If you’re a pregnant mom with a nursing toddler, congrats! Many mothers who start breastfeeding don’t continue, and you have defeated the odds. If you don’t want to stop nursing when Baby #2 comes along, you don’t have to. Tandem nursing—or nursing two babies at once—is becoming more popular with the rise in breastfeeding rates and it’s perfectly safe to do: Your toddler won’t hog your newborn’s milk because the breast has the amazing ability to adjust to the demands it’s given. Plus nursing both kids has been shown to improve the bond between siblings and relieve engorgement for moms.
I want to give you some tips to tandem breastfeeding
Find the right position
Breastfeeding both children at once mean creativity looking for the right position. There are two main positions to consider: One is the “football hold” and the other is the “cradle position.” When latching for the football hold, you bring the baby to your breast and position her so her legs and body are under your arm, with your hand at the base of the head and neck—as if you were holding a football. For the cradle position, you cradle the baby’s head in the bed of your arm with his abdomen against yours, keeping him in line with the rest of his body.
Once you get these positions down, you can choose a number of combinations when you’re breastfeeding the two babies. For example, the baby can be held in a football hold and the other child in a cradle position or you may choose to double cradle, where both children are held in a cradle position, with the newborn’s legs resting on top of the toddler’s.
Have an order in mind
If feeding a baby and toddler, try to feed the infant first because of his more immediate nutritional needs, at least until your colostrum is gone and transitions to a lighter milky color.
Take a break
Tandem nursing can be exhausting—especially if you feel like you never get a break. A good way to cope is to try to sleep when the newborn sleeps and get the toddler to nap at the same time. The toddler will not feed every 2-3 hours like a newborn, so take a break and rest with your baby.
Get ready for the critics
Since tandem breastfeeding is less common than nursing one-on-one, you may get the occasional irritating comment from friends, family members or strangers.
It’s good to have a response ready for these moments. Something like “I have researched the pros and cons of tandem feeding and found it to be safe, plus it works well for our family” works because those judging haven’t typically read-up on the method.
Find the Finding a support group also helps surround you with people who support your decision. La Leche League is the go-to organization when it comes to support for breastfeeding and a great resource for local groups. Otherwise, don’t be afraid to ask about groups at your hospital.