Tandem nursing or breastfeeding is when you nurse two babies at the same time of different ages, for example, a toddler and a newborn. Often this is a good option for mums who are still pregnant while breastfeeding their toddler and do not wish to wean.
This method of nursing is not for everyone and you should definitely do what’s best for you and your babies. But if you do decide to do it, there are some definite benefits.
Firstly, your milk supply increases as your breasts are producing milk for two; this will also reduce plugged ducts and cause an easier flow. Your toddler’s experienced latching can also benefit your newborn, who will mimic their sibling, creating an easier breastfeeding experience for you both. Breast milk provides nutrients and protection against diseases and is beneficial regardless of the age of your baby-making it perfectly safe to continue to give to toddlers.
You might be hesitant to feed both children at the same time out of fear you may be reducing nutrients for the newborn; however, this is not the case. It is recommended you initially feed your newborn first, but after their latching is good enough, you can move onto tandem nursing them.
Another advantage is being able to occupy your toddler’s attention as it can often be difficult to nurse your infant while your toddler wants to play. It can also help nurture the bond between the children, as they both share that special time with you, which can result in less conflict and jealousy.
Tandem nursing has a whole range of benefits and advantages for both you and your children, and it can provide a closer bond between a mum and her babies. However, if you prefer your one-on-one time with your newborn but you’re worried you’re toddler will react poorly you can lessen the days you tandem breastfeed your toddler and wean them off slowly (some toddlers may find tandem breastfeeding boring and wean themselves off without you having to do anything).
If you’re unsure about the best option for you and your children, consider talking to a lactation specialist or your pediatrician for more advice.