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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jul 2011

    Nursing while pregnant/tandem nursing

    Does anyone have experience nursing a toddler while pregnant?

    My 23 month old still nurses and is incredibly attached to it. I am newly pregnant. She nurses once during the day and since we co-sleep, she nurses on and off at will during the night, this varies but some nights she nurses frequently. This is not an issue for me and I planned to let her self wean but I'm concerned about her still nursing in the late stages of pregnancy (because it is somewhat disruptive to my sleep and sleep will be really important at that point!) and especially once the baby is here.

    I would like to be able to give all my nursing attention to the newborn that will be relying on it. I'm not 100% against tandem nursing but if she isn't done by then I can't see her stopping as she is very possessive of me. Any effort at this point to curb or limit nursing is met with frustrated screaming and crying. She's a mamas girl through and through. But I feel if I'm going to wean her, it needs to be at least several months before the baby arrives so she doesn't feel replaced.

    Any experience or advice is greatly appreciated!!!

    And please, if you are against toddlers breastfeeding just respectfully decline to comment. I don't want this to turn into a breastfeeding debate. Thank you!

  2. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2013
    SD, CA
    I am only now learning all I can on breastfeeding as I wait for my baby to arrive. I am wondering if your toddler will just begin to self ween as your pregnancy progresses? Your supply will eventually turn into colostrum for your newborn. The change may be enough to turn your older child off.

    I am so interested to sit back and learn from what the experienced moms have to say...
    Mama to Desmond Sanders

  3. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2010
    Hi there- I've been down this road with a few different results before. If you are not completely opposed to tandem nursing, I would suggest you read as much as you can about the topic so you can make a more educated decision or be more comfortable choosing/letting your daughter choose. is an excellent resource. Do know that many toddlers do wean during pregnancy as the taste/quantity of the milk changes as your move along in the pregnancy - not all, but most. In my experience, alot of nursing toddlers don't nurse much at all and this is also why they tend to wean during pregnancy because they give up easily once the taste/quantity because it's not a huge part of their life. Some stick with it because it's more out of comfort though.

    One big problem I had while nursing was that it was very painful. As the quanity and taste changed, my nursling became sloppy with latch or a little too eager which was painful in itself, but more painful because that area is very sensitive in early pregnancy especially.

    So my experience was:
    I got pregnant with #2 when #1 was 20 months old and nursing 2-4 times a day, rarely at night even though we were co-sleeping. The first trimester was painful, but we pushed through as I reminded Scarlett to be gentle and make sure she was not "playing around" - that she was getting a good latch, etc. There were times I would have to end the session early though because it did hurt alot and she was pretty easy to distract at that age. I planned to do child-led weaning with her so I started reading about tandem nursing. After #2 was born, tandem became a reality... it was not really like what I read about, but there is such little info out there! Scarlett nursed ALOT... way more than usual and it felt very strange for her to be doing that and then her latch compared with her little sister's. I did not nurse them at the same time. Scarlett was not always patient in waiting, but with time her sibling rivalry and new obsession with nursing did go away. She helped quite a bit with engorgement and my supply I will say that much! Honestly, things were back to normal in 6 weeks and she was back down to 2 times a day as I had more time to "distract" her with other things again as we got into a routine with 2 kids. (ok so maybe not complete child-led weaning, but still...) I continued nursing both until a month before her 3rd birthday (so 7 months tandem nursing)....she chose to stop at this point with a little help/encouragement from me- lots of talk about "big girls" and moving to a big girl bed, etc.

    The next experience I had was after our older twins were born. I got pregnant when they were only 7 months old. I was pretty thrown off by that and not quite sure how to proceed because I really didn't want to have to supplement - I was nursing them exclusively and we were co-sleeping so they did nurse at night a few times. Even though I had nursed through a pregnancy before, I was convinced they would wean right away and I was sad about that because I wanted to continue a least a full year. It was pretty painful again, but my supply didn't seem too bad because the twins continued to gain weight and nurse pretty much as usual. I started to introduce more solids though too so they were in a place where they would begin to start nursing a bit less anyway. We lost the pregnancy at 16 weeks and the twins kept nursing through it and I think delivery of their little sister actually boosted my supply a bit.

    Several months later, the twins were now almost 18 months old and no longer co-sleeping. I got pregnant again. They were only nursing a few times a day at this point and sometimes once at night, but they certainly disliked the hormones and changes to my milk this time because they both stopped nursing before I was 12 weeks along. I wasn't expecting that at all, but I was ok with it and I was really happy with the transition for all 3 of us.
    Wife to one great guy
    Mama to six pretty ladies: Scarlett (13), Penelope (10) Alice (4), Fiona (4), Lucille (2) & Coraline (2)

    & 4 angels gone before us: Christian (7 wks), Amos (6 wks), Naomi (16.5 wks), & Hosanna (6 wks)

    ~We fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.~

  4. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    @crunchymama thank you for sharing your experiences!! I have heard that many toddlers self wean during pregnancy but I would be very surprised if my daughter did. She would forgo food to nurse all day. In fact, I cut back on nursing for that reason!

    It's good to hear your experience with tandem nursing was not dreadful! I envision myself glued to couches and beds all day and night with two nurslings! I also would feel a little guilty because my 4 yr old is suddenly asking to nurse and I tell her she's a big girl. But if both siblings nurse she will very likely feel left out.

    I suppose I will wait a bit and see if she shows any signs of self weaning by the end of the first trimester. Then I'm thinking of transitioning her out of our bed which would greatly curb or stop the nighttime nursing. Though that's a whole process in itself!

    The last thing I want to do is wean her against her will. If that is the situation we are in then I will tandem nurse for sure. Its nice to hear from someone who doesn't think this is all strange because the (well meaning) folks in my life are totally confused by it and even by why I'm nursing my toddler still. I just avoid the topic at this point.

    Thanks again and please anyone else feel free to share!

  5. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Adelaide Australia
    My daughter was 18 months and feeding twice a day when I became pregnant with her sister and I found feeding during pregnancy very painful. I wanted to wean her so the baby wouldn't be taking 'her' boobies and it took a long time as I didn't want to upset her or deny her and she never showed the slightest interest in self weaning. She was finally fully weaned at 22 months and this is what we did:

    Have two bottles of full fat cows milk in the fridge at all times. In the morning just hand her one then have daddy read a book, distract and cuddle her while she drinks and you leap in the shower or removed yourself another way then let her nurse if she wants when you return. There was less comfort and more thirst in the morning feed so it was easier to drop.

    Offer a bottle before the night feed then get Daddy to put her to bed, again - don't refuse her but say she must drink the bottle first and half the time she drifted off without nursing.

    There's be a couple of days with no feeds, just bottles, then she'd go back to three feeds a day if she'd had a hard day or caught a cold, it was very gradual but angst free and suddenly she was weaned.

    When she'd gone a few days without feeding we had some trips out where she fell asleep in the car that helped to end it.

    We moved her into her own room at 2 years old and that went surprisingly smoothly (she'd had her own cot in our room).

    Daddy stepping in a bit more was also handy in that it made it less of a change when the baby came. Baby is now almost five months and we've had lots of interest in her feeding but no jealousy. Big sister will pretend to feed then roar with distainful laughter at the idea a big girl could do such a babyish thing. She was however suspicious that she missing out 'Agnes drink booby?' 'No'...long pause 'granny and grandpa drink booby?' Errr, no, I'm not breastfeeding your grandparents!?!?.

    Good luck!
    Thrilled to be mother to @gnes Ei1ish Madeline and Fe1icity Bridget Be@trice

    If we'd had boys the list was: Godfrey, Seamus, Alexander, Michael, Felix, Peter, Ignatius & Sebastian.

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