Tandem nursing: A great success! Although I may never get off the couch or leave the house again.

Following Rowan’s birth, I was separated—with the exception of a few small visits, during which she did not really ask to nurse—from my middle child for four days and three nights. She had previously weaned from breastfeeding at night, but was still actively nursing two-to-three times a day. It was the longest we’d been apart up to that point.

On our last day at the hospital, as Liam and I considered heading home with Rowan, and having my parents hang onto the girls an extra day more than we had planned—due to our becoming ill with a stomach bug—I suddenly burst into tears. 

When Liam asked me what was wrong, I replied, “What if Frances doesn’t want to nurse anymore?”

I’m sure it was due to hormones, utter exhaustion, and just the overwhelming emotion of the previous two days’ events, but it felt as though I were grieving for something I hadn’t even yet known I’d for sure lost. I was consumed with the thought that I had nursed my youngest daughter for the last time, yet wasn’t prepared for the relationship to end.

And then, there was some kind of an emergency on the hospital floor—a Code K? Evidently a baby had gone missing. Several nurses and aids came into our room checking about and looking into the bathroom rather urgently and somewhat discreetly. 

Gratefully, the baby had just been misplaced, not stolen. She was returned to her frantic parents. The commotion, though, had the much needed effect of snapping me out of my little pity party and moving me toward packing up our things, lest our baby be the next to go missing.

In the end, I needn’t have worried about Frances. When she was returned to us, she lovingly and eagerly accepted my offering to nurse. In fact, she would gladly do so as often as her brother, I think. Thankfully, she is somewhat distracted at meal times and when her dad and big sister are around. It’s the times, like this morning, with Liam back to work and Nora at school, that I fear we will just be our own little three-person LaLeche League circle, nursing for hours on end, with no relief in sight.

It has taken some getting used to balancing time spent breadtfeeding the baby and also responding to Frances’s needs. I’ve managed to get them both attached at the same time a handful of times, but I prefer them to nurse separately, given the seeming gigantic size of my nearly two-year-old when compared to my eight-day-old and the logistics involved in positioning everyone just right. Liam snapped a ridiculous picture of us all the other night and was just dying to share it with someone outside our family. I urged him to be wise and NOT share it. I haven’t checked Instagram lately. Let’s hope, for his sake, it’s not hanging out there.

Our nighttime looks a bit interesting now too. Initially we tried Liam sleeping with both girls in one bed, while I slept with the baby in the other room. Our thinking was that since Frances had night-weaned, and just spent three nights sleeping with my parents, this transition would be OK for her.

However, she woke up the first two nights, multiple times, distressed and screaming, wanting to be with me. Liam couldn’t console her. So now, even though I read about co-sleeping and nursing “rotisserie style,” (turning back and forth as needed in between toddler and newborn), and decided it was NOT for me, that is where we are. It’s necessary to be flexible, right?

So far, it’s all been OK. I feel like I’m still able to get sleep. And honestly, nursing this time around is off to the best start ever. I recommend every new mom have a nursing toddler to help alleviate engorgement and the pain of having an overabundant milk supply. I have had very few problems and discomfort, unlike when both girls were born.

We continue to take things day-by-day here, but are happy to report that our two little—well, one little, one giant—nurslings are thriving!


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