Today I looked down at the faces of my two boys lying in my arms, safe, happy and content with bellies full of milk – the eldest is 3.5 and his brother is one year old. I’ve been tandem feeding them for over a year now and it is honestly the greatest achievement of my life. I never thought we’d get to this point – especially when I was told to give up breastfeeding with my first-born.
I thought my baby would know how to breastfeed
When I was pregnant with my first child I remember the midwife asking me how I would be feeding the baby. I had never really thought about it if I’m honest but I told her I’d be breastfeeding because I didn’t think there was any other options.
When he was born I was totally ignorant about the process. Despite attending ante-natal classes where it was discussed briefly, I just assumed baby would know what to do. He didn’t. By the fourth week, his poor latch was causing me so much pain I and my nipples bled so much that I started to refuse to feed him.
By the fourth week, his poor latch was causing me so much pain I and my nipples bled so much that I started to refuse to feed him.
My husband knew we could do it with the right help
My health visitors and GPs told me to switch to formula. Breastfeeding wasn’t working. But for some reason I decided to ask my husband what he thought I should do. He was breastfed until he was two and perhaps deep down he knew we could do it; if we had the right help. He’s always been so supportive of our breastfeeding journey.
A local lactation consultant came to our rescue. Within days my nipples had healed, baby was feeding and enjoying it. One evening as I sat watching telly giving him an evening feed I realised how happy and relaxed I felt. He looked very happy too. It was incredible.
The year that followed had its ups and downs. His sleep was very unsettled and I became a walking zombie. The only thing that kept me sane was knowing it was perfectly normal for a breastfed baby to feed all night long. When he was teething or going through a growth spurt it honestly felt like my breasts were magic. They could settle him anywhere and at any time.
The year that followed had its ups and downs. His sleep was very unsettled and I became a walking zombie. The only thing that kept me sane was knowing it was perfectly normal for a breastfed baby to feed all night long.
Once I got pregnant again I was told to stop breastfeeding
My period returned when he was 15 months old and I felt so blessed to get pregnant again straight away. Some older family members and even a midwife told me I’d need to stop breastfeeding whilst pregnant but I continued. Even when my milk supply dropped at 20 weeks, he continued to get comfort from the breast at bedtimes and whenever he needed it.
His brother was born just after his second birthday. When I came home from the hospital he didn’t want to feed because the colostrum must have tasted odd to him. I was devastated because I thought our tandem journey was over before it had begun. But a week later I successfully tandem fed them both at the same time. Watching them drift off together into a milk soaked, deep and happy sleep was the greatest feeling I’ve ever had.
We’re still tandem feeding one year on
A year later we still tandem feed. The eldest now feeds less and less. Usually only at bedtimes. However, I still feed on demand. My youngest is thriving and also enjoying all the benefits of my magic milk. It feels like a superpower.
A year later we still tandem feed. The eldest now feeds less and less. Usually only at bedtimes. However I still feed on demand. My youngest is thriving and also enjoying all the benefits of my magic milk.
I am very aware that compared to some, the issues I experienced in the early days are very minor. I feel blessed to have had such a wonderful breastfeeding experience. I’m not sure when my eldest will wish to stop. He might not want to as long as his little brother is still feeding. We will just go with the flow for now.
All I know is, tandem feeding has been the greatest achievement of my life so far.
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