I am so happy to share this story from a mother who has chosen tandem breastfeeding for her family. It is still not always accepted by family or friends when we breastfeed children past the first birthday here in the U.S., let alone if we choose to breastfeed past the child's second or third birthday.
In today's installment of IN THEIR OWN WORDS, Sara shares where her expectations were before birthing her firstborn, and how that evolved as she continued down the path of their breastfeeding journey.
“Moms who nurse past age one are just doing it for themselves.”
“Once they can ask for it…”
I remember saying both of those refrains before I became a nursing mom. When I began breastfeeding my oldest daughter 3.5 years ago, never in my wildest dreams did I imagine I would continue to nurse for over three years. I never planned on being one of “those” moms. I would breastfeed for a year, and that was that.
Once I became a mom, my new favorite hobby was researching all things related to parenthood. I learned about cloth diapers, extended rear facing, babywearing, attachment parenting, and of course full-term breastfeeding. I learned that the WHO recommends breastfeeding for two years, and then as long as the mother and baby desire after that. I learned that worldwide, nursing beyond age two is the norm rather than the exception.
Before I knew it, my nursling and I hit the two-year mark. Shortly after, I learned I was pregnant. Nursing early in pregnancy was difficult, but I was determined to let my daughter self-wean. And she did… at least temporarily. At about 27 weeks along, she weaned herself and stopped asking for a while. However, after a month or so, she started showing interest again. She would ask to “check” if there was any milk, and I would let her. She wasn’t getting anything, but continued to do milk checks once a week or so for the rest of pregnancy.
We talked about what would happen when her baby sister was born, and she understood that her sister would always need to eat first. The baby came, and once the initial nipple soreness subsided, my 2-year old happily nursed. A happy result was that my 2-year old was able to help me with a clogged duct that was teetering on the brink of mastitis when I was 9 days postpartum.
And so, I officially became a tandem breastfeeding mom. If you had asked me four years ago if I would ever nurse two differently aged babies at the same time, my answer would have unequivocally been NO. Yet here I was.
We tandem nursed for four months when I started feeling like it was time to wean my older daughter. I wanted to make it a positive experience for her. So, we chose a date on the calendar, and marked it as our last day for “yummies” (her nickname for breastmilk). We made plans for a celebratory mommy-daughter date. The date came, and we had our final nursing session right before bed. The following day, we had our date. I was so thankful that it was an easy weaning experience! She was officially weaned at 3 years, 2 months.
My advice to moms: be flexible. Follow your instincts, be willing to learn and adapt. You know your baby best, and don’t let anyone make you feel less than for doing what you feel is best for your breastfeeding relationship.
Have you considered tandem nursing? Or if you did, what helpful tips can you offer our readers?
In Their Own Words: Breastfeeding Series is shared in honor of Breastfeeding Awareness Month, observed every August here in the United States. Would you like to share your breastfeeding journey? Please email me to get started: [email protected]
Other Breastfeeding Month Events:
Chandler-Gilbert La Leche League
Live, Latch, Love
August 13, 2016
Click HERE for more info
La Leche League Conference
August 26-28, 2016
Register Here: www.lllofaz.org/area-conference
Phoenix La Leche League: Live, Latch, Love
August 26th, 5-7 PM
Embassy Suites Biltmore
Four Spots left in our Birthing From Within Series for RETURNING STUDENTS ONLY
The material included in this blog post is for informational purposes only. It is not intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. The reader should always consult her or his healthcare provider to determine the appropriateness of the information for their own situation. Krystyna and Bruss Bowman and Bowman House, LLC accept no liability for the content of this site, or for the consequences of any actions taken on the basis of the information provided. This blog and video contain information about our classes available in Chandler, AZ and Payson, AZ and is not the official website of The Bradley Method® or Birthing From Within The views contained in this video and on our blog do not necessarily reflect those of Birthing From Within, The Bradley Method®, or the American Academy of Husband-Coached Childbirth®.