Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Jonah's Adventures in Nursing: A Reflection on Tandem Nursing

Jonah's sleepy smile at two weeks old.  Gentian Violet at its best!
A simple cell phone picture, but his cuteness makes up for the photo quality!!

Nursing is going GREAT! Jonah is a champ and so patient with me.  We did a small course of gentian violet, but it was before the yeast got out of hand.  Transitioning from toddler nursing to newborn nursing is very do-able but makes a refresher course practical.  The lactation consultant visited us in the hospital and it was so wonderful to talk to a professional schooled in the knowledge of nursing!

About three weeks before Jonah arrived I weaned Rita. The pain was unbearable, she didn't fit in my lap due to my baby belly, and she was chewing on my breasts rather than suckling.  

I wasn't happy about this decision, but it was necessary for me to be able to function and be pleasant with my daughter.  I spent more time in the kitchen with her and I think she really enjoyed being my helper!  We also planned more outings and tried to stay busy.  Inside I was struggling with the decision every day, but we made it work so that I could remain a functioning momma!

Nearly an hour after Jonah's birth Rita saw me nursing her baby brother.  At first Rita only commented that Jonah was having "sides" (coming from saying, "Ok, let's switch sides").  She never seemed jealous, just intrigued by the baby nursing.  Then, one day about a week after Jonah's birth, as I was switching Jonah from one side to the next Rita tipy-toed up quick as a wink, said "Sides!" and latched herself onto the vacant side.  What?!! I tried to relax and remain calm...and it wasn't terrible! 

Since then I nurse Rita about once a day.  I usually choose the timing, as her timing is often at crazy moments or smack in the middle of Jonah's cluster feedings.  I haven't told anyone other than Tyler that we are tandem nursing.  There's no need to.  It doesn't change anything and I'm the happier for not feeling like I need to explain anything!

Rita's suckle is WAY stronger than Jonah's and sometimes her front teeth seem to get in the way of a pleasant latch, but overall tandem nursing is much more natural and far less intimidating than I had it in my mind to be.

A few times a week I nurse the babies simultaneously.  I've noticed that afterward I am totally zapped of my energy, patience and I feel like a raisin!  Tandem nursing necessitates me taking a B-Complex in addition to my prenatal, but the times I nurse simultaneously mean a long water break and meal shortly after.  This means that I usually cuddle on the couch with my two babies about 20 minutes before Tyler comes home.  He finds everyone cozy and then we feast as soon as he is cleaned-up for supper.  

Of course there have been days that Tyler gets home and I'm at my wits ends, but overall tandem nursing has forced me to embrace resting - and I love that!

Do you have nursing adventures?  Share please!

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  1. You go girl! Nursing two is amazing work!

    With our daughter, Amelia, we struggled and eventually supplemented and then eventually switched to formula 100% around 4 months. With our son, Joe, we made it 10 months, no supplements :) I work full-time and I am thrilled I made it that long. A HUGE improvement over my first experience.

    Thanks for stopping by our blog and commenting!

    1. Wow! Nursing is such a journey for momma and baby! So glad the second time around was better. :)
      You're welcome! Love your space!

  2. My aunt (a pediatrician) and Will's doctor stressed the importance of not only giving Will a vitamin d supplement (American Academy of Pediatrics recommends it now), but to start taking vitamin d supplements myself also. Apparently, most humans (especially babies!) are deficient because we just don't get as much sun anymore. My pasty skin is a sure sign of that....but that's another story.... My aunt started taking some herself after finding out that her levels were low and actually found she had more energy!

  3. Some thoughts...These are such hard decisions for a mama to make. Mamas have *real* needs that are sometimes very opposed to their babies' equally *real* needs. What's to be done? I am glad that you have found peace in your decisions, to wean... and to unwean!

    I love the bonding and the peace that nursing can bring a toddler. Equally beautiful is the communion that siblings can share together as they nurse. God's design, the ability to provide breast milk for multiple children, is marvelous.

    And as things change, because babies do grow, you may find tandem nursing no longer tolerable or or that it no longer suits your family's needs... at which time things can change again!

    Jonah's smile looks like Tyler (does it?). Drink your water and enjoy your rest, mama! (How did you know that it was B complex that you were lacking?)


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