The Joys of Breastfeeding a Toddler #12

June 23rd, 2010 by Dionna | 42 Comments
Posted in Breastfeeding/Lactivism, Carnival and Special Series, Compassionate Advocacy, Feed with Love and Respect, Guest Posts, Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy, Just for Fun/Miscellaneous, natural parenting

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Today I am pleased to host a guest post by Kristin, artist and mama of three. You can normally find Kristin over at Intrepid Murmurings, where she writes and photographs her attempts to embrace motherhood, nurture creativity, and maintain sanity while raising twin toddlers and a preschooler. Here is her breastfeeding guest post:

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tandem nursing twins

From two rooms over, I hear the scream and know exactly what it is.  A bite.  Again.  When I come around the corner, one of them is standing there, book in hand, huge tears flowing, and a telltale wet circular mark on her sleeve.  The other, her sister, is sort of moseying across the room, a half smile on her face, not exactly looking at me, yet also watching my every move.

Oh, twins. Two year old twins.  Double toddlerdom has its ups and its downs, that is for sure!

After a brief discussion of what happened (and some exasperated sternness on my part) I sit down in the “big chair”, and the injured party immediately settles into position.  Mokie! The crying immediately stops, she starts nursing, gives a sigh, relaxes, and cuddles into me. The tears stop.  Soon, her sister is climbing up too.  Moke? Mogie?  This is a loaded question — I know this is more than just a request to nurse.

I relent.  She eagerly climbs up and settles in — “my side!”  The bitee pulls off for a moment –“Dee Dee’s side” she says, pointing to her sister Delia, now happily nursing too.  She goes back to nursing, and soon they are playfully fiddling with each others hands, patting each others arms and faces, humming back and forth in “conversation”.  Within minutes, we have gone from storm to calm.  Now we are three bodies, cuddled together, lounging, relaxed, at peace with the world, a moment of calm and connection amidst days of non-stop action.

At these times, I often think of the struggles it took to get here — chronic milk supply issues, open nipple wounds, pumping and syringe-feeding, herbal potions and medications, careful, obsessive supplementing, bottle washing and scale-watching,  and endless (truly endless!) days and nights of non-stop breastfeeding and baby juggling. Those days were NOT the good days, nursing-wise, and I know so many, many moms of multiples who never make it past that part — the HARD part.  Amazing mamas who are never able, for so many reasons, to get on to the good, the easy, the effortless, the comfortable and happy nursing routine that we’re at now.

Though I know many women nursing toddlers, and quite a few nursing infant twins, I have yet to meet another mama nursing toddler twins!  You are out there, somewhere, right? I am so thankful to have this way to connect instantly with both my girls, to still be able to tandem nurse them to sleep each afternoon, to offer this easy comfort, extinguishing sibling rivalry and rotten moods in a single swoop.  It is truly a blessing, not a burden.  So many times I wasn’t sure we’d make it, but now, here we are, and I will surely miss it when its gone.

How lucky I am, how lucky I am.

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Breastfeeding a toddler (or a preschooler!) is full of laughter, joys, and heartbreaking tenderness. I am publishing a series of posts dedicated to the beauty of nursing toddlers in an effort to normalize this healthy and beneficial nursing relationship.

But this isn’t just about me – I want to hear YOUR joys. If you are nursing a toddler (or have in the past), please contact me and tell me about your favorite moments. I will include them in the series and credit you, your site, or post it anonymously if you so desire.

42 Responses to:
"The Joys of Breastfeeding a Toddler #12"

  1. Maman A Droit   MamanADroit

    So cool! Hubby and I both have multiples in our extended families, so we figure it’s a possibility for us, and I wondered how it’d ever be possible to nurse twins for as long as they want. It’s nice to see someone who made it past the initial struggles and is enjoying a happy healthy toddler nursing relationship with twins!

  2. pshouseblog   Rainbowsouffle

    Just beautiful! I love that picture of your littles sharing you peacefully. What a brave Mama you were for persisting even when it was rough and what a payoff you have now :)

  3. I was there! I nursed my twins to 18 and 21 months before they self weaned! It was so hard in the beginning, (they were preemies) but so rewarding! I miss those times dearly.

  4. Allison   canadianmumof3

    What a lovely thing to read, Kristin! I’m a breastfeeding mum of toddler twins as well. My boys are 18 months now, and we also struggled at the beginning. Breastfeeding my now preschool-aged son did not go as well as he self weaned at 7 months. I was determined to make it work with the twins. I’m not sure how long I’ll continue nursing them. I thought I’d stop at 1. Then 18 months. Now I think I’ll just let them decide. One of them seems less enthusiastic about it these days, though MUST be nursed if his brother is. No such thing as feeding one at a time around here!
    Congratulations on making it to 2 years.
    Allison

    • Kristin   sunfrog

      Thanks so much, Allison! Congrats on making it this far with your twins, as well! For me, I having nursed before with my oldest definitely made nursing my twins easier — at least in terms of having realistic expectations, and knowing the basics. My girls are the same — very rarely will one let the other nurse without wanting to join in!

  5. Erica   elosquirrel

    I absolutely love this. While I’m not having twins, I nursed my daughter to 18 months, and I wish I could have gone longer. I totally plan on nursing my new baby into toddlerhood!

  6. Jean   beanjeepin

    My twins are just 9 months old now, but I hope to be nursing toddler twins. My older singletons nursed to 25 and 21 months each, my short term goal is 24 months always, long term goal is CLW.

  7. Rita

    I know 3 sets of twin nursing mommas! It warms my heart to see them persevere and continue past 1 year. I am truly honored to have met all three moms.

  8. birdie   wyobirdie

    OMG I LOVE this series of posts. I’m still nursing my almost-3year old and our brief breastfeeding encounters are the golden moments of both our days. Thanks so much for these beautiful posts!!

  9. Kasey

    Love, love, LOVE this! I’m not nursing twins, just one 32 month old sweet boy, and I know how awesome a gift it is.

  10. Im there!!! My identical twin girls are 2 yrs and 7 months old. We had a REALLY rocky start too. I didn’t have an issue with supply well, over-supply and 8 wks of excruciating pain till I saw a dermatologist who said, “eczema”. 8 weeks of trying to cure things that were not wrong and making it worse. I am still missing a chunk out of my right nipple. I dont know anyone IRL that is nursing twin toddlers either. Nice to “meet” you!

    • Arch

      Hey Patricia,I’m in the same boat too. Nursing my 11.5 month old and suffering from eczema. The healing seems to be super-slow due to the fact that its gets no rest. Please tell me that it will heal for good. Do I need to keep applying the creams till I nurse?

  11. I have two toddlers, though I’m not nursing both. Only one. My oldest was adopted as a newborn and I learned I was expecting four weeks later. So, the oldest was not nursed (but did get breastmilk after her sister was born). I’ve tried to see if she could get the hang of breastfeeding after bottle feeding so long and it just didn’t happen. My youngest is still nursing, though.

    I can empathize with the ups and downs of two toddlers, though I can only imagine your struggles with the early times of nursing. Congratulations on your perseverance!

  12. Leigh

    I am nursing my 17 month old. He is getting his eye teeth, so we are nursing a lot right now. This is in so may ways the easy part. Remember obsessing over positions. cradle, cross cradle, rugby… Now we do Mummy’s tired and just takes off her shirt and lets him have at it. Yesterday he got a nip in while we were putting on his pants.

  13. Yay for finding another nursing twin mama! I nursed my boy/girl twins for two years, four months and 22 days. I too felt isolated, not knowing any other moms of twins that nursed beyond infancy. I loved how nursing could defuse a situation or comfort an injured child. I could tell how serious in injury was by how quickly they calmed down when offered my breast. It definitely wasn’t easy but it was so very worth it!

    • Kristin   sunfrog

      Thanks Sandi! I totally agree on your nursing/injury assessment, ha ha! Although twice one of my twins has hurt herself BADLY (mouth injuries, no less) and still calmed right down with nursing. Which is awesome, and made me sooooooooo glad to be a nursing mama.

  14. Natalie   babywearingitup

    Love it! I haven’t breastfed twins, but my two are 12 months apart, so that counts for something, right? ;) They are now 14 and 26 months… and it is so much easier now!

  15. marrie

    I’m currently nursing my 15 month old twins, our start was rocky as well. After 9 days in the nicu and a month of round the clock pumping and bottle feeding, the past 12 (or so) months of nursing have been almost a piece of cake. Whenever people ask me how I do it, I’m slightly shocked, because I feel like nursing is FAR more easy than bottle feeding. I am really grateful for my “easy” experiences nursing my older three children, because if I hadn’t had those experiences before the twins, I may have given up during that first difficult month. I feel like I made it through that time with sheer determination, and a lot of support from LC’s and a little luck!

    Now my first goal is to make it to two years with them, and to see how we all feel about it after that. There are nights when everyone wants to nurse all night where I wonder about weaning sometime soon, but in the morning I always realize that in the long run the good far outweighs the bad.

    • Kristin   sunfrog

      So good to hear from you, Marrie! Congrats on making it through the early days & beyond — that sounds really hard! Nursing always seemed much easier than bottle feeding to me, too (once we got past the initial challenges, anyway), and definitely easier than pumping (which I know so many twin mamas do, too). Good luck with your marathon nights — I know the feeling!

  16. Our Sentiments   oursentiments

    That was beautiful. I was always interested and very fond of tandem nursing. I have one and know how hard it was for me, never mind adding another to the mix. Congrads to all you moms who tandem!

  17. Marilyn   ALotofLoves

    I think it’s fantastic that you were able to persevere through those rough times. I don’t have twins but I did have a rough time with nursing and I have some idea of how rough it got for you. Awesome that it all worked out for everyone in the end. Lovely pic.

  18. katepickle   katepickle

    I breastfeed my now 6 year old ID twin girls till they were around 2.5 years (they both self weaned at slightly different times). After a very difficult first year of breastfeeding, tandem feeding toddlers was the best reward ever!

  19. Ashley Scoggins Smith

    I think this is great and lovely. I have 2 year old twin boys and am pregnant. We are still nursing with no end in sight. everyone keeps trying to tell me that I am crazy for not weaning them. But I know this is what they need right now. I am so glad that this is out there and you are out there. Kudos and keep on going. You rock.

    • Kristin   sunfrog

      You are not crazy! I ended up weaning my toddler when pregnant with my twins (my situation was opposite of yours) because I knew my milk supply wouldn’t be adequate (and I was really needing the space/energy for my twin pregnancy), but I would have LOVED to have continued with her longer. Kudos to you for listening both to your body and your babies and making the right decision for you!

  20. Joan

    I nursed my twins for a long time. You are not alone!!

  21. Jessica

    I just finished nursing my 23 1/2 month old boy/girl twins and put them to bed for the night. Every time I think about weaning them a situation comes up (like an illness, or a fight, or just a particularly hard day) where I’m so grateful we still have the breastfeeding relationship. Like you, it was all so hard, for so long, and I’m so glad I stuck it out. It is now effortless at a time when little else is. Thanks for the great article.

  22. Margaret

    I’m only nursing one, but your post touched me and made me smile. Keep doing what youre doing awesome mama!!!

  23. Julie Shiposh

    You’re awesome! I love this picture of you nursing them both. So precious!

  24. Amy

    I’m nursing toddler twins too!!! My girls are almost 32 months old and I just night-weaned them about three months ago. So true about them fighting over sides(boobies)!! We have that fight a few times a day sometimes! My girls spent over a month in the NICU but exclusively breastfed after they left the hospital. I too love to nurse and cuddle with both girls at the same time. It’s an amazing gift! I really enjoyed reading this. So glad I’m not alone!! : )

    • Kristin   sunfrog

      Thank you, Amy! Good to hear from you! I night-weaned my girls about two months ago, too, though somewhat half-heartedly (they are sick now and nursing a ton at night again, ah well!).

      Congrats to you for making out of the NICU with exclusively nursing babies! I know so many parents who have struggled with that & I think its a major obstacle for so many twin mamas. I was lucky that my girls were full term and were able to breastfeed from the get go (though we still had lots of issues, early on)!

  25. Lindsey M Nelson

    I’m trying to get to Intrepid Murmurings, but not having success :( I wanted to share with Kristin that I am a breastfeeding mama of 3 3/4 year old twin boys, we long-term nursing mamas of twins ARE out here! :) And big time kudos to you for nursing your little ones through so many challenges and all while chasing after an older child!! Thanks so much for this post, it really is heartening to see other older twins nursing!

    • Kristin   sunfrog

      Wow, so nice to hear from you, Lindsey! Congrats on your breastfeeding successes with your twins as well! Also, sorry my site was down last night — we host it here at home and the server was down, but is up now! Come try again!

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