Tandem Nursing

tandem nursing

The Do’s and Don’ts of Tandem Nursing

If you’re an expectant mother who is still nursing another child, congratulations! A lot of moms who breastfeed stop after their child’s first birthday, so kudos to you for keeping it up!

You might, however, be wondering if you have to give up breastfeeding with your first child when the second one comes along (or your second child when the third one comes along – or whatever your situation may be.) There’s good news – you don’t have to!

Tandem nursing, or nursing two children at one time, will allow you to breastfeed both of your babies, ensuring that they get all of those valuable nutrients from your breast milk. Plus, you’ll enjoy quality bonding time with each of your little ones – and they’ll enjoy quality bonding time together, too!

Tandem breastfeeding is perfectly safe for you and your little ones. No, one child won’t hog up the other child’s milk. Why? Because a woman’s body is quite amazing, and her breasts have the ability to adjust and supply enough milk to meet the needs of both children. Nursing two children can also help to relieve engorgement issues for mom, too.

Lactancia en tandem 4
By Francisco José Galán Leiva
If you’re thinking about trying tandem breastfeeding, here’s are some tips that can help make the process as successful as possible so that both of your children can reap all the benefits.

The Do’s of Tandem Breastfeeding

First, let’s take a look at some of the dos of tandem breastfeeding…

Do consider order

If you want to breastfeed both babies at one time, you certainly can; however, if you prefer to feed one child at a time, make sure you keep order in mind. If you are feeding a toddler and an infant, feed the infant first. His nutritional needs are more immediate, as his only nourishment is coming from you. Your toddler, on the other hand, is also receiving nourishment from solid food and other liquids.

If you’re breastfeeding twins, feed the one who fed last, first, during your next nursing session.

With that said, if your toddler wants to have a quick suckle and not a full meal, you might want to consider feeding him first. The baby will take longer to feed, and your toddler may get restless.

Do experiment with positions

One of the keys to successful breastfeeding – even for just one child – is finding the right position. The same is true if you are feeding two at the same time.

Get creative and try some different positions. You might want to try cradling one and doing the football hold with the other, or cradling both. If you’re nursing a toddler, having him stand up while you cradle a baby could work for you. Don’t be afraid to bring in pillows, too. They can offer a great deal of support for your children, and for you. You might want to put a pillow under the child in the football hold, for example.

Once you figure out the best position, you’ll be able really find success with tandem breastfeeding.

Do take breaks

Breastfeeding one child can be tiring, and breastfeeding two can be downright exhausting. If at all possible, take naps when the baby is sleeping, and try to get the toddler to take a nap, too. Also, you might want to consider only feeding the toddler at certain times of the day to alleviate some of the pressure; once in the morning, once in the afternoon, and once before bed, for example.

Do find support

Finding a lactation consultant who has experience with tandem nursing can be a huge help. This expert will be able to share valuable insight, and offer tips and tricks that will make nursing two children a lot easier for all parties involved.

You can also look into joining a support group, such as the La Leche League. You’ll find tons of great resources in these groups; plus, you’ll feel empowered to move forward with your tandem nursing experience.

The Don’ts of Tandem Breastfeeding

Now that you know some of the dos, let’s examine some of the don’ts when it comes to tandem breastfeeding…

Don’t listen to critics

Breastfeeding two children isn’t as commonplace as feeding one (and moms can face a lot of criticism about that, too.) Don’t be surprised if you hear people making inappropriate comments, or if you see some eyes rolling. Just let the criticism roll off your shoulders. You know what’s best for you and your children.

Don’t feel guilty

If are finding that tandem nursing is just too much, you might be thinking about weaning your toddler. Don’t feel guilty about it. Breastfeeding is hard work, especially when you’re doing it for two. Remember that you have devoted a lot of time to your toddler’s nursing, and you aren’t his main source of nutrition.

To ease the transition, have a talk with your toddler. Explain that he is getting so big and doesn’t need your milk anymore. Tell him how proud you are of him, and set a date for your last breastfeeding session. Make that last feeding session extra special by making it all about him; let your toddler choose where to feed and in what position, and let him nurse as long as he wants.

If you are fortunate enough to successfully engage in tandem breastfeeding, you are truly blessed. Remember to have patience, and above all else, enjoy this amazing time with your little ones. It will be over before you know it!

tandem breastfeeding

About the author

Tiny Fry PicSamara Kamenecka is a New York-born freelance writer and translator living in Madrid. When she’s not busy trying to mold her two kids into functional, contributing members of society, she can usually be found enjoying a glass of wine (or three), or eating ice cream straight out of the container. You can find her blogging over at Tiny Fry, and you can also connect with her on Facebook or Twitter.

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7 Things Breastfeeding Moms Never Want to Hear


You Can Keep Your Thoughts to Yourself, Thankyouverymuch…

Overall, I’ve had a fantastic experience breastfeeding my son for the past 22 months, without encountering many negative attitudes. But that doesn’t mean it has all been sunshine and roses. The 7 people who said the following things to me are now a lot more educated about breastfeeding, and maybe a little scared of me. So, let’s take a look at the 7 most annoying things people have said to me – the things breastfeeding moms never want to hear.

7 Things Breastfeeding Moms Never Want to Hear

  1. You’re still breastfeeding!? Why yes, I am. Was it not obvious as you can see me nursing my son right now? The word ‘still’ rankles me more than you can imagine! I am breastfeeding my son, ideally until he weans naturally. I haven’t even reached the 2 year recommended breastfeeding minimum by the WHO. The word ‘still’ always feels loaded with judgement in this sentence.
  2. When are you going to stop breastfeeding? I like to tell people that I’ll breastfeed my son until he goes to college, just to get them to stop asking such inane questions. My decision to breastfeed is none of your business! The truth is, I don’t know when I’ll stop breastfeeding. I’d like to let my son wean naturally, but I don’t know how that will work out. Or what if I have a second child? Will I want to wean during pregnancy?
  3. There’s no benefit to breastfeeding your baby longer than 6 months. I’ve heard this a few times, and never from anyone with any medical expertise. Clearly, you’re misinformed. Breastmilk continues to be perfectly tailored to your baby’s needs as they grow and develop, and is often the bulk of a baby’s diet up through one year of age.
  4. You know, you don’t have to breastfeed. This one is one of the worst. I’ve heard this when complaining about a breastfeeding issue… whether it was nipple pain, frequent night feeding, or any other thing that crops up and makes you want to vent a little about breastfeeding.  To the people who have said this, you’re right, this is a personal choice that I didn’t have to make. However, I’ve made the choice to breastfeed and I’m just looking for a little empathy, which you are apparently incapable of giving!
  5. How are you going to get pregnant again if you’re still breastfeeding? To the people who have asked this, why are you concerned with my family planning in the first place? How do you know I want, or am capable of having, more children? And aside from that, while breastfeeding can suppress ovulation, it does not do so indefinitely. Should my husband and I decide to try for a second child, breastfeeding will likely not stand in our way. Would you like to hear about my monthly cycles and signs of ovulation? No? Then don’t ask me about future pregnancies.
  6. You’re breastfeeding a baby with teeth? My son teethed relatively early, and well before he was ready to start solids. This brought on the frequent and annoying question of how I could breastfeed a baby with teeth. I get it… before I had a child of my own I was a little skeptical about breastfeeding after the teeth came in. But the truth is, it doesn’t change anything! Your child might bite you a few times, but that’s it.

So, there you have it. Things I hate to hear as a breastfeeding mom. Have you experienced these annoying questions? Share in the comments below!

You might also be interested in these articles:

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Natural Remedies for Breastfeeding Pain & Nipple Pain

breastfeeding pain

Breastfeeding Pain… Sometimes, Breastfeeding Hurts!breastfeeding pain

Even though one or two people warned me that breastfeeding can be painful, I was woefully unprepared for how painful it was to breastfeed my son for the first few months of his life! It is not typical to experience breastfeeding pain for as long as I did (read about my breastfeeding challenges here). Along the way, I tried everything to soothe my aching breasts and nipples.

This post shares my favorite natural remedies for breastfeeding pain and nipple pain.  I would take the occasional painkiller, but I focused on natural ways to reduce the pain since that seemed to be the best for me and my son.  Just one thing I would like to say before we dive into the natural remedies – it is important to identify the source of the breastfeeding pain so you can correct the issue and breastfeed comfortably. The products here will help relieve pain, but it is best to correct the source of the discomfort!

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. These are all products I personally paid for myself and use (this is not sponsored content) and all opinions are 100% my own.

Natural Remedies for Nipple Pain

Silverette Silver Nipple Cups

These are by far my favorite product to ease breastfeeding pain!  It is a bit more expensive than other remedies, but I think they are 100% worth it. They never wear out so you can use them for years. Silver has natural healing properties so wearing these over your nipples between nursing sessions will minimize pain and speed healing.

Earth Mama Angel Baby Nipple Butter

This is a natural, organic, and vegan nipple butter. I use this as well as lanolin (see below) to avoid nipple pain from breastfeeding, or to heal my nipples if they become chapped or cracked. It is a blend of cocoa butter, shea butter, mango butter and calendula, so it really promotes healing if you have nipple damage.

Lanolin Cream

Lanolin is a must-have for me! Lanolin cream helps to avoid cracked, chafed or sore nipples. If you have nipple damage, lanolin will also promote healing. Note, lanolin is derived from sheep’s wool, so the Earth Mama Angel Baby product above is a good plant-based alternative if you want to avoid animal byproducts. Lansinoh makes my favorite lanolin – I have also used Medela but Lansinoh’s is easier to dispense from the tube.

Medela Tender Care Hydrogel Pads

Hydrogel pads give cooling moisture relief with the natural ingredient glycerol. They are an amazing product for breastfeeding pain. The gel pads promote healing if nipples are chafed, cracked, or otherwise damaged, and they are also soothing through the cool moisture. It is safe to wear them between feeding sessions – your baby can nurse directly immediately after you remove the hydrogel pad.

Medela SoftShells for Sore Nipples

Medela SoftShells are designed to protect your nipples while wearing a bra (similar to Silverettes). You can wear them between breastfeeding or pumping sessions to prevent chafing and allow air to circulate around your nipples. SoftShells help your nipples heal faster if they are cracked or chafed. The shells are best for daytime use because they also collect any milk from leaking breasts – be sure to point the air holes upward so the milk doesn’t leak out!

Saline Solution – Salt Water Rinse

Rinsing your nipples after feeding with a warm saline solution can promote healing and reduce pain. Mix approximately 1/2 teaspoon of salt with 8 ounces of warm water. Soak each nipple in the water for approximately 1 minute, and pat dry very gently. I usually use a small drinking glass or bowl, but any container will do!

breastfeeding pain

Natural Remedies for Breast Pain or Engorgement

Bamboobies Boob-Ease Breast Pillows

Boob-Ease Breast Pillows are made in the USA and they provide all natural breastfeeding pain relief. They are made of bamboo and cotton and are stuffed with natural flaxseeds. You can heat them or cool them to soothe pain from breastfeeding or pumping. I found them very soothing for engorgement and also to help ease pain from vasospasm.

Lansinoh Thera-Pearl Hot-Cool Breast Pads

These breast therapy pads can be chilled in the freezer or heated in the microwave. If you have pain from vasospasm, clogged ducts, or mastitis, these will provide wonderful heat therapy. Freezing them for cold therapy is great to ease pain from engorgement or to soothe tender nipples. Aside from soothing breastfeeding pain, the pads can also be used when pumping – warming them and placing them around your pump flanges helps stimulate letdown and milk-flow.

Green Cabbage

Yes, this sounds odd at first. However, cabbage has wonderful anti-inflammatory properties. If you are feeling pain due to engorgement, placing cabbage leaves over your breasts will relieve the engorgement. Some women use cabbage during the weaning process if they find themselves uncomfortably engorged. Do be careful if you are not trying to wean – using the cabbage leaves often can reduce your milk supply.

cabbage for breastfeeding pain

I hope you find these remedies helpful. Let me know what worked (and didn’t!) for you in the comments below.

You might also be interested in:

snacks for breastfeeding period after giving birth Common breastfeeding Questions


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Tips to Survive a Nursing Strike

Nursing Strike

The Dreaded Nursing Strike

I have been fortunate to have experienced only one nursing strike with my son. It was a painful and frightening few days, but we made it through. My son had barely started solids when it happened. Suddenly, he wouldn’t nurse, and he refused to eat or drink anything else. He didn’t seem sick, but I ran to the doctor after 48 hours because he was getting dehydrated.

It turned out my son was refusing to nurse, drink milk from a bottle, or swallow just about anything, because he had tonsillitis. We started him on antibiotics as well as a painkiller, and slowly he returned to nursing. 

Nursing StrikeWhat Exactly is a Nursing Strike?

A nursing strike is when a breastfed baby/ child suddenly refuses the breast. It can be confused with self-weaning, but since it typically happens quite suddenly you can often tell the difference. While natural weaning typically occurs over a period of weeks or months, with a gradual reduction in amount of breastfeeding, a nursing strike is very abrupt.

In the case of my son’s nursing strike, he didn’t ask to breastfeed for several hours, and when I offered the breast he refused. At first, this didn’t seem to extraordinary, but as the day wore on and he also refused to eat or drink anything else, while continuing to refuse to breastfeed, I grew worried.

In our case, my son slowly came back to the breast as the pain of his tonsillitis receded. I am sharing my tips on getting through a nursing strike below, based on both my experience and what I heard from friends when I was researching what to do with my son who wouldn’t breastfeed. 

Tips to Survive a Nursing Strike

1. Check for a cause – such as illness or ear infection. While many nursing strikes are completely inexplicable, they can also can be due to factors such as pain from an illness, teething or, emotional upset after a new experience. During my son’s nursing strike he wasn’t displaying signs of illness, but when we saw the pediatrician I learned he was refusing to nurse due to tonsillitis. Once the tonsillitis was treated, he slowly resumed breastfeeding. 

2. Encourage breastfeeding through skin-to-skin contact. A lactation consultant once told me that skin-to-skin can work like a “reset button” if your baby is upset. I practiced skin-to-skin a lot through the newborn and infant stage, but then stopped. It can work wonders with older babies, as well, though, and helped my son resume nursing when he was sick.

3. Pump or hand express to keep up supply (and relieve engorgement). Nursing strikes usually last only a few days, but it is useful to express some milk to avoid the pain of engorgement or possible clogged ducts. Of course, it will also help maintain your supply, and you can offer the expressed milk to your child. I’ve been really into the Haakaa silicone breast pump lately for quick and easy milk expression (affiliate link).

4. Offer expressed milk in a cup or bottle. Especially if a younger baby (whose diet is primarily breastmilk) is refusing the breast, you can offer the expressed milk in a cup or bottle. 

5. Begin a feed with a cup/ bottle, then try switching to the breast. Your child may be more willing to nurse directly if they have already had a bit of milk. Offering expressed milk first might whet their appetite, so to speak, so they are willing to try drinking more milk by breastfeeding directly. Como Tomo bottles are very breast-like! (affiliate link)

6. Experiment with breastfeeding in different positions than usual. There are a variety of comfortable breastfeeding positions to experiment with. You can also try nursing in a carrier – this worked well for me when my son was in an easily distracted phase because it helped him to focus. You can also do skin-to-skin easily in a carrier. During my son’s nursing strike, we used the carrier a lot.

7. Offer the breast while baby is very drowsy or nearly asleep. This has also worked well for me. Both when my son was refusing to nurse and also during a distractible phase, he was willing to nurse if I offered him my breast just before or after a nap, or at bedtime. In particular at the height of his nursing striked, this was the only way I could get him to breastfeed!

8. Be persistent. If you are ready to wean, then you can take the nursing strike as a solution. However, if you feel you and your child should continue your breastfeeding relationship, be persistent in the face of the nursing strike. They typically last only 3-5 days, but even a longer nursing strike can be overcome if you keep offering to breastfeed and experiment with some of the ideas above.

Other Resources

When my son refused to nurse, I searched online for advice and saw our pediatrician over dehydration worries. Kellymom of course had great information, I also found these stories inspiring. 

Have you experienced a nursing strike? How did you overcome it? Share your experience in the comments!

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Breastfeeding Struggles? Where to Find Support…

Breastfeeding Support

Struggling to Breastfeed?breastfeeding support

If you’re a new mom struggling to breastfeed, rest assured, you’re not alone! Breastfeeding is really hard for a lot of new moms. Latch issues, pain, a baby who doesn’t seem to nurse enough, a baby who seems to nurse too much, constant night waking, the list of challenges goes on.

I struggled a lot to breastfeed and wanted to quit many times. I was lucky to have a supportive husband, but it was the information I found online, groups like La Leche League, and the support of lactation consultants are what really helped me to keep going.

It’s Easy to Find Support!

The good news is, there are tons of resources for women struggling to breastfeed. Online or in person, free or paid services, there is something for everyone who needs a little help. I’ve grouped resources below by type so you can find the breastfeeding support you need.

My list below is by no means exhaustive – it’s wonderful that there are so many resources for breastfeeding moms that I couldn’t list them all here. If you are looking for help in your area, just do a quick google search for breastfeeding support in your town or state – you’ll be surprised by the help you find!

Where to Find Breastfeeding Support

breastfeeding help

Breastfeeding  Message Boards/ Online Forums

There is a big variety of online forums / message boards about breastfeeding. The forums are really reassuring because you will see that many other moms have the same struggles or questions about breastfeeding. Two of the biggest forums are from What to Expect and the Bump. I suggest joining at least one!

What to Expect Breastfeeding Forum – This discussion board is filled with useful questions and answers from other moms. It is easy and free to join to post your own questions, and you can browse questions and answers as a non-member. You can also access the group on the What to Expect app, which I found myself doing a lot!

The Bump Breastfeeding Message Board – Similar to the What to Expect forum, this message board is filled with breastfeeding questions and answers. Again, you can browse without joining or go through the free signup to post your own questions.

Breastfeeding Peer Support

There is a huge variety of breastfeeding support groups – too many to list here! La Leche League is the most famous – it is global organization with a mission to help mothers breastfeed. There are local chapters that hold regular meetings where you can find help from the La Leche League leaders and meet other breastfeeding moms. Check their site for information on local chapters. A quick google search can also help you find other support networks in your area.

Certified Lactation Consultants

Lactation Consultants are registered counselors who have completed extensive study and training in breastfeeding. I worked with two lactation consultants when my son was young. They also provided invaluable support and answers to all my questions and doubts (e.g., is my getting enough milk, etc.)

You can find a lactation consultant by asking around at your hospital, checking with your doctor or pediatrician, or check this directory.

Breastfeeding-Specific Websites

There is a lot of breastfeeding information online, but some can be misleading. I highly recommend the following sites because they provide reliable and unbiased information about breastfeeding.

Kelly Mom – A site dedicated to providing evidence based support for breastfeeding, run by a Board Certified Lactation Consultant.

Ask Dr. Sears – A healthcare resource for parents, this link is for the breastfeeding page.

La Leche League – Online breastfeeding support from the renowned global support group

Nancy Mohrbacher – A Board Certified Lactation Consultant with great resources, especially videos to assist with latching.

The International Lactation Consultant Association – Information on lactation consultants as well as breastfeeding resources

I Hope These Resources Help You

This list isn’t exhaustive, but it is a good place to start when you are looking for breastfeeding support. Is there a resource you think should be listed here or have you had a great experience seeking help with breastfeeding? Share in the comments below!

You may be interested in these pumping tips and lactation recipes:

no bake lactation energy balls how to use your breast pump very berry lactation smoothie

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