As I mentioned in my post yesterday, one of the goals of World Breastfeeding Week this year is to is to "plan what more can be done to support all women to be able to optimally feed and care for of their infants and young children." I believe that tandem nursing is something that definitely can help moms to feed and care for their infants and young children, especially if they are close in age.
Now before I go any further, I should mention that I know tandem nursing is not for everyone. I can understand why some women might feel touched out, or tied down at the thought of nursing more than one child. For some mothers, it is physically more than they can bear or something they just flat aren't interested in. And that's ok. I don't think that nursing more than one child at a time makes you a better mother. (Remember, breastfeeding is not a contest!) For me, nursing two children just seemed a lot less stressful than weaning my first daughter before she was ready.
It seems that often times mothers become pregnant before their nursling is physically or emotionally ready to wean. (Can you imagine having four children under the age of four, all of whom were still nursing?!) Continuing to nurse thru pregnancy and beyond is considered safe for most women, and can be rewarding for both mother and the nurslings. Simultaneous tandem nursing allows mom to rest and relax while nourishing and cuddling her little ones. (My favorite perk!) Being allowed to continue nursing often helps older siblings feel less jealous and more accepting of the younger sibling.
We're now going on 14 months strong (closer to two years, if you count the time I was pregnant) in our tandem nursing journey and it has been a wonderful, beautiful experience. I love those moments when I have both of my girls curled up in my arms, nursing to sleep, and the times when they playfully "fight" over which side is theirs, covering it up, and then falling over giggling.
Of course, there have been times when I have had to limit Gigi's nursing, whether because her sister is getting distracted (wanting to play), or because my milk supply is low, or because I'm just too "touched out". Sometimes there have been tears of protest and rejection, but I feel fortunate that, for the most part, Gigi has been very understanding and cooperative.
I'm starting to feel ready for her to wean now. I'm glad that she's at an age (she'll be four in October) that we can talk about weaning and she understands. She's been taking baby steps towards weaning over the past year, and says she's going to be done when she's four... I hope she is, but we'll see! Until then, I'm just trying to cherish sweet moments like these...
|Photo Credit: Timbra/Landslide Photography|
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