Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Blog Carnival: Tandem Nursing a Baby and Toddler
Welcome to the July 2010 Carnival of Nursing in Public
This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Nursing in Public hosted by Dionna and Paige at NursingFreedom.org. All week, July 5-9, we will be featuring articles and posts about nursing in public ("NIP"). See the bottom of this post for more information.
Tandem Nursing a Baby and Toddler.
My second child (the Imp) was eleven months old when I became pregnant again. Many people thought we should wean. I cannot even begin to tell you the looks of utter disbelief I received when I declared that we would continue nursing throughout my pregnancy and beyond. "You won't be able to handle it" I was told. "There's no way you can do that" complete strangers exclaimed. Even my obstetrician was concerned. I stuck to my convictions, assuring her that I'd done the research. I knew the "risks" of pre-labor and that I was competent enough to seek help if I felt it was needed. My pregnancy was not high risk, there was little reason to be concerned.
We nursed without any problems throughout the entire pregnancy. I didn't experience the soreness some mothers report. I never felt that he was asking too much of me. Instead, it was a blissful peace in our otherwise crazy days. We could slow down, cuddle, bond. I knew it would be a great comfort to him, especially when the shock of a new baby was likely to turn his world upside down.
The day my third child was born was a joyous day for me, but not so much for the Imp. He was confused, tired, cranky, maybe even feeling deserted. My husband kept the older children at home while I recovered in the hospital with my wonderful mother-in-law and my new baby. When the boys came to see me the next day, the Imp was not a happy camper. He didn't want me to hold him, he clung to his father in a way that made my heart hurt. But when I offered to sit with him and nurse him, he crawled into my lap like he had never left. He looked into my eyes and I imagined my love and reassurance passing to him through my milk. It was like a little bit of magic and I knew the temporary rift was closing fast.
In the days that followed, the Imp began to nurse more frequently. Having read about how toddlers and older babies handle tandem nursing, I wasn't surprised at all. It was a comfort to him (and to me, truth be told). He needed to know that I was still his - still accessible to him. We had some rocky moments when he didn't want to wait, when he didn't - couldn't - understand why I was nursing this tiny person instead of him. I think he truly came to accept his brother when I put them both to breast at the same time. It wasn't always easy and sometimes required a bit of juggling (or the extra hands of my spectacular husband), but I really think it helped to show him that I belonged to them both.
It's been two months now. My little one is thriving, my toddler is contented, life is good. The Imp has come to understand "in a minute" and "as soon as the baby is done " do not mean "no." He even tries to help me when I nurse his brother - bringing me blankets and pillows, petting his brother's head gently. There are still times when I nurse them both together. The Imp lays his head on the baby's legs and
smiles so contentedly. His obvious joy at nursing is enough to show me that I made the right choice.
I can't say it's always been easy. My husband and his mother have been extremely supportive, as has a friend of mine who recently had her first child. Most people still look at me askance when they find out that I'm breastfeeding both of my younger children. Some come outright and tell me that I should wean the older of the two. This experience has helped me gain confidence in myself (something I've always lacked). I don't feel that I need to defend the choices I've made, but that doesn't mean I will let the naysayers walk all over me. I hold my head proudly when I nurse my children in public, ignoring the nasty looks I may receive. I applaud (sometimes literally) other mothers that I see nursing their children when we're out. I've tried to lend my aid and support to every breastfeeding mother that might need it. I'm proud to be tandem nursing my children and take comfort in knowing that I am doing what is best for myself and for my family.
Welcome to the Carnival of Nursing in Public
Please join us all week, July 5-9, as we celebrate and support breastfeeding mothers. And visit NursingFreedom.org any time to connect with other breastfeeding supporters, learn more about your legal right to nurse in public, and read (and contribute!) articles about breastfeeding and N.I.P.
Do you support breastfeeding in public? Grab this badge for your blog or website to show your support and encourage others to educate themselves about the benefits of breastfeeding and the rights of breastfeeding mothers and children.
This post is just one of many being featured as part of the Carnival of Nursing in Public. Please visit our other writers each day of the Carnival. Click on the links below to see each day’s posts - new articles will be posted on the following days:
July 5 - Making Breastfeeding the Norm: Creating a Culture of Breastfeeding in a Hyper-Sexualized World
July 6 – Supporting Breastfeeding Mothers: the New, the Experienced, and the Mothers of More Than One Nursing Child
July 7 – Creating a Supportive Network: Your Stories and Celebrations of N.I.P.
July 8 – Breastfeeding: International and Religious Perspectives
July 9 – Your Legal Right to Nurse in Public, and How to Respond to Anyone Who Questions It