My husband and I were blessed with our first child, and I made a decision to breastfeed, not really knowing what that entailed. I should have become better educated about breastfeeding before I had my first child, but I did not. I only learned about the benefits of breastfeeding and how milk production worked well after I was already into my breastfeeding journey, which resulted in a few overwhelming months of confusion.
My son was a year old when we found out that we were expecting baby number two. I will admit, I was shocked. I still felt like a new mommy, and I was not ready to have another baby. My husband was excited, I was stunned. I slowly began to find happiness in my new pregnancy, and I knew that this baby was another blessing for us. Although I accepted my pregnancy and had found joy in the prospect of bringing home another child, I was concerned about the impact it would have on my son. He was still so young, and he was still breastfeeding.
My son was very attached to his nursing times, and he often used nursing as a way to find comfort. I visited my doctor who informed that I needed to wean immediately. I will preface this by saying I do like my doctor and did trust him, but I did not agree with his recommendation. He strongly advised me to wean my son immediately, stating that my body would become overworked trying to provide nutrients to a developing baby and a breastfeeding infant, as well as myself.
I took to the Internet and did my own research, and I found that it was possible to breastfeed while pregnant. I read through so much information that I became convinced that I could make it through my pregnancy. I continued nursing my son on demand, which was not always easy to do. I became uncomfortable and my milk supply dropped, which made nursing sessions hard. I sometimes limited his nursing sessions by counting, and I sometimes used distraction to avoid nursing him. I disliked having to do those things, but my son would have continued to nurse all day long if I let him.
I had read stories of the wonderful bond that siblings who are tandem breastfed share. However, that was not the case for us at first. Our little girl arrived and things did not go well. My son loved his "nu-nu" and was not willing to share. He often pushed his little sister away or tried to pull her off when she was nursing. I finally managed to nurse them at the same time, and he disliked that, as well. I was confused and bewildered. Everything I read had said how wonderful the bond would be, and how tandem breastfeeding would help the older child adjust better.
I will say that it took a few weeks (maybe a few months) before it became easier. I would sometimes nurse them at the same time, and sometimes I would nurse each child separately. I had to remind him that his sister needed nu-nu too, but he was young and it was hard for him to understand. I finally found a system that worked, each child had their own side. It may sound strange, but letting him have his own side really helped. I would nurse him on one side and my little one on the other side. It also made me realize that one breast can produce enough breast milk for one baby. I never knew that a woman could successfully exclusively breastfeed a baby from one breast, but it is definitely possible.
Once I figured out what worked, I then saw the bond develop. I can imagine a tiny outstretched hand reach across my chest to stroke a tiny baby's head. It was sweet and something I will cherish forever. We made it for nearly a year, and my son weaned around the age of three. Overall, it was a wonderful experience for us. I never thought I would ever tandem breastfeed, but I am glad that I was able to have that experience.