Nursing with two has been an adventure already! My goal has been to only nurse one child at a time and so far, we’ve succeeded. A couple times, this has required some creative distraction but for the most part, our “Ellie nurses, Baby Mark nurses A LOT” mantra seems to have sunk in. Ellie has been relatively OK with seeing Baby Mark nursing without always wanting to be nursing herself.
When my milk came in a few days ago, Ellie was thrilled! She had been nursing dry for so many months that I doubt she even remembered that there had ever been milk. It was, and continues to be, a new and thrilling experience for her. Later that day, she was drinking a glass of cow’s milk with Yiayia and told her that the milk was very cold. She’s never noticed that before; clearly, she was comparing it to my milk!
When she does want to nurse, Ellie has been very clear about wanting her turn, often saying, “Switch! Baba, Baby Mark. Mama, Ellie.” As in, “hand that boy over, it’s my turn now!” She’s upped her nursing a little bit during the day but we’re trying to keep the number of times she nurses to a fairly predictable amount (typically waking up, going to sleep for nap, going to sleep for bedtime and usually once more). I particularly don’t want nursing to become a power struggle in which she demands to nurse and falls apart if I say no. So from the beginning, we’re working on having some fairly clear boundaries so she knows what to expect. That being said, this is also a hard, fragile time for her and I’ve been so grateful that I have the comfort of nursing to offer her when the changes seem overwhelming. We’re trying to hold both sides of the balance equation lightly and make our way forward.
Ellie has also been very useful in helping me regulate my milk supply. I haven’t had a significant problems with oversupply and the couple times that I’ve had too much milk, Ellie has been totally willing to help me out. This is one very useful side effect of having a nursing toddler! She’s definitely started to eat less solid food and is clearly replacing some of her solid food calories with liquid calories.
And enough about Ellie! Mark is a champion nurser, totally dedicated to consuming as many calories as possible. He definitely wants to eat at least every two hours, frequently more often than that. We always have a long cluster feeding session in the evening and often one in the morning too. He’s pretty good at latching; not perfect yet but infinitely better than his sister was at his age. We probably can credit a good portion of that to the fact that he was in utero for 10 days longer than Ellie and weighed a full 33% more than she did at birth. Last night, he finally seemed to accept that nighttime was nighttime and actually slept in 2-3 hour blocks, rather than wanting to eat all the time. I am also enjoying my reading-while-nursing time, knowing that once Yiayia and Baba are back at work, I won’t be doing much reading anymore!
So, that’s the view from a week in. All things considered, tandem nursing is awesome!