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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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!

You might also like these articles:

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Four Great Breastfeeding Positions

breastfeeding positions

breastfeeding positionsFour great breastfeeding positions, suitable for newborns and beyond.

These breastfeeding positions allow you to breastfeed comfortably. Lying down and laid back in particular are great so a mom can rest as well while nursing her baby.

Cradle Hold: Your baby’s will be on his or her side, facing your chest. His or her head will rest on your arm, and your forearm will gently support your baby’s back. A pillow is helpful, especially with smaller babies, but not a necessity.

Lying Down: Mother and baby lie down together, facing each other. This is a very restful position and can even allow mom to doze or sleep while nursing her child, so it is a particularly useful position at night (remember safe co-sleeping considerations if you will sleep with your baby).

Football Hold: An excellent alternative to the cradle hold if your baby has trouble latching, or if you had a c-section because it positions your baby away from the incision. In the football hold, the baby’s torso is tucked under your arm with his legs pointing behind you. Pillows can help bring his mouth up to the correct height to latch comfortably for a feed.

Laid Back: The laid back breastfeeding position is also referred to as Biological Nurturing. The mother lays back against pillows so she is slightly inclined. Her baby will lay against her chest. Gravity holds the baby in place so mom and baby can relax. This is a good position if you have an overactive letdown or a baby who is prone to reflux after feeding because it gives them better control over the flow of your breast milk.

What worked for you?

I hope this overview helps you find a breastfeeding position that is comfortable for you and your child. Which position is your favorite? Mine is lying down! Share your experiences or questions in the comments below.

Looking for breastfeeding tips and support? This might help!

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10 Common Breastfeeding Questions, Answered

Common breastfeeding Questions

Common breastfeeding QuestionsSupport for Breastfeeding Moms

When my son was born I sought support for my breastfeeding struggles and found excellent groups on Facebook and in person through La Leche League. After participating in these groups for well over a year, I’ve seen the common breastfeeding questions come up time and again. While answers to these questions are readily available on other sites like the fantastic and all-knowing Kelly Mom, I’d like to share my perspective here along with my personal experience.

Please note I am not a medical professional, and my goal here is to share my personal experiences rather than the scientific answers that are available elsewhere. In sharing my experience I hope other women can relate and perhaps have a more successful breastfeeding experience after learning what worked for me.

So, without further ado, let’s look at the typical concerns among breastfeeding moms…

10 Common Breastfeeding Questions, Answered

Do I have enough milk?

This question plagued me early on, although nearly all women do have enough milk. The best way to measure if your baby is drinking enough is to monitor their diaper output. At first I recorded each wet and dirty diaper on paper, and then started using an app to track it. This might seem obsessive to some, but it was easy to do and gave me huge peace of mind when I could easily look and see that his diaper output was normal. Find out about normal diaper output here.

do i have enough milkMy young baby is feeding constantly! Why is he always hungry?

This is a worry I hear from so many new moms, and I was concerned myself. I called my lactation consultant because my son was feeding so frequently. And then I learned about cluster feeding. His behaviour was totally normal! Cluster feeding is actually what helps build up your milk supply and it does not mean you don’t have enough milk.

My best advice is to get comfortable in your favorite breastfeeding position and just enjoy the quiet time with your baby. I didn’t think I would miss cluster feeding, but once he was older and feeding sessions were quick 5 minute affairs I did miss the longer stretches we’d spend together when he was cluster feeding. Since he tended to cluster feed every evening, I used it as a time to watch some tv. 

I have cold/ flu/ upset stomach. Can I still breastfeed?

Yes, and you should! I am writing this while recovering from the flu, and I didn’t change our breastfeeding habits at all. Breast milk is an amazing liquid – by feeding during an illness you will actually share antibodies with your baby so if they do catch your ailment, the intensity and duration should be less. You cannot transfer a cold or flu through your breastmilk! (And yes, I wrote this while recovering from a flu that only I had – my son didn’t get sick).

What medicine is safe to take while breastfeeding?

This is another question I hear all the time. And, it is an important one to ask because many physicians don’t know which medications are safe during breastfeeding so it is important to be self-informed. There is an excellent database to check – Lact Med. You can also look up over the counter drugs to see if a painkiller or other medicine you’d like to take is safe while breastfeeding.

breastfeeding safe drugs

Can I drink alcohol and breastfeed?

There are huge myths around drinking alcohol around breastfeeding and ‘pump and dump’ is a common term as a result. Good news… you do not need to pump and dump! While drinking to excess will mean it is not safe to breastfeed your baby while you are intoxicated, you do not need to pump and dump because as the alcohol is metabolized out of your bloodstream it is also metabolized out of your milk.

In addition, a drink or two while breastfeeding is perfectly safe. A rule of thumb is, if you are sober enough to drive, you are sober enough to breastfeed. I found great peace of mind by having a glass of wine during an evening feed. This way my son was fed before I had consumed even a whole glass and then I knew I had a pretty long stretch of time to digest before he would need to be fed again. Check out these myths about breastfeeding and alcohol on Slate.

should i pump and dump

My nipples are chapped/ cracked/ bleeding. How can I treat them?

I want to share my top three favorite items for nipple pain, with affiliate links for easy shopping. First, lanolin cream. Lanolin helped heal and protect my nipples when they were chapped and cracked. It is perfectly safe to apply right before a feed and it offered a lot of protection. Second, hydrogel pads. I wore these between feeds and they were incredibly soothing, plus I think they helped my nipples heal faster.  Third, Silverettes. I didn’t learn about these until I had been breastfeeding for over a year. Once I heard about them I thought they sounded like an interesting product but didn’t think I needed them. However, when my period returned my nipples became incredibly sensitive so I invested in a pair and they are wonderful to wear.

Silverette Nipple Protector

Silver has antibacterial and healing properties so they can be used in place of hydrogel pads. It is a bit of up front investment, but since I wear them at least a couple weeks each month it is totally worth it. They are also a product I can use for as long as I am breastfeeding, so I don’t have any qualms about the price. I strongly recommend Silverettes for any kind of nipple pain. Interesting note about them, they are pure sterling silver and made in Italy.

How can I get started with pumping so I have mik stored for when I return to work?

Many women are comforted by a larger freezer stash. My doula pointed out that when I returned to work all I really needed was enough milk for that day’s feed, since I’d pump enough for the next day at work. I didn’t want to cut it quite that close, but her words were reassuring and I only had about two bottles worth of milk stored in the freezer.

Breast Milk Storage Bags

Going back to when to start pumping, I am personally very cautions about creating an oversupply by pumping too much or too early. I pumped a bit early on, but only to replace a direct feeding session. To start storing milk for my return to work, I would pump first thing in the morning when my breasts were fullest. I only stored about 2 ounces a day, but this added up over a couple of weeks to enough milk for my son while I was at work, with some to spare in the freezer.

What do the acronyms EBM and EBF mean? What’s an EPer?

This is a simple but useful one! EMB is expressed breast milk. EBF is exclusively breastfed. EP stands for exclusively pumping, so an EPer is someone who pumps exclusively to feed breastmilk to their child. This might be due to personal choice or latch issues that prevent direct breastfeeding.

What is typical breastfed baby weight gain?

My son has always been on the smaller side. He gained weight quickly at first but then his growth tapered off and even started dipping down below his growth curve. I realized that the best growth chart to follow for breastfed babies is the WHO chart. Once his growth was compared to the WHO charts I realized it was quite normal!

My baby won’t nurse! Is he weaning or is it a nursing strike?

I have dealt with several nursing strikes, mostly when my son was sick and it hurt to swallow (or at least I assume that was the reason because he had tonsilitis). A nursing strike might also come up if your baby develops a preference for the bottle. In most cases, especially before 1 year of age, but also well past that point, your child is most likely not weaning.

Nursing strikes are frightening and can be frustrating. My first happened before my son was on solids so I was panicked about him not getting any nutrition. My doctor eventually gave advice that helped get him back to the breast – skin-to-skin. In the meantime I pumped to keep supply and managed to get him to swallow a bit of milk by cup feeding. The skin-to-skin was almost like a reset and he resumed nursing after a few sessions. The other tip that worked wonderfully was to nurse him when he was very drowsy. I would nurse him just as he was waking up or falling asleep from a nap, and in this semi-conscious state he would feed, even if he had refused 15 minutes earlier while awake.

breastfeeding baby

I hope these notes are helpful in answering common breastfeeding questions. What other questions do you have about breastfeeding, or how did you find solutions to some of these common issues? Leave a note in the comments below!

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