Friday, December 2, 2011

A Tale of Tandem Nursing in the Beginning

Tandem nursing, also called sibling nursing or sibling sharing, is where the mother continues to nurse the older sibling(s) and the new sibling.

This concept often brings lots of questions, but tandem nursing is a family event. How to nurse, where to nurse, for how long to nurse...these and other logistics are entirely up to the mother and her children.

One frequent question I hear is: "How do you tandem nurse if birth/parenting does not go smoothly?"

Andrea's update below chronicles the first part of her tandem nursing journey. She prepared for a gentle, normal birth but was given an unexpected turn in life and birthed her dear son, J, at 25.5 weeks via an informed c-section.

© Andrea, 2011.

"So I was going to try to tandem nurse this time, but then I didn't know if I could still do it after a spending a month in the hospital. The last time I'd nursed B was maybe a week or two before I went into the hospital, so it had been a LONG time since he nursed by the time I came home.

I was using a hospital grade breast pump while in the hospital, and tried to get one from WIC the day I got discharged, but there was a miscommunication and I had to get their hospital grade pump from a different location the next morning. All I had in the meantime was a manual pump, which didn't cut the mustard at all.

I briefly wondered if B could help with my engorgement, so I tried to get him to nurse, but it seemed as if he had forgotten how to latch, so I suffered through that first night with only the limited relief my manual pump could give. My appointment to get the good pump was first thing in the morning, 45 minutes away, so the next morning was hectic.

But then this morning, hubby's alarm clock goes off, and I'm laying incapacitated in the bed. B's crib is in our room, and hubby takes him to the potty then starts to lay him back down in his crib. That's when I remember that B is more inclined to nurse if it is still dark or he is half asleep, so I asked hubby to lay B down next to me so I could try to nurse him.

I didn't know what to expect, but his fingers were in his mouth, which was a good sign that he'd want something else in his mouth, lol. I offered him a side and, surprisingly, he actually REMEMBERED how to latch, and he laid there and nursed for a good five minutes, actually swallowing and everything! I was super excited.

Now, if my tiny NICU guy can just get strong enough and big enough to learn how to nurse, I might still be able to tandem after all."

Please keep Andrea and her family in your thoughts and prayers as they continue this long journey.

Related Resources:

Kellymom's page on Tandem nursing:

The LLL's page on Tandem nursing:

Mothering's page on Tandem nursing:

Job Description: Mommy's checklist:

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