Bess shares valuable insight about the potential for complications in the bonding process after birth due to hormonal imbalances. She shines light on an area that's hard to discuss due to the rarity of tandem nursing and the stigma of post-partum struggling.
When my firstborn, a daughter, was 10 months old, I got pregnant with her little sister. I was thrilled and dove right into research on tandem breastfeeding, where you breastfeed both children instead of weaning the older one.
I continued to breastfeed and cosleep with my daughter through my entire pregnancy. When she was 19 months old, I gave birth, a VBAC (Vaginal Birth After C-section) to her baby sister. I didn't realize it in the moment, but my hormones went haywire at that time.
I didn't know what was wrong with me. I'd feel strong anger. Not at the new baby as some women report. Rather, at my firstborn. When just before the birth of my second daughter I couldn't see my oldest as anything but a sweet baby, my postpartum state made it nearly impossible for me to identify that she was still little!
The months that followed were really rough. Every time I nursed my oldest, I felt my anger rising. I felt like a ticking bomb. I couldn't stand having her on me. And she sensed it because she would just cautiously watch me and nursing became high stress for her. After 3 months of tandem nursing, I weaned my eldest cold turkey.
She never asked to nurse again after only one time of telling her it wasn't time. She was only 21 months old and by that time, I had become so hardened and unattached, it was as if she wasn't even my child. I cried every night because I didn't know how to fix it and was mad at my body for destroying my relationship with my daughter.
Once she weaned, things did slowly start to get better. And we slowly began to mend our relationship. Now, she is 5 years old and you would never know that went through such a rough patch. I found out that I had been suffering with a postpartum mood disorder, combined with a pre-existing anxiety disorder with mild depression.
Later on, when I was preparing to birth my third daughter, when my second was only 23 months old, I was terrified it would all happen again. Thankfully though, my hormone fluctuations were milder. I had my placenta encapsulated, which really helped during moments where I did start to feel myself flooded by hormones and being overtaken by motherhood with 3 young kids.
When I look back at photos of my oldest daughter during that time, my heart breaks. She was a baby in every way shape and form. She needed her mom. The entire experience has made me realize just how much hormones can effect us and our families.
Now my girls are 5,4, and 2 years old. I have wonderful relationships with all of them and adore being their mommy.
Tandem Nursing Articles
Post Partum Support