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.
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!
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!
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