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Tandem Nursing

By Marci Hastings
Monroe WA USA
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 14 No. 2, March-April 1997, p. 54

We provide articles from our publications from previous years for reference for our Leaders and members. Readers are cautioned to remember that research and medical information change over time

I knew I would nurse my babies but I never expected to nurse my toddler. My first child, Andrea, took to breastfeeding immediately. My goal was to nurse her for a year. By her first birthday she was attached, literally and figuratively, to my breasts. They were her "home base." Nursing was at least as important to her emotional well-being as it was to her physical well-being. My goal changed--I would nurse her until she was ready to wean.

When I became pregnant with my second child, Conner, Andrea was 20 months old. "Snicking" was very important to her, but it was very uncomfortable for me. My breasts were tender, and her creative positions made for some painful nursing sessions. Once again, my goal changed. I would wean her slowly and with love during my pregnancy. My plan was to wean her early enough that she wouldn't feel displaced by the new baby. I spoke with my LLL Leader, Michele, who gave me support and suggestions for a slow, loving approach to weaning.

I procrastinated. Weaning just didn't feel right. Nursing was still so important to Andrea, not only nutritionally, but also emotionally. As the months went by, nursing remained uncomfortable, but my resolve to wean wavered. Andrea still needed me in this very special way. I reconciled myself to this, and eventually accepted that I would tandem nurse my children.

Conner was born in January 1995, and we formed a nursing trio. I am surprised how well this has gone. In the beginning Andrea protested a couple of times that Conner was on "her side," but she is thrilled with the returned abundance of milk, and she tells me that Conner wants a "snick" at times. My breasts are no longer sensitive and nursing a toddler gives me that much-needed chance to sit down a few times a day.

I believe that we haven't had jealousy issues with Andrea because we can share this special nursing time together. She wasn't displaced by our baby; there is plenty of love and milk for both. We continue to enjoy our nursing relationship. I am so glad I followed my heart.

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