Tandem breastfeeding is a decision that should be made with you and your toddler. Sitting down with your toddler before the baby is born to go through some expectations (age appropriate dialogue through play works well) about what will happen when the baby is born. It is important that you try to stress that the baby should go first. Create a game for your toddler to play beside you while you are breastfeeding. Call it the waiting game. Another alternative is to have your husband, or another caregiver help out by taking the toddler away and distracting them. This is more beneficial when they are a frequent breast feeder as they will need more distraction. It is common however for a toddler to want to begin breastfeeding more often as they too want to be your baby. That is when finding alternative ways to bond is helpful.
Another important factor to consider is your nutritional intake. A mother breastfeeding a singleton may require an 1800 cal/day diet . 1500 is ok too but not as ideal. When you add a toddler into the picture, you should increase this rate. The increase will depend on how much your toddler is breastfeeding as well as your hunger level. Eating whole grains, protein and carbohydrates is filling and healthy.
If you are finding it too difficult to tandem nurse, gradual weaning is an option. Your toddler is attached to you and doesn’t want to lose the feeling that they are your baby too. Finding ways to replace your breastfeeding sessions is best. Change it to book time, snuggle time, helping you tidy up time. If you are breastfeeding your toddler and your baby at the same time, you will find a bond that is being created. They may hold hands, snuggle in close or just stare at each other. It’s a beautiful thing to watch.
Tandem breastfeeding is a beautiful thing and can be successfully done for quite some time if you want it. It comes down to finding the balance of time and nutrition. If you are finding yourself overwhelmed with the tandem breastfeeding, it’s ok to begin the weaning process of your toddler. Doing so gradually and replacing that bond with another one will be beneficial to both you and your toddler.
Here is an article written by a LLL participant who wanted so desperately to tandem breastfeed but it didn’t work out. See the beautiful relationship that came from it. For some additional amazing articles on tandem breastfeeding, click here . If you would like additional advice, assistance or support, find your local LLL group or consult a lactation consultant to discuss options.