I’ve always thought I couldn’t be a tandem nurser.
When I got pregnant with my second child, my oldest was only a year old, and still breastfeeding a ton. I started experiencing a lot of light-headedness, and had several near fainting episodes, in addition to losing over 15 pounds during my first trimester. I could hardly function, so I weaned my first daughter at 15 months, even though neither of us was really ready. When my second daughter reached toddlerhood, I enforced a few nursing restrictions, and she gradually and gently weaned around 2. I got pregnant with my fourth while I was still nursing my third. Thrush also decided to pay me a visit, and my son loved to stay latched on forever. Nursing stopped being something that drew us close to each other, and instead left me wanting to scream with frustration. I weaned him at 2.5, a few months before my fourth was born.
Fast forward a few years. I’m currently expecting my fifth child. From the time I got pregnant, I knew I would “need” to wean Nehemiah, my fourth. I wasn’t sure exactly when, but decided sometime after his second birthday, and before the start of my third trimester would be good. We night-weaned, which took about a week, and was so much less traumatic than when I night-weaned my third! We cut back to one nursing session a day… The bedtime nursing session. But we were both still enjoying our quiet moments at the end of the day. If I needed to be away from the house at bedtime, Nehemiah went to sleep fine for my husband. He even sometimes fell asleep for me without nursing. He might go two or three days without nursing at all, but then nurse again for a few nights. But by the end of February, I just knew it was “time” if we were going to do this thing. He’s two. I’m almost at the end of my pregnancy. I can’t be a tandem nurser. Time to wean. Right?
I snapped pictures of our “last” nursing session. This one is my favorite. I cried every time I looked at it the next day.
And then we went out of town. We were in a different place, and it was just so much easier to go ahead and let him nurse to sleep. Finally, I realized something. Our nursing relationship is working. I don’t feel frustrated when it’s time to nurse him to sleep. If he doesn’t go to sleep within a few minutes, I can tell him, “All done.” and he will peacefully unlatch, and just cuddle to sleep. He’s a lot more verbal than my other children have been, and so we’ve been talking about the fact that there is a baby in mommy’s tummy, that the baby is going to come out, and drink lots of momma’s milk, and that he and the baby will share. Now when it’s bed time he says, “Momma’s milk peease. I share wit da baby!” Melts. me. every. time.
So here I am 37 weeks pregnant and still breastfeeding my two year old. Right now the “plan” is to continue on throughout the pregnancy. When the baby gets here, we will talk about the fact that the baby needs lots of momma’s milk, because babies can’t eat other food, and that Nehemiah still gets momma’s milk at bedtime. And I am actually looking forward to them “sharing”! I don’t know what this will look like in reality. Maybe Nehemiah won’t be able to handle not having unlimited access, and we will have to wean at that point. But for now, I’m just enjoying the present. Saying yes to now. And choosing to believe that it’s okay to do so.
Have you tandem nursed? Was it your plan all along, or did it just happen? I’d love to hear your experiences in the comments!
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