tandem feeding - any health risks involved?

(5 Posts)
Elpis Mon 19-Nov-12 23:43:56

I've been tandem feeding since DS was born nearly eight weeks ago. DD is 3.6 and has some milk after she wakes and at bedtime, plus the occasional snack if I want her to nap. I did feel slightly overwhelmed in the first couple of weeks, but she understands her little brother has first call on the milk and waits patiently for him to finish (although in the last couple of days I've finally worked out a way to feed them simultaneously. It was tough!) I could rely on her to relieve the engorgement when my milk came in, which helped.

The risk of osteoporosis never occurred to me, but I make sure I get plenty of calcium from dairy and take a multivitamin and extra vitamin D.

Given DS' main interest in life is milk, I think it's helped DD to bond with him. She likes to say: 'Mummy, you have two children who both like milk!' I made a big point during pregnancy of telling her that when DS arrived Mummy would have more milk, and he would drink lots of it because it was the only thing he could eat, but that there would be enough for her too.

The pregnancy hormones quite often made feeding rather painful, but I gritted my teeth and bore it. Sometimes it was fine.

Good luck!

AngelDog Tue 13-Nov-12 20:58:04

Congratulations on the pg. smile

AFAIK there are no health issues as long as you're not malnourished (pretty unlikely in the western world).

It's worth reading Adventures in Tandem Nursing which covers all aspects of feeding (or stopping) during pg and beyond. She does cover health issues. IIRC the only instance where there are concerns is if you're malnourished or if you're pg with twins.

There's also good info on Kellymom. She says (what I'd already understood) that bf'ing through pg doesn't increase the risk of osteoporosis.

She also says that if you're anaemic you may need iron supplements. I don't think bf'ing drains your iron stores though. Info here. I understood that your iron levels are very affected by menstruation - so if your periods took a long time to return, your iron levels are likely to be better than if they started early. I read that most women's iron levels haven't returned to pre-pregnancy levels by the time their DC2 is born. I had low iron levels just before I got pg with DS1. However, I didn't have any periods till he was 22 m.o. and even after being admitted to hospital after DS2 was born due to high blood loss, my iron levels were really good. smile

There are quite a few of us around MN feeding two children - there was someone who was feeding 3 at one point! Hopefully some more people will be along before too long. Feeding for a long while is recommended by the WHO who say 'frequently and on-demand till age 2 and beyond that if desired'.

It's early days for me - DS2 is only 4 weeks old. I've found it much easier than I expected. Before I got pg, DS (now 2.10 years) was feeding 7 or 8 times a day and once or more at night. Now he has 3, maybe 4 feeds a day, although they are loooong.

My DS2 is actually a really fast feeder, so only takes 5-10 mins for most feeds. DS1 was pleased at the prospect of more time to read books / me play with him at home, and is slightly miffed that we have to hurry those things to fit them in before DS2 finishes feeding.

Soreness during pg is normal - for many (including me) it improves after the first trimester, although not for everyone.

shelley72 Tue 13-Nov-12 10:11:29

yes we had read about benefits including protection against osteoporosis, but my friend is really beating herself up about feeding for so long and bringing it all on herself. Her doctor isn't helping. Hopefully someone can point us in the direction of some facts!

NiceOneCenturion Tue 13-Nov-12 10:04:10

Thanks for posting this, no advice here but watching with interest as thinking I may be in the same position myself. Was extremely anemic after severe blood loss with DS so have wondered particularly whether it is a strain on iron levels.

I did think that the long term health benefits included protection against osteporosis etc, but that short term it does affect bone density so interested in what more knowledgeable people have to say!

shelley72 Tue 13-Nov-12 09:53:03

i am posting out of curiosity as i may be about to embark on this myself and also because i have a friend who is having a bit of a rough time at the minute having just been diagnosed with osteoarthritis at the ag of 36.

are there any long term health risks (eg osteoporosis, osteoarthritis) associated with extended feeding a toddler throughout pregnancy and then to continue feeding both children until they were say 5 and 2? i know you would need to watch your diet and make sure you eat well but would you need to take any additional supplements to protect yourself?

i am very newly pg and my 2.5yo is still feeding - probably a couple of times a day. i really dont think that there is any hope of weaning her (and anyway i wanted her to self wean, like her DB did) but I am a bit concerned about possible health implications for me, and if things progress, how i will manage with her and a newborn (remembering the HOURS stuck on a sofa feeding). at the moment i am finding feeding a bit painful and sore sad.

has anyone fed successfully through pregnancy and then a newborn too?

TIA

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