I’ve written about breastfeeding a lot since I had Luna a little over three years ago, and I will continue to write about it long after our journey is over, especially as I feel like there are many more years to go on this journey (probably not with Luna, but definitely with our third and last one). I’ve written several times about nursing a high needs child, about nursing while pregnant, and about tandem nursing a toddler and infant and then two toddlers, and then even about moving into my third pregnancy while still tandem nursing. I have spoken to a few people who have nursed two children while pregnant, but all of them mentioned that their eldest weaned before or on the cusp of the third trimester. In addition to that, I have perused all of the most comprehensive and inclusive breastfeeding resource websites, reached out to them, and haven’t really received any helpful information back. So, I shall just add to my collection of breastfeeding essays, in the hope that I can maybe help someone else one day.
If you know me you also know that I am a huge breastfeeding advocate and I do believe that it is best for our children. I also believe that there is nowhere near enough support for breastfeeding women, and that women also seem to feel like they are pitched against each other for their choices in feeding their children. By being a breastfeeding advocate I believe in helping those interested in breastfeeding, or struggling and not willing to give up. I am not interested in forcing women to breastfeed, nor am I interested in shaming women for not breastfeeding. Formula has been developed to be a perfectly fine substitute as well as complete nourishment for babies, not every woman wants to breastfeed and not every woman can breastfeed. In any case, this is my personal story and I’m probably only halfway through this journey now, so there will be a lot more to come!
Luna is now three years old and Aurora will be 20 months in a few days. With Luna I had given myself a goal of one year of nursing; with Aurora I didn’t even bother setting a goal… And that turned into “we will stop when they want to stop”. So Luna nursed through my entire pregnancy with Aurora, and I have been tandem nursing ever since. When I got pregnant late last year again I was pretty sure that at least one of them would self-wean during the pregnancy, so we would just see how it went. I also made sure that my doctors were onboard (they are absolutely 100% fine with it), and just made sure I was getting the nutrients I needed. I’m also a vegetarian, and suffer from a lot of food aversions while pregnant, so it’s not always an easy task. In any case, I suppose the amount of Tums I have to take in the third trimester are going to keep my bones strong… e are now heading into the 31st week of pregnancy and neither child has any interest in weaning, both are actually interested in nursing MORE. I am pretty sure that both of them will be nursing while I am in labour.
Navigating nursing two with a big bump... No tranquil, non blurry pictures of that around at the moment!
I have reached out to some people online via different social media platforms over the past 20 weeks or so and while people have responded, breastfeeding resources just seem to refer me back to their tandem nursing sections, and other mothers I have spoken to have said that their eldest weaned before 30 weeks. I know I am not alone in this, I just don’t think there is much documentation out there. I would just love to speak to other people about how to deal with some of the annoyances of breastfeeding two kids through the last trimester, and also about navigating the transition to three. Because yes, newborn will trump toddler when it comes to boob, but the transition to tandem nursing was already tough enough, I have no idea how we are going to figure out nursing three together!
If you Google tandem nursing pictures you will come across loads of beautiful, peaceful pictures. I have a few of those too here on my hard drive, moments to remember when these years are far behind us. But most of the time our breastfeeding journey involves two toddlers simultaneously pulling on my top, one saying “dootiyah” over and over again (her word for nursing), and the other yelling “MORE MORE”. Or me nursing one after the other to sleep, only for the first one to wake up again just as the second has gone to sleep. It’s working on assignments while nursing a 36 inch child on my lap, or hoping that no one is going to say anything when one of them demands to nurse in the middle of a public area. I don’t have any issues with nursing toddlers in public of course, but apparently many people do. Luna has always been high needs, and still wants to nurse when she falls over, feels tired, wakes up at night etc etc. And I don’t want to force her to wean. I don’t think I could handle the hours and hours of screaming for days that that would cause.
For me, nursing while pregnant doesn’t really cause any issues until later in the second trimester when latching on starts to hurt, and as the weeks go by it gets more and more uncomfortable. This time around I have also developed some nursing aversion, and have to sometimes unlatch one of the girls and walk away to clear my head (this usually happens with Luna because her latch is more painful and she is just so much more demanding). It doesn’t happen all of the time, but specifically on days when I feel a little tapped out and tired. This pregnancy has been the easiest of all of them, but some days now I feel exhausted and just want to stay in bed for a few hours doing nothing. Of course this isn’t really possible, so I push through it most of the time, and try to explain to Luna that Mummy will give her a backrub/cuddle etc instead of her dootiyah this time. Sometimes it works, sometimes the screaming starts. These reactions so late into my pregnancy have made me really start to wonder how we are going to juggle it all after birth!
Luckily I don’t have any real physical issues associated from nursing two and growing a baby (my latest blood tests revealed that everything was within normal ranges, although my iron has dropped a little, which is pretty normal at this point and nothing some Floridix can’t fix). Weight gain is normal, baby weight gain is normal, I have some strong Braxton Hicks here and there but usually when I’m stressed out or upset about something, not while I am nursing. So basically we have passed the 30th week of pregnancy and I’m still nursing two, so what used to be a joke between Cesar and myself about nursing three is most likely going to become reality. How this will actually translate into real life is another story, and one that we will face once we have to. I had better stock up on food as much as possible though because I know how ravenous I get during the first few months, and with the hours that Cesar works I’m going to have to count on a lot of pre-birth-made frozen meals and one-pot crockpot soups and stews! And our very comfy king size bed that still seems to accommodate children and adults and pets without complaining.
If anyone has been in the same situation before I would love to hear your story, and if anyone is planning on tandem nursing during a pregnancy and has any questions, I would be more than happy to provide my own personal insight. In the meantime we shall continue on our journey and will provide other updates and stories as we progress through the last weeks as well as the first few weeks after birth. Is there such a thing as triple nursing?! (Apart from those with multiples of course, I always admire the commitment it must take to EBF multiples).