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Comfort and Tandem Nursing

Eliane P.
From: NEW BEGINNINGS, Vol. 17 No. 6, p. 49

Our family has just been blessed with the birth of our third child, another beautiful girl. Once again, I find myself tandem nursing. During my pregnancy and the first few days of Gabrielle's life, I have discovered a few things that have made my tandem nursing experience more comfortable and therefore more enjoyable, or at least manageable.

During my pregnancy nursing was sometimes very painful while at other times virtually painless. Even though I had read and heard about the importance of proper positioning and latch-on during my three years as a nursing mother and a La Leche League Leader in a tandem nursing Group, I couldn't believe that after two years of nursing my daughter could be latched on wrong. But when I looked closely I noticed that she was often not opening her mouth wide enough and was therefore sucking on my nipple. I now believe that when my milk supply decreased around the middle of my pregnancy, she lost her incentive for sucking properly. Since at that point she was nursing only for comfort she no longer needed to latch on properly to get milk out. Telling her to open her mouth wide and making sure that her upper lip was flanged out helped to make nursing her more comfortable.

The other thing that I did differently with this baby was to apply Lansinoh®, a lanolin-based ointment for breastfeeding mothers, as soon as my nipples started feeling sore from nursing the new baby. Even though I had been nursing for five straight years, my nipples got sore after my daughter's birth. After 36 hours of using Lansinoh® after each nursing, the pain disappeared.

I had weaned my first daughter, Cassandra, when her sister Audrey was two months old, because I thought that my physical and psychological discomfort with tandem nursing passed on negative feelings that outweighed benefits to her from continuing to nurse. Even though the experience was rather unpleasant for me, I hoped that I could tandem nurse again if I needed to, because I believed that continuing nursing, if only for a short time, helped Cassandra adjust to having a younger sibling and has contributed to making their relationship as wonderful as it as. Knowing that I could always wean if things weren't working out, I hoped that the next time around could be different, especially since I was a little older and therefore more mature, experienced, patient, and better at setting limits, I am now thrilled to say that my wishes have come true. I am now a happy tandem nursing mother! I hope that my experience can help and encourage other mothers.

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