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Tandem feeding: A first-hand experience

 

If you are still breastfeeding your baby or toddler and have another one on the way, you may be wondering if you need to wean the older child to make way for the newborn. In actual fact, should you choose to, you can continue to feed both! There are still so many benefits of breastfeeding for your growing child and of course for the new baby that there is no reason to stop.

The following is the experience of the beautiful Jo, who continues to feed her 2.5-year-old Abel and her 6-month-old Koa.

Stressed to the max

There’s no denying that perhaps moving house was not the ideal thing for us to be doing right now. In the midst of starting a new job, a winter of illnesses and a couple of delightful (but routine-smashing) trips away, it’s certainly been hectic in our house over the last 4 months. And gosh, nobody seems to feel it like the toddler feels it. For her it’s meant a total upheaval in her regular activities, health and sense of place. Most of her stuff is packed away ready to be moved, or already has been moved.

Morning Sickness (…. or all day sickness for some!)

 Morning sickness and fatigue were unpleasant and annoying during my first pregnancy. I was over it the moment it began, but looking back on it now I realise how easy I had it! I could lay down when I needed to (when not working), could hang my head in a bucket without disruption and could go to bed when I wanted. In short, I could take my time to get through the months of nausea.

 

Where is my village?

New mothers can often feel so isolated with their baby they may as well be in outer space. Exhausted, confused, constantly questioning what they are doing and why, it’s no surprise that many mummas feel completely overwhelmed. Many mums haven’t really held a baby, particularly a crying baby, or seen one breastfeed.

Exercise? But I’m a mum!

We all know those mums that really have it together with regular exercise. And oh, how I look up to these mums! The ones who get up early to run or hit the gym…. or the ones who pack the kids in the car or the prams to tackle the task with them in tow! And hands up to the mums who can motivate themselves to exercise at the end of a very very long day. We salute you!

 

The feed-play-sleep furphy

Whoever thought of the term feed-play-sleep? I remember reading about it 15 years ago when I first became a mother, and I constantly hear it being bandied about by mums I speak to now — they’ve either read about it in baby sleep books, or told it’s a ‘must’ by maternal and child health nurses and sleep schools to get their baby to learn to self-settle. And look, sure, some babies may respond well to it, and some mums may find comfort in the structure it gives them, but the whole premise is somewhat confounding to me.

So much pressure! Mums who are pushed to bottle-feed.

Ever heard complaints about how much pressure there is to breastfeed? You know, the midwife who made a mother put her baby to the boob against her will, or the child health nurse who pushed a woman to keep breastfeeding even when she was struggling and her baby wasn’t putting on weight? I think stats show this to be more of a myth than reality. Only 18 per cent of Australian women are actually exclusively breastfeeding their babies at six months of age.

Hang on, where’s my milk? The juice on when milk comes in

I sometimes hear stories about women who couldn’t breastfeed because their milk didn’t come in. This is one of those terrible misnomers. If the milk was delayed for a medical reason and the mum isn’t encouraged to continue initiating breastfeeding, she may believe she’s just one of those women who doesn’t have milk and give up. If she doesn’t pump or attempt to put the baby to the breast and baby goes straight on the bottle, it can even appear as if the milk never arrived at all. But it would have, given half a chance.