Tandem Nursing: Everything You Need to Know
Tandem nursing is breastfeeding two different-aged children at the same time. It offers benefits not only for the mother but for the newborn as well.
Tandem nursing consists of breastfeeding two different-aged children simultaneously. In other words, when a child is born while their sibling is being breastfed, their mother keeps nursing them both. This practice is far from usual in our culture and current society.
According to the Spanish Paediatrics Association (AEP), 70% of healthcare professionals who treat mothers and newborns show hostility towards tandem nursing.
It’s essential for mothers and women wishing to use this method to be informed and to receive support. Truly, they should know which breastfeeding positions are more comfortable to nurse the older child during the next pregnancy.
It’s necessary to know that in the first months, the milk supply is slightly reduced. In the 5th or 6th month of pregnancy, colostrum is produced. As a result, the older child may start his or her weaning process.
After labor, it will always be necessary to prioritize the younger child’s needs. So, it will be necessary to breastfeed him or her first. No special hygiene measures are needed to breastfeed both children. Besides, there is no need to wash the breast or to apply any special technique.
Benefits of tandem nursing
The benefits of tandem nursing, as shown by studies, are the following ones:
- Improves the relationship and emotional bond between the siblings.
- The weight loss of the younger child is minor, as the older child receives good stimulation and breast milk production.
- Helps reduce breast engorgement.
These are some inconveniences we should take into account:
- The mother has to make greater efforts to nurse two children.
- Health care professionals’ hostility.
- False myths.
False myths of tandem nursing
It’s essential to debunk these misconceptions about tandem nursing. Here are some of those myths:
- Uterine contractions that occur while breastfeeding can provoke an abortion. This is false since the uterine contractions provoked by breastfeeding during pregnancy are similar to the ones caused by sexual relationships. So, they’re incapable of inducing premature labor or an abortion during the course of a normal pregnancy.
- Tandem nursing causes growth delay. This is false: breastfeeding during pregnancy has nothing to do with the growth of the baby.
- It harms the mother’s health status. Although the energetic requirements needed in tandem nursing are indeed greater, they aren’t great enough to harm the mother.
- The older one steals the milk from the younger one. The opposite thing occurs: the older one ensures a milk production that benefits the younger one and facilitates his or her lactation.