A resource to inspire, inform and empower parents.

11 Tandem Nursing Myths Busted

By Abby Theuring, MSW and Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC

The amount of misinformation about breastfeeding is staggering so it’s sort of surprising to me that when it comes to tandem breastfeeding the problem is that there is very little information at all! Nancy Mohrbacher, IBCLC, FILCA and I (both of us have tandem nursed) are here to help you navigate the world of tandem nursing myths.

Abby Theuring, The Badass Breastfeeder , tandem nursing

Photo credit to Maggie Cuprisin Photography

  1. You can’t get pregnant while you are still breastfeeding. Women get pregnant while breastfeeding all the time. Breastfeeding makes it more difficult because making milk suppresses reproductive hormones, BUT women’s bodies are all different and ovulation returns at different times for each of us.
  2. Your nursling will wean when your supply drops. It’s true, your milk supply will likely drop around the middle of your pregnancy, but many nurslings comfort nurse right on through that. Some will wean, others will cut back, others will stop and start again when milk returns and others still will nurse like newborns until delivery and beyond.
  3. The nursing toddler will take nutrients from the fetus. There is no evidence that nursing during pregnancy causes harm to the fetus. Breastfeeding is perfectly safe for moms with low-risk pregnancies. Women with a history of miscarriage or preterm labor would want to seek advice from a medical professional educated in lactation.
  4. The nursing toddler will steal all of the colostrum/milk. We need only think about mothers of multiples to know that this doesn’t make sense. Your body makes colostrum and milk for the amount of nurslings transferring the colostrum and milk. There’s always more.
  5. Tandem nursing is a free for all. Some people think tandem nursing means nursing a toddler and baby on demand. While nursing the newbie on demand is recommended for the development of a successful breastfeeding relationship and milk supply, it is not at all necessary to breastfeed the toddler on demand. Being touched out does not mean you don’t love your kids, it just means you have needs of your own and you need to pay attention to your feelings for you own emotional health.
  6. Tandem nursing means nursing 2 at the same time. You can tandem nurse and never latch both of the kiddos at the same time. While it makes for cute pictures some moms feel that this increases their feelings of being touched out. You don’t have to do that. Just have a one at a time rule if that works better for you.
  7. Nursing aversion is in your head. No, it’s not. It’s a real struggle. No one really knows if it’s hormonal or something else, but it can be very strong for some moms. It can end breastfeeding relationships altogether. You are not crazy, you do not dislike your children, you are not alone. You can experience this with either the older or the younger and you can even experience it without being pregnant or tandem nursing.
  8. You can’t bed-share anymore. If you want to keep your family bed then by all means go ahead. You’ll work out all the details by doing research into safe bed-sharing with multiple children and you’ll get really good at flipping back and forth to nurse both children during the night. It takes some time to find a routine, but it comes.
  9. You should stop nursing one child when the other gets sick. Just as with breastfeeding one child you should simply continue to breastfeed when anyone gets sick. The breastmilk is a protective factor for illnesses and if you keep on truckin’ as usual everyone will get their protection even if they do get the illness too.
  10. Breastfeeding 2 children will cause unnecessary jealousy. If anything breastfeeding will act as a bonding experience for the new siblings. There may be some jealousy when a new member of the family comes, but this is totally normal and it does not mean they don’t like each other. Change is hard and an adjustment period needs to be allowed for.
  11. Tandem nursing is for everyone. Not everyone will want to tandem nurse and that’s OK. It’s not for everyone. If you don’t want to tandem nurse then you do not have to. And you don’t have to decide right away. You can decide it’s for you and change your mind. Your breastfeeding relationships are your business and no one else’s.

Comments

  1. this was really good. I tandem nursed my daughter who is three and my 7 month old son up until 2 weeks ago. My daughter has reluctantly been weaning her last feeding right before bed. We said “bye bye” to it two weeks ago and I am so sad and so relieved all at the same time. I was definitely having an aversion to nursing her, especially after being attached to my voracious eater baby all day. But, now that she is done, I miss that quiet bonding time at night with her. Since we’ve quit, I have noticed more whining and tears at bedtime, but I’m too afraid to go back because I don’t want to have to go through weaning again. I don’t really know where I am going with this, I just wanted to say thanks for addressing the issue and for putting a name to aversion and being “touched out.”

  2. Thank you for this article. It is what it is. Nursing 2 children and finding a balance. And that’s hard, magical and fun at the same time.

  3. Stephanie kestner says:

    I just learned I’m pregnant. I have a 9mo old baby girl who I’m nursing. I also work full time. I want to wean my baby after a year now. Mainly because I fear it will be way too much. An advice?

  4. Hi this is so true, I am currently tandem nursing a 3 year old and a 1 year old and I’m pregnant (again). So yes you can still get pregnant (although I knew this). I am now looking into triandem nursing which is even harder to find information on.

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