The Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy #30

December 17th, 2010 by Dionna | 24 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 happy to host a guest post by Terri. Terri is a natural-birthing, breast-feeding, tandem-nursing, baby-wearing, cloth-diapering, vegan-eating, co-sleeping, eco-parenting, yoga-practicing, nature-loving, home-schooling Mama of two babies! She lives in the Caribbean where she works as a freelance writer and blogs continuously on all aspects of natural parenting at Child of the Nature Isle . . . but only after her children are in bed! Here is her breastfeeding guest post:
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Terri tandem nursing her little ones

Tandem Nursing Two Toddlers

I conceived my second child when my first baby was just six months old. My biggest fear was that she would stop nursing while I was pregnant. I had planned to breastfeed her until she was at least two, and I did not want anything to get in the way of that.

Thankfully she remained latched on and suckling for the duration of my pregnancy, and after another nine months nursing we were so happy to welcome both the new baby and the full return of my milk. As I began tandem nursing, 1 many expressed concern that I was short-changing my newborn by not giving him all of my milk; they thought that my 15-month-old-child was old enough to be weaned (even my ob/gyn said that milk had NO nutritional value after six months!). But my toddling girl was still firmly attached to the breast, feeding four to five times a day, and since I had no urge to wean, we continued regardless of the comments.

I was really happy that my second baby grew chubby fast, in fact he is at the upper end of the growth chart, which negates all the comments about him not thriving despite having to share milk with his sister. Last week as I breastfed my children, one after the other, in public, a woman commented on how unusual it was, and we had a lovely conversation about it. I meet so many women who were told they must stop breastfeeding when pregnant; it is impossible to nurse two; and that they should stop breastfeeding at six months – so I am overjoyed each time I can share from experience that none of those assumptions are true and be a living testimony to the amazing powers of the human body and the wonders of breastmilk!


My little ones are now aged 28 months and 13 months and both nurse from morning to night, and my boy still wakes for night feeds too! I admit that breastfeeding my older toddler has not been without its challenges. I think her latch changed when I was pregnant and had a low milk supply, and with all those preggie hormones it was at times very irritating. Even now there are times I find it a little uncomfortable. To solve this I find that a little distraction is helpful for me to relax, so I often pick a book and read during nursing times. I do feel a bit guilty that I’m not using this time for the loving eye gazing connection time we enjoyed in the past, but she doesn’t seem to mind at all and I do feel that it’s important for both of us to feel good about the nursing time.

I love how close the continued breastfeeding is making us – from the regular relaxing cuddles to a feeling of connection even when we are apart. On the very rare occasions I leave my babies with  other family members for a few hours, I find the connection between us remains as my breastmilk flows in and ensures, as nature intended, that we are not separated for any significant length of time (otherwise I may explode milk!).


I have no idea how long our tandem, extended nursing will continue but it doesn’t look like it will be stopping anytime soon. I think I’ll be happy to nurse each of them until they are 4 years, although today someone asked me how long I intend to nurse for, to which I jokingly replied ‘I don’t know, but I’m sure they will stop some time before they go to college!’

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Breastfeeding past infancy 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 child who is older than one year, 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. (This series was formerly called “The Joys of Breastfeeding a Toddler.” I changed the name to reflect the fact that we are celebrating women who breastfeed past infancy, regardless of the age of the nursling.)

  1. Tandem nursing is breastfeeding two or more babies concurrently.

24 Responses to:
"The Joys of Breastfeeding Past Infancy #30"

  1. I'm a full-time mummy   imaftmummy

    Wow! Thank your for sharing this post! I’m so inspired with it. I used to think that breastfeeding has to go if we’re planning on the next child – until I came across an article in kellymom website which dispels this myth. Since then I do not think anymore or let doubts trouble me.. I’m still breastfeeding my 21 months old boy now, and as for the next one, I do hope to be like Michelle, to be able to tandem nurse as long as we can.

    • Terri Henry   onelovelivity

      Oh yes, Thank goodness for Kellymom – I have referred to this site so many times to support me in the journey! Congrats on your extended breastfeeding and determination to continue as long as possible.

  2. Andrea

    What a beautiful and touching post!! It is so wonderful to read about other moms breastfeeding past infancy. It reaffirms my choice to BF as long as my DS wishes. Currently he is 8 months old, and I’m already getting lots of “Are you STILL breastfeeding?!”. As time passes I’m more confident in my decision, but I admit it’s sometimes a hard and lonely road, as I have zero friends that have breastfed past 8 months. Reading blogs like yours helps me through the self-doubt and criticism I face on almost a daily basis (even from my own Mother!). I plan on reading all of your blogs in this series, and look forward to them tremendously!!! =)

    • Terri Henry   onelovelivity

      Thanks for your comment. It is a challenge to BF for longer when no-one else is doing the same…like you none of my friends have continued as long as I have and I don’t know anyone nursing two…but when I look at my babies as they nurse I know it’s the right choice for them and that’s what matters most. I have also continued to nurse in public which brings up conversations and I think it helps to normalize breastfeeding past infancy.

  3. It’s comforting to know that other women sometimes need to distract themselves while nursing a toddler. There are times when my 27 month old son’s latch irritates me (mentally and physically). I, too, keep a book handy to help me through those times.

  4. Jessica A.

    Enjoyed reading this. I have two boys a year and two days apart, with birthdays next. It is nice to hear another talk about how nursing the older one can be a little challenging at times.

  5. MomAgain@40   karentoittoit

    Great story! So glad to hear you just continued regardless the negative advice! Well done!

  6. Maegan

    Beautiful story! I’m still nursing my 28 month old & planning on getting pregnant soon. I’m keeping my options open and certainly don’t want to rush his self weaning process. It’s nice to hear that it’s possible and even rewarding. Our bodies are amazing, aren’t they?!? Thank you!

    • Terri Henry   onelovelivity

      Yes our bodies are TRULY amazing! One of the most incredible things for me was that as soon as my 2nd baby entered the world, my body produced colostrum again…just amazing! Good luck on conception and continued nursing!

  7. Beautiful! I love hearing stories like this! There are so many folks who have no idea its possible to nurse two, and stories like yours helps change that.

    I would have loved to tandem nurse different aged sibs, but as it turned out my combo of low milk supply and twins for my second pregnancy nixed that idea! I did get to nurse my oldest through 2/3 of that pregnancy, and now get the joy of nursing my twins. Its a really special thing and I love it!

  8. Thank you for sharing your story! I also nursed my first child through my second pregnancy and I am still tandem nursing. It can be a trying journey, but it truly is the best decision for both of my children right now.

  9. Nicole W.

    I was so happy to read this story, it is very inspirational. I am nursing my 6 month old daughter and recently discovered that we are expecting again. I am so concerened that I am not producting enough milk for my daughter now because at her last check up she gained less than one pound, when she was gaining two pounds between check ups. Also, she is waking every 1 1/2 hours during the night to nurse, and she hasn’t had a bowel movement in 3 days! This is not normal for her. I was hoping to nurse her until 2 yrs of age, but I will be ok w/ just one yr. Now I’m scared Im going to have to stop now and switch to formula. Any suggestions?

    • Melissa   vibreantwanderer

      Is she having plenty of wet diapers? This is indicative that plenty is going in!

      There is a big growth spurt right around six months, and it sounds very possible that your daughter is in the midst of it, which would explain why she’s super hungry and yet hasn’t put on much weight. Weight gains will slow now, as will poopy diapers for many babies. My nine month old used to poop upwards of eight times a day, and now does so just once every day or two. Anywhere from several times a day to one every ten days is normal. Exclusively breast fed infants very, very rarely get constipated!

      Keep your fluids up, make sure you’re eating a healthy diet with plenty of calories and you should be fine. If you’re still worried, you can consult this great list of lactogenic foods (foods that increase milk production)and herbs: http://www.mobimotherhood.org/MM/article-diet.aspx

      You’re doing great!

      • Dionna   CodeNameMama

        Nicole – there are also several responses to your question on my Facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/CodeNameMama
        Look at my posts from today (12/21), you’ll see your question & this post linked.

      • Terri Henry   onelovelivity

        Great responses through the facebook page! My daughter was very slow to gain weight and I was told I had to use formula. Instead I stepped up on the number and amount of solid foods I introduced her to at this stage. This helped her through the low milk period and we were both delighted when my milk came back in fully! Once you think she has enough wet diapers she is likely getting enough. I also found the book Adventures in Tandem Nursing a fantastic resource to answer many of my questions. All the best with your pregnancy and continued tandem nursing!

  10. Thanks for this success story! I’m nursing my 14 month old & just found out I’m expecting again. Even DH asked if I was going to wean my son. :( He has an eating issue & doesn’t eat solids (he’s been in OT for 4 months for it) so I KNOW he’s not ready to wean…add in his food sensitivities (gluten, milk protein, and soy protein) and he’d really be in deep water w/o my “milkies”. I always said I’d nurse until at least 2, but if he wants to go longer, FINE by me!! It looks like I’ll be continuously nursing for about 4 years easily! I hope & pray that we are as successful & that next summer I can learn to tandem nurse my 2!

  11. Danielle   tanzer13

    This is a great story! Thank you so much for sharing!! I nursed my son for 20 months when he was ready to wean himself. I now have a 7 month old and we are hoping to maybe be pregnant again in the near future :-) My only question is what did you do when you were in the hospital with your newborn for the older baby? Did you pump ahead of time and have cups or bottles ready for your older one? Did they just drink cows milk while you were away? Thanks!!!
    :-)

    • Terri Henry   onelovelivity

      I had a home waterbirth for my second baby – it was incredible and one of the best things was my baby girl being there, welcoming her new brother and us all settling down in the same bed that same night for cuddles and Mama’s milk! Do you have the option of a homebirth? Because the milk turns to colostrum when the newborn arrives I think that might make pumping a challenge.

      My baby did have to have 4 days in hospital when he was just 3 weeks old as he had a chest infection and when this happened I just had my older one visit as much as possible during my stay to top up on milk so this could be done if you were in the hospital for birthing too I guess :-)Hope that helps!

      • Danielle   tanzer13

        Thanks for your response Terri! A homebirth is not an option for us, at least at this point… For some reason my body does not like to go into labor on its own and I have had to be induced both times with our children. We almost lost our son since we did not realize what was going on (he was our first). So unless future pregnancies are different for me it looks like I will need to be induced every time :-( But I am not pregnant again yet, so this is all future thinking at this point! :-)

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