Has anyone done tandem nursing?

Candace - posted on 11/21/2008 ( 14 moms have responded )

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Our daughter is almost 6 months old and we just found out we are expecting again. I should be about 4 weeks or so and I've noticed a HUGE drop in milk supply. I am taking More Milk Two but haven't seen an improvement. Any suggestions or certain foods that help with sustaining both kids' hunger?

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Emily - posted on 11/23/2008

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Glad things went better last night! I found it was easiest for me to count on at least an hour and a half bedtime routine... the routine itself lasted about 45 minutes to an hour, but the rocking, etc another 30-45 minutes. Then I wasn't disappointed when it took the full hour and a half, but I always felt great when my baby went to sleep sooner than that. Modifying our expectations is a great way to improve our stress levels. :)

Candace - posted on 11/23/2008

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We had a much better night last night! Ava slept much better. Getting her to bed is another story. It takes about 5 times of holding, nursing, and rocking her back to sleep before she is out for the night. I just bought some Brewer's yeast (I don't recommend the powder - it tastes horrible!). I also bought some milk tea. Hopefully all this will get us through the rough patches. Thanks again for all your help moms! It's nice to know there are other moms out there who know what I'm going through.

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Hi Candace! Sorry you had a rough night :( The early weeks are very much like that. My little boy began nursing VERY frequently - every 1 to 2 hours - in an effort to increase my milk supply when it started to tank during early pregnancy. Eventually he must have gotten used to it because he decreased his nursing sessions to 2-3 times a day, though he never whined or complained or fought it. We continued these 2-3 "dry nursing" sessions per day right up until the day I delivered my twins. And boy was he happy when my milk came back in! Haha!

Have you checked out the http://www.kellymom.com website? It has a great section on tandem nursing! I practically memorized it while pregnant - ha! :)

Candace - posted on 11/22/2008

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Last night was tough. Ava was up most of the night. She usually gets tons to eat and wasn't a happy camper. Hopefully she will adjust. I am bound and determined to make this work. I am more stubborn than my hormones! I do feel discouraged though. Especially after last night. I think she is going thru a growth spurt as well which doesn't help. THanks so much to all you moms. I really appreciate your support and advice!



Stephanie - did your little one seem to mind the drop? How did you help him thru - especially at night?



Emily - thanks for the colostrum info. I was concerned about that. I'm sure she will LOVE that part! She is very chunky and loves her food!

Emily - posted on 11/21/2008

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Yep, current research shows that the nutritional content of your milk as well as nutrients passed to a fetus remain quite constant assuming even moderate nutrition. The nutrients will be stripped from the mother first, before they are taken from the baby or the breastmilk... so if you start feeling tired, etc... that's a great sign that you need more nutrients, but you can still be confident that your growing baby is getting all it needs, and whatever breastmilk you have is still nutrient dense. :)

Rachael - posted on 11/21/2008

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That is too bad your ob does not support or encourage breastfeeding while pregnant. Any current research will prove that there are no findings that it takes nutrients from you or your baby as long as you have a good calorie intake and diet! I wish I knew about tandem nursing with my first. I was advised to also stop nursing when we wanted to try for #2 and unfortunately I didn't know there was any other option! At least I got 13 months with him though. Keep us updated on how it is going, and again best of luck.

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Hello mama! Congrats on your pregnancy! I work as a breastfeeding counselor and I wanted to second (and third!) what the other ladies have suggested - upping your caloric intake, making sure you drink plenty of fluids, and nursing through the rough patches around 12-16 weeks will be key in sustaining your breastfeeding relationship with your daughter.

I nursed through a twin pregnancy when my oldest son was younger and did notice a significant drop in my production at around 14 weeks. He continued to nurse throughout the entire pregnancy, however, and soon I was nursing three children! The twins are now 20 months old and still nursing. It can be done! :)

Emily - posted on 11/21/2008

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There will be PLENTY of colostrum for the new baby. Your body makes colostrum and regulates it the same way it regulates your milk... supply and demand. If your older one empties your breast of colostrum... you'll just make more. :) With #3, even though I had been nursing the entire pregnancy, it still took 4 days for my milk to officially come in. Both my daughters had plenty of colostrum during that time, and I was so grateful I was still nursing #2 because she helped relieve engorgement.

People still look at me crazy when they find out I'm tandem nursing. The funny thing is they have no problem with me nursing a 2 1/2 year old... it's the nursing two thing they have issues with. Since #3 was born I haven't had any supply issues other than having too much milk. #2 got sick and wanted more milk about the same time #3 hit a growth spurt, they both nursed enough to increase my supply, but the next week was torture while my oversupply got back to normal. :)

Candace - posted on 11/21/2008

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THanks so much Emily. I do have another question though. If I am still nursing and the colostrum comes in, is there going to be enough for the new baby? I don't want the new baby to miss out on the antibodies. I appreciate the support. My OB isn't so supportive. It's hard to find anyone who doesn't look at me like I'm crazy when I mention tandem nursing!

Emily - posted on 11/21/2008

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Adventures in Tandem Nursing was a great book! It had a lot of helpful advice, as well as good personal experiences from other moms.

Don't give up on the nursing. That is the one regret that I have from my first - I didn't have enough information or support at the time to keep going. Your body can handle the nursing and pregnancy at the same time... but it may decrease the production as a coping mechanism... so keep a close eye on your daughters output (dirty diapers, etc) to prevent dehydration.

Good luck!! I wish I'd known more with my first... but experience has helped in nursing #2 and #3... especially doing the tandem thing for the past 11 months. :)

Candace - posted on 11/21/2008

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Rachael and Emily.....thanks so much for responding!! It's so nice to hear from a soon-to-be lactation consultant and a mom with experience! I will start pumping. I just bought a Medela pump and will use it right away.



More Milk Plus does not have Fenugreek. Apparently Fenugreek can cause uterine contractions. It has raspberry leaf, nettle leaf, and alfalfa. I talked to La Leche today and last night and all she could do was recommend a book called Adventures in Tandem Nursing. My doctor has advised me to stop nursing because it puts so much stress on my body to feed myself, my daughter, and the fetus. I think my body will do alright. Women's bodies are built to be pregnant and nurse - sometimes at the same time. I do NOT want to give her formula. I have some frozen breast milk but it won't last long. She has been on solids for about a month and loves it. I may increase her amount but also offer the breast a lot more. She has noticed a decrease in supply and is very vocal about her disappointment. She nurses about every 3 hours at night which helps. I can't believe how fast my supply went down! I'm only 4 weeks or so. It will be nice to be able to eat as much as I want. We aren't telling anyone I'm pregnant yet so I'm sure they are going to wonder why I'm eating enough to feed a whole army!



Emily - good luck on TTC! Thanks again for the advice and feel free to pass more along!

Jinger - posted on 11/21/2008

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I had a problem with my milk not producing enough... I took brewers yeast tablites and that produced more breast milk

Emily - posted on 11/21/2008

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I've gotten pregnant while nursing twice. #1 and #2 are only 12 months and 1 day apart. Both times I've noticed a huge drop in supply when I'm around 3-5 months pregnant... then it picks up again when my colostrum comes in during month 6.

My first, unfortunately was weaned at 4 1/2 months because I didn't know it was possible to nurse while pregnant and the doctor told me to stop. The second time my daughter was 10 months when I got pregnant and she survived my dry months with solids and dry nursing. Now #3 is 11 months, we're TTC again (I love my kids close. :) ) and #2 is still nursing at 2 1/2.

I would definitely up your calorie intake and drink tons of fluids as Rachael said. You can also try fenugrek (does More Milk Two have that in it?). Check with your local La Leche League also, I'm sure there's women there with suggestions also, and it helps to have support IRL for breastfeeding while pregnant.

Also, your daughter is old enough now that if you're concerned about what she's getting from you, you can start supplementing with solid foods. IMO solid foods at this age are still better than formula (though I did give my first formula for 8 months. :( )

Rachael - posted on 11/21/2008

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I have taken many lactation courses as I am trying to become a consultant. Up your calorie intake and drink TONS of fluids also pump as much as possible. The stimulation from either your daughter nursing or the pump will signal your body to make more milk. The more "stimulation" the more milk you will make. The remedies you can take that are supposed to help with milk production don't actually work long term. They may increase milk production short term but is not a solution to increasing your milk production. I know for sure that you will need the extra calories to sustain all of you throughout the pregnancy so enjoy actually needing to eat more. Good luck I hope this helps. And congratulations on your pregnancy! How fun to have your kids close in age.

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