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decision whether to tandem feed or wean 18 month as am newly pregnant

(18 Posts)
jumblies Wed 15-Apr-09 22:12:50

I have just found out that I am pregnant and can't stop crying. DD is 18 months old and is a very frequent and enthusiastic feeder, she is still fed to sleep and for naps and feeds about 7 times during the day but no longer at night.

I don't know what to do for the best. I had planned on feeding her till she wanted to self wean as she seems to get so much from it. She will be 2 Yr 3 months when the baby arrives and want to minimize any jealousy issues - with this in mind would it be better to wean now or tandem feed? I just can't imagine weaning her now as she is a very picky eater but equally I am already feeling depressed about this pregnancy (wanted a bigger gap as DD is quite a full on child) and can't imagine how difficult it will be to juggle the two of them.

Also, if I am breastfeeding whilst pregnant will this mean I will be leaching valuable vitamins from the unborn baby to feed to DD in my milk?

Am feeling so guilty and confused at the moment sad Would love some words of wisdom, I just feel so sorry for DD and want her to feel loved and safe when the baby arrives and not pushed out.

Jackstini Wed 15-Apr-09 22:22:07

I would go for tandem feeding - lots of mners doing it so you will have lots of support. I certainly found it eased the jealousy issues.
No you will be fine re vitamins for both your dd and your baby.
Just a possibility of something that could happen - my dd noticed a change in the taste of my milk when I was about 4/5 months pg and self weaned - she was 2.6 - but then has fed again since ds born! (now 4m old)
dd knows that ds has to have first go as he has no other choice of food, unlike her!
Good luck.

doulalc Wed 15-Apr-09 22:24:03

If you don't feel ready, and your daughter isn't ready to wean, then don't wean. Many women tandem nurse and it works out just fine for the majority.

You won't deprive baby of anything while nursing during pregnancy. Your body is pretty amazing at what it is designed to do and how it provides what is needed for both children...before and after birth.

You may find your toddler decides to wean soon after the baby is born, sometimes due to a taste change that some toddlers notice...or she may be perfectly content to keep going. She may have decided she has had before baby is even born and there won't be a question of tandem nursing. You can then read to your daughter while you nurse the baby, talk with her about a television show you might be watching while nursing the baby, spend one-on-one time with her while the baby naps....there are many ways to insure your love and nurturing gets spread around....

More than likely, she will be on fewer feeds by that time anyway. You might find she wants more than normal at first to share in being cuddled like the new baby does, but she'll go back to what suits her.

theyoungvisiter Wed 15-Apr-09 22:31:21

hello, poor you - you sound a bit overwhelmed, but don't panic.

I had my two boys with a similar age gap - slightly longer but only a few months, and I found it a good gap to deal with, they are just about old enough to understand about the process, but close enough together to be good friend when older.

There is a really good book called Adventures in Tandem Nursing which is all about breastfeeding during pregnancy and beyond. I found it invaluable and it gave me the confidence to carry on and see if my DS self-weaned (which he didn't). I am now tandem feeding and it's been fine and has probably helped smooth the introduction of number 2 into our household more than anything else.

DS was also very pleased with the arrival of his baby brother as it meant lots and lots of lovely new milk (my supply dropped in pregnancy).

Don't feel guilty or confused - you are doing a lovely thing for your DD by giving her a sibling, and although two is tiring it's also fun and rewarding.

theyoungvisiter Wed 15-Apr-09 22:37:23

forgot to say - when you say you are worried about "juggling two" do you mean specifically juggling two babies at the breast? It's not as hard as you would think.

Mostly they don't want to feed at the same time, and if by chance they do, in some ways it's easier than trying to occupy a fractious toddler while you bf the baby. At least it's a ready-made activity they can join in.

jumblies Thu 16-Apr-09 08:57:13

thankyou everyone, only found out I was pregnant yesterday and have been finding dd a bit tough recently with all the tantrums so was feeling very emotional as it seems so much to take on when I'm already feeling tired and demotivated, I feel a bit better this morning.

Youngvisitor, yes I meant juggling at the breast but I suppose I am daunted by juggling two children at all blush

Will check out the tandem nursing book and maybe get in touch with LLL. I live in an area where a lot of people bottle feed and tend only to feed till 6 months if they do breastfeed at all, so it can get lonely having nooone to share these kind of dilemmas with.

Thanks again.

theyoungvisiter Thu 16-Apr-09 09:12:21

there is a "pregnant and nursing" support thread in breast and bottle if you want to share experiences.

Also an extended bfers support thread, where several people are tandem feeding.

See here for pregnant and nursing and here for extended bfers thread

good luck - it is daunting at first, DS2 was much wanted but I did still have a [gulp] moment when I got the BFP. I found it was both easier and harder than I remembered - easier in most ways but if you have non-sleepers (BOTH mine are not going through the night yet!) it's also more tiring than first time round. But all in all it's been really fun and rewarding and the tandem feeding has been one of the easier parts about it.

Babieseverywhere Thu 16-Apr-09 09:57:43

Congratulations on your pregnancy

Of course you feeling tired and emotional, a tantruming toddler or a new pregnancy are tough enough for anyone, let alone both on the same time.

I just wanted to put down my experience in the hope it may comfort you. I have a "frequent and enthusiastic feeder" and she was 2 years old when her brother came along.

She reduced feeds to one in the middle trimester but upped them again. I was lucky enough to be able to nurse painfree throughout my pregnancy, just having to change nursing position more towards the end.

My toddler DD nursed as frequently as the new baby for the early weeks and I eventually learned to nurse them together for ease of feeding !!! However she did calm down on the feeds after a few weeks and upped her solids again.

All the nursing gave me plenty of times to rest and I nursed lying down whenever possible (more rest). Plus the toddler really helps engorgment

My daughter loves her baby brother totally, hugs and kisses him all the time and happily shares 'her' milk with him. I feel tandem nursing has bonded a close relationship between them.

You might find she self weaning before your new baby arrives (making the decision for you) but if you do find yourself tandem nursing just take it one day at a time.

Best of luck

jumblies Fri 17-Apr-09 09:35:53

youngvisitor I think I am just freaking myself out thinking about how hard it is going to be. I have a non sleeper too and I can just see myself spending all night alternating between DD and the baby and getting no sleep at all - and I luurve my sleep, or did hmm. Thanks for the links.

babieseverywhere thank you for taking the time to write down your experience - it is a great comfort to see that others manage just fine smile At some point you must explain just how you tandem feed 2 lying down. I love feeding DD to sleep at nap time as I get a book and we both have a nice rest on the bed. Maybe I am just lazy and am not relishing all the hard work to come blush

Babieseverywhere Mon 20-Apr-09 10:00:51

TBH when I nurse lying down I usually have DD on my left hand side and baby DS on my right hand side. I give DD a hug and a story book and promise of milk in 5 minutes. Nurse DS on lying on my right side. When he falls asleep I delatch him (he rarely drops off himself despite snoring hmm) and turn over and nurse DD on my left side.

I have nursed them together lying down couple of times by letting toddler DD lean over my hip and latch on to my 'top' breast, whilst I am lying on my right side and nursing DS off the 'bottom' breast.

But I prefer to do lying down feeds seperately, if I can


mummyhoneypie Tue 22-Sep-09 00:16:22

Thanks for all that - I have a 17 month old and am just about to give birth. Toddler is still feeding twice a day and hasn't shown any signs of wanting to wean despite very little milk. I just can't stop her as it feels to mean a great deal to her. Naps and sleeptime dependent though. Can anyone give me advice about what they do to put their children to bed? I am having trouble imagining it being ok - a bit worried about it.

LeninGrad Tue 22-Sep-09 00:19:33

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Jennylee Tue 22-Sep-09 08:22:03

although your milk may reduce, I only bf my baby 2-3 times a night now, and she was a boob monster, she drinks formula during the day (not ashamed) as my milk has greatly reduced and she was not wanting to nurse and cryng all the time before I even knew I was pregnant. I also feel bad for her as there will only be a 21 month age gap. I will feed her at night as long as she needs as she also does not really eat much.

Tambajam Tue 22-Sep-09 08:27:27

Don't feel this has to be a quick decision. You've actually got plenty of time to read a bit more and reflect on what you want to do.

There's no harm to your baby in terms of leaching vitamins etc. A pregnancy vitamin supplement will help you. Your unborn baby isn't deprived.

I tandem fed and found it really helped with jealousy issues and have nothing but positive things to say about my experience but everyone is different. Reading Adventures in Tandem Nursing gives some good perspectives as people talk about the rough as well as the smooth.

You may find that your supply decreases as the majority do and if so your toddler may come to depend on nursing less. My 2yr old still kept going despite the dry spell and kept going for many months afterwards.

Talk to some people and just take some time. There's no rush.

PortAndLemon Tue 22-Sep-09 09:20:30

You don't need to decide now. From your daughter's POV you have another half of her entire life so far until the new baby arrives, so you can make a decision in a few months and there will still be plenty of time. I do recommend Adventures in Tandem Nursing -- it's not all a rose-tinted view of the subject at all and in spite of the title there's plenty of advice on cutting back or weaning altogether if that's what you decide to do. she may even self-wean while you're pregnant -- DS did (although he was a bit older).

And there are no health issues at all for the baby with breastfeeding while pregnant (unless you turn out to be pregnant with twins, when according to AiTN most authorities do advise gentle weaning of the older child, not because there's any definite harm but because the research hasn't been done)


mummyhoneypie Tue 22-Sep-09 22:39:33

Thanks, I have just ordered adventures in tandem nursing.

Do mums who tandem feed, feed only one side to the oldest? Or do you just let her have as much as she wants? I know it depends very much on individual, but be glad to hear what other mums do? How long do you leave between feeds?

Also still interested in how you put your crowd to bed -- just practicalities useful - I am bad at organising and it is great to hear what others do - just to help me imagine and not feel totally floundering!? Thanks

Tambajam Wed 23-Sep-09 08:18:03

It's not recommended to save one side for the eldest and keep the other for the newborn. You could end up with very different levels of supply and be very lop-sided. There's a lovely myth out there that you will produce 'newborn milk' on one side and 'toddler milk' on the other. It's all newborn milk as you get reset at birth. It's better to have newborn and toddler stimulation evenly on both sides. Adventures in TN talks all this through and there are lots of possibilities. I used to offer the newborn first dibs at the colostrum and generally check the newborn was happy after that but it used to vary. Sometimes they fed simultaneously. Sometimes not. Sometimes newborn fed quite soon after. I fed on demand with the newborn and my eldest wasn't feeding so much in the day so it was more straightforward. I'm sure you know that milk doesn't run out in the sense there is a limited amount and will be produced on demand.
At bedtime I relied completely on a sling. Newborn could be feeding or sleeping and the eldest bedtime routine was exactly the same as it always had been. Sometimes newborn was also feeding while he had his bedtime feed. If not, I would be wearing the sling moved round under one arm while he fed. I always did bedtime by myself.

Babieseverywhere Wed 23-Sep-09 22:32:11


You posted on an old thread, you are unlikely to get many new replies on here.
Why not post a new thread I bet you get loads more useful advice, that way.

I am tandem nursing a 1 year old and a 3 year old. I sometimes feed them together one on each side in a rugby hold, but I still swap them over as the toddler chugs loads more milk than the baby. More often I nurse them seperatedly and they have as many sides/time as they need.

I am unclear what you are asking about putting children to bed, maybe you can expand on that question ?


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