Oh, how I would have loved to been able to tandem breastfeed my two babies.
First, let me say how grateful I am that I have successfully been able to breastfeeding both my babies. My relationship with breastfeeding at the start with my son was not easy, but I love challenges and this was one parenting choice I was not willing to compromise on as a mother. My son and daughter are 19.5 months apart, so tandem breastfeeding just seemed so beautiful and the healthiest option for my babies.
Although I breastfed my son until he was 14 months and I was three months pregnant, I had hoped to go longer because my son and I did so well, had such a bond with it, and my goal was to reach two years as recommended by WHO (World Health Organization).
When my husband and I were ready to try to have our second, I assumed I would just naturally be able to tandem breastfeed. I had envisioned this amazing bond and heaven-like reality of my son latched on one side while his sister fed with him on my other side. But my body was tired. I had to accept that it was just not going to be what was best for us because I was running out of energy.
My whole life I have had a very fast metabolism, so fast that I have always had a hard time gaining weight. Especially If I am under stress physically or psychologically, no matter how much I eat, I stay at a low weight. Being a major food-lover, I have tried eating different foods to help it and even eating bigger portions to help gain weight, but no change.
Although I am this way, I have tested negative for any blood sugar abnormalities and I have never been high-risk nor “medically abnormal” because I have never missed a cycle (even after having babies and while breastfeeding), and I have always been able to produce enough milk for my babies, with extra to donate occasionally. This has made it hard to look for the right support in knowing how to encourage my body to maintain and gain weight during pregnancy while still breastfeeding.
During my second pregnancy my body dictated nutrients mostly to my daughter, so trying to continue to breastfeed my son was getting more and more difficult. Again, I do feel so lucky and grateful because we made it to 14 months, and my son weaned so gracefully and without any difficulty.
I am very blessed because after a difficult loss I have had two very healthy and beautiful pregnancies, followed by even more healthy and beautiful babies! My breastfeeding relationships with each of them have been natural, beautiful, and I have to say mostly easy. I know it’s not that way for everyone. I have had to fight for it, though. After my first pregnancy and loss at 13 weeks, my second pregnancy was positive and great; however, in the back of my mind I was anxious because I couldn’t handle losing another baby.
I had dreamed about being a mother since I was a little girl. I fantasized about my labor and birth being serene and natural; I wanted a non–medicalised, non–invasive environment where I would be natural and left for my body to work with my baby’s during labor. Then have that beautiful, bring baby-to-chest moment and after just let baby naturally breastfeed at his own pace. I feared hospitals, drugs and c-sections, so of course an emergency c-section at 34 weeks diminished my dream birth. However, I still could breastfeed for my son.
We had a lot against us in the beginning, like never being allowed to just let him eat when he wanted to, or being told I was giving him too much for his small belly, or being advised to use a nipple shield even though his latch was fine, but we made it. He was never fully on formula supplement because I always pumped every two hours for the NICU to have plenty to mix half with it. After the longest two weeks of my life, we left the hospital with him barely on a supplement, and by 4 weeks he was exclusively breastfeeding.
So, when I became pregnant with my daughter I was focused on having an all–natural, non–medicated VBAC at a birth center with midwives. The dedication to my VBAC preparation was making me anxious, which I feel impacted my body’s reaction to attempting to produce enough nutrients for my son, my daughter and my body all at once. I did mourn a little over not tandem breastfeeding, but I had to be positive and move forward.
With future family planning I don’t know if I’ll ever be able to tandem breastfeed, but I sure will try. Heck, I love the challenge! And who knows, maybe I will unlock a secret about my body next time around and my dream of tandem breastfeeding will be a reality.
Here’s to all the amazing tandem breastfeeding, singleton breastfeeding, few months breastfeeding, couple days breastfeeding, pumping, donating breastmilk mamas, and all mamas who just try to do what’s best for their families by feeding them the best way they can – YOU’RE AMAZING!!
Be sure to join us in our social media accounts to be up to date with the progress of our project!
And… Don’t forget to share your brelfies using our HT #BreastfeedingWorld
For more of my lifestyle and mommy blogging updates, check out my Instagram page @PRbabywearingMama.