The thought of nursing two babies at the same time may seem daunting, but there are lots of reasons why a mom might want to try tandem nursing. If you have twins or other multiples, tandem nursing makes breastfeeding your babies easier and more efficient. If you have an older baby or toddler who is still nursing when a baby sibling arrives, you may not want to wean your older one yet, or you might want to encourage bonding between the siblings by nursing them both.
When your breastfeeding children are different ages, tandem nursing can help reassure the older child that being at the breast with mom is still a safe and comforting spot even with the new arrival. In addition, an older child can help with engorgement in the early days, and can help elicit the let-down reflex to make nursing easier for the infant.
Establish a feeding routine
Creating a feeding routine is helpful when tandem nursing. Although the older child may be really excited to nurse, it is recommended that you nurse the infant first, because breastmilk is the infant’s only source of calories and nutrition. This is especially important in the early days when the mother is producing colostrum.
Generally it’s recommended that you alternate breasts for each baby, but some parents choose to designate one breast for each child. This is fine as long as your milk supply is sufficient. Just remember that depending on the age of the toddler, they may not nurse as frequently as your younger one, so you’ll need to make sure that the breast is comfortable between feeds.
Try different positions
When you get started with tandem nursing, give yourself some time to become comfortable with nursing two. Try some different latching positions to see which ones work best for you and your little ones. Some common tandem nursing positions include:
- Criss Cross Hold
- Double Football Hold
- Same Direction Hold
Will I make enough milk?
Many moms wonder if they will make enough milk to feed both babies. The good news is that most mothers find they make more than enough – milk production is stimulated at twice the rate, so twice as much milk is being made.
If you want to try tandem nursing, talk with your pediatrician and/or lactation consultant. They can help guide you through the process to ensure that your tandem nursing experience is a success for you and your little ones.
Frequently Asked Questions – Tandem Nursing
– Can I continue breastfeeding and/or pumping while I am pregnant? In healthy, low-risk pregnancies, continuing to breastfeed is probably safe. If you are at risk for pre-term labor, you should discuss it with your prenatal care provider before continuing.
– Do I have to feed both babies at once? This is up to you! Mothers of multiple infants may find that feeding side by side is more manageable or saves time. If you are nursing an infant and a toddler, you may find it easier to nurse the baby first and the toddler second, or vice versa. Ultimately, there is no wrong answer, and what works best for you and your little ones is fine.
– If I have weaned an older baby or infant, can I reintroduce the breast and tandem nurse? Absolutely! If your previously nursing baby is willing to come back to the breast, and you want to tandem feed, you can do that.
– Do I need to nurse my newborn first? In the first weeks after birth, many healthcare providers recommend feeding your new baby first. This ensures that they get colostrum and have time at the breast to adjust to life outside the womb. Once your mature milk has transitioned and your new baby is gaining weight well, feeding on demand may look different for you and your two nursing children.
– Will tandem feeding cause sore nipples? During pregnancy, hormones can cause some nipple tenderness. This is usually relieved once your new baby is born. Breastfeeding two children should not cause additional pain or soreness. If you do experience this, we recommend reaching out to a Lactation Professional for feeding and latch assessment with both nursing children.
– Will tandem nursing help my toddler adjust? It may help! Continuing to breastfeed may help comfort them during the adjustment period, of bringing home the new baby. Mom may also find that it helps them to maintain the closeness they have had with their older child. One other benefit is that it may save some time if both children are being nursed at once.
– Do tandem feeding mothers need to eat more calories? Eating a well-balanced diet is important for a mother’s health, no matter what state her body is in. Nutrition during normal pregnancy and breastfeeding is no different. It is important to continue drinking to thirst and eating when you are hungry. Do not skip any meals or restrict calories. If you have special considerations or needs, please speak with your healthcare provider and a dietitian about additional nutrient guidelines you may need to follow