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World Breastfeeding Week: Beyond being a white lady breastfeeding your baby in a meadow.

August 4, 2016

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Happy National Sibling Day, let's talk about tandem nursing.

It's National Sibling Day, I don't know about you but that makes me want to talk about tandem nursing. 

Here are some of my most frequently asked questions about tandem nursing. 


Can I nurse through pregnancy?

Yup. Nursing through pregnancy is considered safe both the nursing parent and child. You will want to check with your care provider is you experience weight loss, preterm contractions or bleeding, but it would be a good idea to do that anyway. 



Can I pump while I’m pregnant? 

Yes. While pumping isn't recommended before term for people who are not nursing or who are pregnant for the first time, it is considered safe if you are tandem nursing. The concern here would be starting contractions early. Pumping and nursing are fine if you aren't at risk for preterm labor. A good baseline for this is: if your care provider has cleared you for sex, nursing and pumping are fine. 


Will nursing through a pregnancy affect my nutrition or the nutrition of the baby I’m carrying? 

It shouldn’t. The available research here brings me back to one of my basic tenets: Eat a balanced diet of foods you like. The research tells us that babies grow just fine during tandem nursing, but you should make sure you are eating enough of a good balanced diet (Adventures in Tandem Nursing, 2003).

Yes, eating your toddler’s playground snacks totally counts. 


What about the whole colostrum thing? 

When you become pregnant your hormones change and your progesterone goes up which makes your prolactin go down. This begins the process of mature milk evolving back into colostrum for your newborn. That means that milk composition changes and production goes down. Some older nurslings will wean as a result of this, some will nurse right through, some will take a break and come back.


Is tandem nursing worth it? 

For some people nursing through uncomfortable breast changes in early pregnancy or  managing nursing two babies feels overwhelming. It can also be a nice way to nurture and have closeness with your big kid when they are adjusting to your changing family.

It can also be a sweet way to celebrate national sibling day. 

The bottom line is that it’s up to you. As always. The best reason to breastfeed is because you want to. 


Maybe you have a sibling or your kids do. Maybe your siblings are born, chosen, adopted.

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