What is tandem breastfeeding? This practice is getting more and more common and out of the tabu zone and refers to breastfeeding two children of different ages. In this article, we answer the most asked questions about it. Remember that you can always send us more questions, and we will happily answer!
Do I have to take any special precautions?
Most mothers are worried that the older child will “take” the milk away from the younger baby, and some mothers wonder if it is necessary to clean the breast after the older one has fed. In the first few days after birth, ensuring that the newborn feeds as much colostrum as possible would be good, which translates into ensuring that the baby is suckling often. But once the mature breastmilk comes in, there will be plenty of milk supply. An advantage of tandem breastfeeding is that breastmilk production is very high because the older child stimulates the breast to the fullest, so the little one has milk to spare. Therefore it is not necessary to limit the feeds of the older child. If you are unsure about this situation, you can always assign one breast to each sibling.
As far as hygiene is concerned, there is no need for special precautions. Little siblings catch all possible viruses, not because of “using” the same breast, but because the older siblings bring home all sorts of viruses. And there is no way to prevent the older child from kissing and interacting with their younger sibling.
Can my older child have colostrum?
Of course, they can. Colostrum will be a second super “vaccine” for them. The only inconvenience is that colostrum is a laxative, and the child’s poo will be more loose, and this may cause some irritation and result in a sore bottom.
My older child asks to breastfeed a lot…
Yes, older siblings tend to become more active feeders when the little sibling arrives. During pregnancy, children feed almost dry as the milk supply decreases, and when the milk comes in again, they start to breastfeed again a lot. They are usually always happy to breastfeed and put on a lot of weight, but because they suckle so much, there is plenty of breast milk for everyone.
Do I have to take any nutritional supplements or follow a special diet?
No, there is no need to eat for three or take any specific food supplements unless you are low in iron and need a supplement.
Iodine recommendations differ from country to country, so you need to check the general guidance in your local area.
What if I don’t like it and don’t feel like breastfeeding my older child anymore?
Tandem breastfeeding is not always all rosy; in fact, it can be exhausting, and mothers can have mixed feelings regarding their older child. These feelings are known as breastfeeding aversion, a complicated name to define an accumulation of negative feelings experienced by the mother when the older child asks for breastfeeding. What does it feel like? We could describe it as a feeling of rejection, rejection towards the older child, and the overwhelming need for the older child to go away. You feel the urge that they don’t ask for breastfeeding anymore. You want them to “grow up” immediately, and you desire to have taken the older child away from your side. You should know that these feelings can appear during tandem breastfeeding and that it is essential that you ask for help from your family and friends so they can take care of the older child.
Remember that in LactApp, you can find a specific section on tandem breastfeeding, where you can find much more information about it, and if you are a healthcare professional, you can find more information about the topic here. The App is free to download for iPhone and Android mobile Phones.