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How Still Nursing My Toddler Helped With Breastfeeding My Newborn

When I was pregnant with my daughter I never imagined that I would still be breastfeeding her at 2 years old. Or beyond 2.

Despite a few disapproving comments, most people don’t realize that I’m still nursing my toddler 1-2 times a day. I thought she would wean during my pregnancy, but she kept going. There are days I wish there was only one nursling when I’m feeling touched out or she’s acting particularly jealous of her brother. Most days I don’t mind as it always gives us some quiet one on one time before bed.

Continuing to nurse my toddler actually turned out to be very helpful for Mr. X’s birthday.

Snuggle one, nurse the other.

Snuggle one, nurse the other.

How Still Nursing My Toddler Helped Me Breastfeed My Newborn

Breastfeeding my toddler stimulated my labor and helped my contractions progress. I have no idea how much longer it would have taken for X to arrive if I hadn’t tried to nurse Rissa at nap time. My contractions jumped from 4 minutes apart to less than 2 minutes apart and transitioning. It was almost too fast!

My milk was already in. My son was born with low blood sugar due to my gestational diabetes. One of the nurses started talking about supplementing with formula if our first breastfeeding session was not successful and I couldn’t get his blood sugar up. Thankfully my doula was thinking clearly for me and asked if I could pump if he didn’t latch well.

That nurse said sure but I probably wouldn’t get much colostrum out…. until we informed her that I was still nursing my daughter.

X had a full belly with every nursing session from the moment he was born. With my milk already in, he gained weight back quicker than my daughter did and had no further issues with his blood sugar levels.

I felt confident in proper latching and positioning. I felt comfortable with everything about nursing. Baby X didn’t sense anxiety from me like Rissa did as I learned to bring her properly to the breast. Knowing how it should feel helped me know that he was latching properly and effectively. If he would have had any issues, I would have noticed quickly and been able to problem solve better, unlike my situation where my daughter forgot how to nurse.

Less discomfort. Less backaches. No cracked or bleeding nipples. There was a little soreness while he learned but otherwise my breasts hadn’t had much time off since my daughter was born. My back didn’t hurt as bad either since I was more familiar with proper posture. And, I was already used to nursing just about anywhere!

Tandem nursing and bonding.

Tandem nursing and bonding.

Sibling bonding. Tandem nursing brought sibling bonding time. I can’t quite explain the feeling of love and light I feel when they are both breastfeeding at the same time…. and then my daughter reaches out to her brother. It is incredibly sweet. That’s not to say it hasn’t invoked some feelings of jealousy too, but it was easier to soothe hurt toddler feelings with nursing.

Every child is different as is every pregnancy, birth, and breastfeeding journey. Nursing an older child with another one joining the family is not for everyone and certainly does not guarantee breastfeeding success; however, I felt it helped having the boost – especially in my supply. It also helped me feel confident despite a doctor making a comment about “waiting to see if breastfeeding will stick.”  I knew it would!

Moms Can't Call in Sick #spon
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Rachel

Thursday 13th of April 2017

I came upon this looking for information about nursing while having GD, did you have any resources or advice for that? I've not been diagnosed with GD yet but I positive I will be. Thank you for sharing your story!

Darcy Zalewski

Monday 17th of April 2017

Hi Rachel! Thank you for stopping by and reading my story. I had gestational diabetes with both of my pregnancies. Definitely talk with your doctor or midwife about any concerns, but I will share a little bit of my personal experience. Having it while nursing through my second pregnancy didn't seem to affect breastfeeding too much, though I had to keep an eye on my blood sugar levels because sometimes it got pretty low while nursing. I know it's not the easiest to time nursing sessions with snacks, but I found it helpful when possible.

I hope that helps and please feel free to email me if you want to talk or vent about it. (Also, congrats!!)

JanetGoingCrazy

Thursday 11th of April 2013

That picture of them tandem nursing is absolutely precious. Everytime I read about nursing, whether it is learning to nurse, debating nursing, toddler nursing...I always wish I had given myself more time with my son. I relished my pregnancy and sometimes even miss it, but life was so hectic and [angry] after my son was born and I didn't take the time to enjoy it.

Laurel @Let's Go on a Picnic!

Wednesday 3rd of April 2013

I never even thought about the supply already being there! That's a great benefit of extended nursing. I've been meaning to ask you about tandem nursing. Is positioning both kids awkward?

Darcy Zalewski

Wednesday 3rd of April 2013

I thought my supply was supposed to change more significantly than it did. I forgot to add no engorgement issues either. I had an increase as he started but it wasn't as crazy as when Rissa was born. Tandem can be awkward. I have a post coming up soon talking about it!

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