of the mother. What one may consider empowering, another may consider a hassle!
Some moms assign one breast to each child, feeding them only on that breast. Others alternate their children from one breast to the other every day, and others do this every time they feed.
The feeding habits of toddlers differ from infants. A toddler may not require nursing more than thrice a day while a baby will need to nurse every 2 – 3 hours.
Some toddlers may demand to breastfeed every time the baby does so (out of feelings of jealousy. Whether this is practical or not, there are always toddlers who will throw a tantrum when denied what they want, while others may be more kind. As a mother taking care of an infant, it is imperative that you focus on your requirements, even if it means saying “no” to your toddler!
Colostrum is hundred percent safe for your toddler to consume. Indeed, colostrum naturally contains immunity-boosting substances that are essential for a newborn, but these could also provide an immunity boost for a toddler too!
It still remains, however, that colostrum is specially produced for the newborn. Feed your newborn first, while you are producing colostrum so that they get their adequate requirement. Remember – your toddler already got his share when he was a baby!
Even though it may be uncommon in the general population, there are several benefits to tandem nursing, as discussed above. They may encourage you to try it out. So, here are a few tips that could help you ease into a regular system of tandem nursing.
Talk to your older child about the baby that is coming. Make it clear that the baby cannot eat other food as the toddler can. Most older siblings develop a sense of responsibility towards their younger siblings. Being open about the facts of the situation and fostering their bond with their younger sibling could prevent sibling jealousy.
This ensures that the newborn receives all the nutrition they require. Also, since a newborn feeds frequently while a toddler only does so occasionally, this could happen naturally.
You might have learned that your breast milk changes with the age of your child, providing them with the nutrition required for their age. When a second baby is born, this cycle resets with the production of colostrum.
The body responds to stimulation. If both your children feed regularly, your body will produce enough milk for the two of them. If feeding becomes irregular, milk production could wane. If your toddler breastfeeds through the colostrum phase, it ensures ample production of milk for both later on.
It is important that you consult your doctor even before the second baby is born. Your doctor will know if you should continue nursing your toddler while pregnant. Not everyone might be able to physically cope with the demands of feeding one child while also pregnant.
It is important that the doctor monitors your newborn’s growth. In the first weeks after birth, regular consultation and weight checks will allow the doctor to judge if your newborn is getting enough milk.
You may face criticism from your spouse, family, and friends! Tandem nursing may be uncommon, but it is by no means unnatural! Provided the newborn is getting enough nutrition and growing normally, tandem nursing can be continued. Your toddler does stand to benefit from consuming breast milk, even though they are eating other foods. In fact, the World Health Organisation recommends that every child is best off being breastfed until two years of age.
Have you noticed how in the safety instructions given to you before flying, you are instructed to secure your own oxygen mask before attempting to help others? This is because trying to help an impaired person while you are being impaired yourself could result in two causalities rather than one.
This rule applies to take care of babies too! Only if you are well hydrated, well-fed, and well-rested can you provide adequate care and nutrition to your children?
Figuring out the “logistics” of how to breastfeed newborn with toddler simultaneously can be tricky.
Always remember that as the mother, you wield the power. Do not over-extend yourself to the whims of your toddler. Deciding to wean your toddler if the demands on you are too much is perfectly acceptable!
Also Read: Exclusive Breastfeeding
This post was last modified on November 1, 2021 3:12 pm
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