Two Boobs, Two Babies: The Beauty in Tandem Breastfeedingby Elizabeth MacDonald
We at My Baby's Heartbeat Bear are huge advocates for breastfeeding and breastfeeding education. The other day, a converstaion about the beauty in tandem nursing occurred, and here I am... sharing with you what we discovered. I polled the social media black holes about breastfeeding, and these are the words that mothers used to describe nursing an infant.
|Endless Hunger||Comforting||Calorie Burning|
|Rewording||Protective||Milk on Tap|
|Something you will miss someday||Life Giving||Acceptance|
I have written about breasts and breastfeeding, but I have yet to touch on the amazing commitment that so many mothers have – these mothers go well beyond the ‘norm’ of our society’s breastfeeding trends. I am talking about moms who tandem nurse. Moms who continue to nurse a toddler/child while also nursing a baby. (This does not have to be done simultaneously – but it can!)
Technically, breastfeeding twins is not considered tandem nursing, but for the sake of the “Two Boobs, Two Babies” topic, I am including twins in this article. (And, well, who doesn’t love twin pictures?) Moms of twins (or more) have double the challenges as those of us who birthed singletons. These moms deserve some love in here too! (For the record, breastfeeding twins is totally tandem nursing in my book!)
Breastfeeding stirs up a mixed bag of emotions, as you can see from the words chosen above. Challenges such as latch troubles, tongue-tie, mastitis, thrush, production problems, can all make breastfeeding hard. These challenges become part of the journey, and once these are overcome (or never experienced for some), the ease, simplicity, and freedom begin to fall into place. Even so, deciding to continue breastfeeding a sibling of a new baby can be tolling. The pros and cons are different for every mother.
A sibling can aid a mother through the newborn engorgement phase of breastfeeding. The time spent nursing the older sibling can help transition the child into his role as a big brother. The feelings of jealousy may not occur within a relationship that includes tandem nursing. Instead of pulling away or acting out, a nursing sibling may accept a baby and bond sooner than if he was not still nursing.
Our society may not be openly welcome to talking about full-term breastfeeding (or tandem nursing), but mothers are doing it. The benefits for both mother and child stretch far beyond the bond created; they are physical (protective and healing), mental (confidence and intelligence), and emotional (safety and love). It’s time that we celebrate these tandem nursing mothers!
While you may not have had the opportunity to nurse more than one baby at a time, or you chose not to, there is something so beautiful captured in the photos of mothers who do tandem breastfeed. Help spread the love, help #NormalizeBreastfeeding, and help normalize #TandemBreastfeeding.