Salt Lake City Based Photographer Timbra Wiist owns/operates Landslide Photography & Photographs the Journey of Motherhood (see bottom of page or sidebar for more info. . .depending on what this blog is choosing to do for the day).

Monday, July 29, 2013

In Tandem

Monday, July 29th - Breastfeeding multiples: twins (or more!), tandem nursing singletons, even nursing more than one child through your breastfeeding years. Tell us about your experience.

breastfeedingcafecarnivalWelcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of the Breastfeeding Cafe's Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today's post is about breastfeeding multiple children. Please read the other blogs in today's carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 22nd through August 4th!

My daughter was a few weeks old when a friend came to me shocked that another woman she'd been working with, who had a new baby and a little one around 3 or 4, shared with her that she was nursing both children. She was completely baffled, pregnant with her second child, but having a daughter around 5 years old, it was not something that she had ever considered. My mind was also blown. We laughed about it, were a little freaked out, then looked up "tandem nursing" in the Womanly Art of Breastfeeding to learn a little more about it, but both still left feeling completely weirded out by the idea. I think along with that was the view that nursing a child at the age of 3 or 4 was also very foreign to us. I guess when you LIVE in a foreign land, things ARE foreign at times. Still, I would never ever ever have considered it for me. In those same early months I'd read also that sometimes a toddler wants to nurse a time or two after a new baby comes along, but often doesn't remember how. . .this I felt fine with. At that time, I didn't even know that I would continue to nurse my daughter beyond six months, let alone for years and alongside another child!

A few months later we met a family who had adopted a baby girl, and she was nursing her. My mind could not understand, because at the time, she had three children, and they were aged 5 and 2. Surely she was not still nursing that 2 year old, in order that she would have milk when her adopted baby came along?

Still, on another day, my husband came home, fascinated with the sight of a woman sitting on the sea wall and her child standing in front of her, nursing. I'd heard stories of that. . .how people had no boundaries and would just let their 4 or 5 year old come up, lift mom's shirt and "drink from the tap" and a peewee baseball game or something. It had never been described in a context where it was portrayed as normal or natural that an older child would be nursing. It had always been shared as a story where a mother had never explained boundaries to her older child and it was "gross" and "weird" and "sexual." Now I know!

I was about 6 months pregnant and had read the book "Adventures in Tandem Nursing" when my husband asked me one day, "Do you think it's time to stop nursing her?" She wasn't quite 3 yet. The agreement around here, is that if he's not willing to read books on parenting and breastfeeding, I read them, share with him what I know and, particularly with regards to breastfeeding, ultimately make the decisions. I told him that weaning a child just before a new baby came along makes them feel displaced and set aside and that I would just see where the road took us. She did not stop nursing during my pregnancy, on her own, which lead me to believe she still had a deep need to nurse.

When my second daughter was born, the very first night, both girls nursed. Not together, but both to sleep. By day 3, my younger daughter was hospitalized and I was SO glad that I could come home to my toddler at night (then 3 years 2 months) to nurse her so sleep and to help ME with the engorgement from which I suffered, being able to pump at the hospital, but not being able to nurse my younger daughter much at all. She was on nutritive saline, so just was not nursing much at all.

I nursed both girls regularly for the next 10 months. As we neared my older daughter's 4th birthday we began discussing her being old enough not to nurse anymore. She would agree and we were limiting nursing by singing Twinkle Twinkle Little Star at certain times each day, except for night time. I talked with a friend about weaning and she asked me if when I weaned, would it be a "hard and fast" date? I hadn't thought to leave things open ended, to suggest and lead her towards weaning, but to allow the nursing to fall off here and there. So it really was another year before she would wean entirely and even then she asked about once/year for the next couple of years. It is something both she and I miss, but not in a way that I wish I were still nursing her, in a way that I miss the little creature she was. . . however, I LOVE the little creature she is becoming. As my second daughter nears her 4th birthday, we are nowhere near ready to be done with this relationship and I have not even begun to suggest it. Each child is different and I have learned through breastfeeding her, how to better be her mother and wait for her to indicate to me that she is becoming ready to wean.

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

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