This article was written about four years ago by Kristin when she was tandem nursing both of her children. She recently stumbled upon it and we thought it would be a beautiful piece to share with all of you!
I never imagined myself as a tandem nursing mom, it just worked out that way.
My children are 21 months apart. We night weaned Abbey during my second pregnancy and I had planned to fully wean her before our son was born. She wanted to be close to me though, and my nurse midwife and friends in the lactation community thought that it would be too much strain on my body to wean during pregnancy, particularly with the potential for the re-emergence of preeclampsia that I had experienced with my first pregnancy.
It is interesting that my daughter loved nursing as much as she did given the challenge it presented early on. I was induced a week early due to the preeclampsia and Abbey was born with low glucose levels. In the NICU she was given an IV, then enhanced formula, and shortly after my pumped milk. Things had to be regulated and scheduled in the NICU. I was given ten minutes to nurse toward the end of her stay, and with such limited exposure it often didn’t work out well. I pumped like crazy, and my husband and I took turns feeding her pumped milk.
When I got home from the hospital, I was overwhelmed. I went back to the lactation consultants at the hospital for assistance and had help in home as well. My husband sometimes had to help me get Abbey latched. After a month of this, she finally took to nursing. I felt like I could finally provide for her. Without support, I would have given up completely. She grew to love nursing so much that it was tough to wean her, even during my pregnancy when I wasn’t producing much milk.
When Seth was born, he nursed easily even with a moderate tongue tie that was corrected within his first few weeks of life. Abbey wanted to nurse whenever Seth nursed, which became a challenge; dealing with toddler gymnastics adjacent a new baby. Seth became accustomed to his sister’s presence on the breast, and the two would latch at the same time during daytime hours.
On my best days of nursing, I felt so present with them. I think about the bond they were building during this time, brother and sister holding hands on my lap. It was beautiful and blissful.
On my worst days, I felt touched out. I wanted to wean them both. I wanted my body to be my own. Sometimes I even wanted to scream, but then I would breathe deeply and realize that this is such a short window, and that they would wean soon enough.
Some of my friends and family disapproved of, or failed to understand, my need and desire to have extended breastfeeding and tandem nursing. I just did what I felt was best for my kids. I took things day by day. That worked for me and for my husband back then.
My kids were healthy and ate well. They never used a pacifier, a bottle, or a blanket or a toy for comfort. It was me they wanted. I could soothe them when they fell. I could make them feel safe after a bad dream. I got to enjoy the bond that they had with each other, sharing my love in that way. It was our life in that moment, and I miss those moments now that they are long gone. I did wean them separately and it wasn’t a problem.
We all have our own individual journeys as mothers. Let’s treat each other with kindness, even if our journeys are much different. If you need help weaning, Gold Coast is here to support whatever your circumstance is, day and night, without judgment.
photo credit: Brooke Collier Photography