Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Tandem Nursing, an Honest Look

Anonymous said...
How did your little boy handle nursing during pregnancy? Did you have supply issues at any point? -Victoria (contemplating tandem nursing myself) :)

Thanks for asking. Well, Master J was only 8 months old when I became pregnant with Miss R so our experiences may or may not be different. In retrospect, I think if Master J had been older...well...I'm getting ahead of myself.

The Husband and I are open to life and so at 8 months post-partum it was not too much of a shock to be looking at a positive pregnancy test. I had come to believe at this point in the many benefits of extended breastfeeding and agree to a certain extent in child led weaning, so I knew Master J would continue to nurse as long as he wished. I was committed to nursing him through this pregnancy and beyond especially since had Miss R not decided to make an appearance I would have been nursing Master J until age 2 at the very least. I knew that it might not be easy. I had friends going through it at the time and I read THE BOOK so I was "prepared" for what may come.


Actually, nursing through pregnancy wasn't too big a deal for me. My supply did dwindle down to virtually nothing (within the first trimester), but I didn't have any serious pain or discomfort or negative feelings (until the last two months) to speak about. The main concern I had early on was making sure we were meeting Master J's nutritional needs. I really really didn't want to give him formula, so we tried to give him a super balanced diet of solids and rice milk. It may not have been the best solution, but it worked for us at the time. If this were to be an issue again, I don't know if I would make the same decisions regarding diet.

Two months before Miss R was born I started to get seriously annoyed while nursing Master J. I never offered the breast anymore and dreaded the moments when he would ask. I can't really explain it. There were actually moments when I wanted to rip him off the breast and throw him across the room (obviously, that never actually happened!). I'm sure it was hormonal, but all the same nursing became this horrible obligation. The commitment I had made to myself and Master J was really the only thing that kept our nursing relationship alive.

Intellectually I knew I was doing the right thing, but emotionally it was HARD. I became afraid that I would NEVER enjoy nursing again and did not know what I would do when Miss R was born. Would I hate nursing her too? Would nursing Master J always come with these horrible feelings?

Well, Miss R was born. Nursing her was so natural and beautiful. That was a double bonus for me as I had problems nursing Master J when he was born. To my surprise, the next morning when my son bounded into my bed (we had a birth center birth and went home four hours after delivery) I was ready and willing to nurse him. The picture I posted below was the first time I nursed them simultaneously (Miss R was less than one day old!!). Wow! Words cannot describe.

So today, almost 7 weeks later, are we still in a euphoric state? Not quite. Master J is back to nursing full steam ahead (he had been down to maybe twice a day) and obviously nursing Miss R takes up quite a bit of time as well. I am definitely touched out and despair that Master J will EVER want to wean. On the plus side, the whole ecological breastfeeding/lactation amenorrhea thing didn't work out for me last time (I got my first post partum cycle right on time at six weeks post partum) but seems to be working this we'll see. Maybe this natural child spacing thing will happen after all :-).

The big thing is, I made the right decision for my children. There were "easier" solutions (for me, at least) but they wouldn't have been best for my babes. As I said earlier, though, if Master J had been maybe six months to a year older I probably would have pushed weaning when I was six or seven months pregnant. That would have been the right decision too.

Oh, and it really is SUPER CUTE to see Master J try to hold Miss R's hand or give her nice pats while they are nursing. Maybe that makes it all worth it.


Blogger Lisa said...

saw your blog spot on in one of your postings....this is a great post. :-) I am also a tandem nursing mom and can totally relate to a lot of the things you said in here. Congrats on doing what is wonderful for you and your babies.

3:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you :) -Victoria

12:46 AM  

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