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Tandem Breastfeeding

mother and babies

Double the Love: Navigating the Joys and Challenges of Tandem Breastfeeding

Author: Dr. Jimi Francis, PhD, IBCLC, RDN, LD, RLC

As a lactation consultant, I’m often asked for information about tandem breastfeeding, which occurs when a mother breastfeeds both her newborn baby and her older child concurrently, either during pregnancy or after the birth of the new baby.

Tandem breastfeeding ensures that both the newborn and the older child continue to receive the nutritional benefits of breast milk. Breast milk is a rich source of essential nutrients, antibodies, and immune-boosting factors that support the health and development of both children.

Tandem breastfeeding can foster a strong sense of emotional bonding between the mother and both children. It provides an opportunity for nurturing, closeness, and connection, promoting emotional security and attachment for all involved.

Breastfeeding can be a source of comfort and security for both the newborn and the older child, particularly during times of transition or adjustment, such as the arrival of a new sibling. Tandem nursing allows both children to find solace and reassurance in the breastfeeding relationship.

Tandem breastfeeding can facilitate bonding between siblings as they share the nurturing experience of breastfeeding together. It can help foster a positive sibling relationship and promote cooperation and empathy between the children.

Breastfeeding during pregnancy and tandem nursing after the birth of the new baby can offer ongoing health benefits for the older child, including immune support, optimal nutrition, and emotional well- being.

Tandem breastfeeding during pregnancy can help maintain the mother’s milk supply, ensuring an adequate milk production for both children once the new baby is born. Breastfeeding triggers the release of prolactin, the hormone responsible for milk production, helping to sustain the supply throughout pregnancy.

Tandem breastfeeding during pregnancy provides the mother with an opportunity to prepare for nursing the new baby while still meeting the needs of her older child. It can help establish a routine and maintain breastfeeding skills in anticipation of the new arrival.

Tandem breastfeeding allows for a gradual and natural weaning process for the older child, as they may gradually decrease their nursing frequency over time, in response to their changing needs and interests. They may also change their feeding pattern as milk transitions to colostrum in late pregnancy as colostrum has a savory (salty) flavor compared to mature milk, which is much sweeter.

Tandem breastfeeding may present unique challenges and considerations, such as managing the needs and dynamics of both children, addressing potential concerns about milk supply or latch, and navigating the physical demands on the mother’s body. As a lactation consultant, I can provide support, guidance, and resources to help mothers navigate the tandem breastfeeding journey with confidence and success. Tandem breastfeeding during pregnancy and postpartum can be a rewarding experience that benefits both the mother and her children, promoting optimal health, emotional well-being, and family bonding.

©copywrite Dr. Jimi Francis, 2024