There can be some confusion surrounding tandem nursing. What is it? How does it come about? Tandem nursing is the term for nursing 2 or more siblings. For example, nursing a newborn and a toddler. Tandem nursing is not the term for nursing twins or high order multiples. Natural progression to tandem nursing is pretty simple. Mom is nursing Child A, becomes pregnant, nurses through the pregnancy, and continues nursing Child A while nursing Child B. Tandem nursing is probably more common than you think. It’s a great way of continuing to bond with your older child while welcoming your new child. Whether you start out with a goal to tandem nurse or it just naturally happens, here are a few tips to help:
Balance: In those first few days after your younger baby is born, nurse the younger baby first to ensure he/she is getting the colostrum he/she needs. Once your milk comes in, your supply will respond to the needs of both children and you can nurse on demand without having to follow a certain order to the feedings.
Positioning: As time goes on, you can position the children in whatever way works but with a younger baby, proper positioning can help make sure that newborn’s latch is ideal. Here are a few positioning ideas: double cradle, with newborn over toddler, double football, a combination of cradle/football, and laid back breastfeeding. It will probably be easiest to latch your newborn on first before allowing the older child to latch on until you get the hang of positioning.
Hygiene: No need to worry about washing the breasts or nipples between feedings! Siblings share everything, even germs! Chances are, your children are going to share germs in lots of different ways and the antibodies in breastmilk will help to prevent illness.
Be flexible: you might have visions of both your children nursing quietly together but sometimes, it will be both nursing but the toddler is doing nursing gymnastics and you have to carefully adjust so the newborn isn’t bothered! Or as soon as your younger baby is done with a session, the older one decides to nurse. Things aren’t always ideal but that’s part of life, right? The nursing sessions with them holding hands will more than make up for it.
Tandem nursing is definitely an adjustment at first but it does get better and you will, without a doubt, have moments to treasure!