What are the benefits of tandem nursing?
- Meets both children's needs simultaneously.
- Supports both children’s immunity.
- Provides a high nutrient value.
- Continuity of comfort for the older child.
- Can help relieve engorgement, postpartum.
- Can support sibling bonding and reduce sibling rivalry.
What are the drawbacks?
Nursing two children can be overwhelming at times. The transition from one baby to two is a learning curve for most, and while there will be plenty of times that breastfeeding acts as a ‘cure-all’ mommy tool, there will inevitably be moments where it can feel burdensome.
Sometimes, moms can experience agitation when nursing their older child, especially when breastfeeding both children simultaneously. It can help to set some gentle boundaries in this scenario, via turn-taking, so that mom’s sensory input is protected.
Many families find that this sense of agitation or overstimulation dissipates naturally after the newborn phase, and that everybody settles into a much more comfortable rhythm.
Will I make enough milk?
Breastfeeding works on the principle of 'supply and demand’, whereby more milk removal results in more milk production. This means that for moms that breastfeed both children on demand, enough milk will be made.
There are, of course, caveats, such as previous breast-reduction surgery or health conditions that can impact mom’s hormone profile. But for the majority, nursing on demand will result in sufficient, or ample, milk supply.
How do I nurse both children at the same time?
Trial and error is best to find the position that works best for each unique family. This will vary according to the age, size and mobility of both children, and mom’s physicality too.
Some options to trial would be:
- Double football hold.
- Laid back nursing, with a child on each side.
- Double cradle hold.
How can I wean my oldest child when I’m still nursing my youngest?
It can be difficult to imagine setting a nursing boundary with one child, while the other nurses freely, but this is a reasonable and common choice that doesn’t have to be stressful or filled with worry.
Each nursing journey is unique, and the key is to support children through the new limits and reduced/removed feeds with honestly and kindness. Sometimes, play-based narration or role-playing can help support the older child’s processing of the changes being made. For more information about gentle weaning, click here
Research: Mohrbacher N 2010, Bumgarner, NJ 2000, Lawrence R 2015