Tea for Two – Tandem Feeding
As many of my posts seem to do, this one stems from an article I was reading online. It was about tandem breastfeeding. The mama who wrote it explained why tandem feeding wasn’t for her, but how she fully supported those who chose that path. It was a nice, non-confrontational, non-political read about different ways of mothering and how they are all valid. Hurrah! How often do those come around?
It got me thinking. I never thought I would be a tandem breastfeeder. Bean self-weaned at around 30 months. I imagined Plum would do much the same, although when I imagined that, she was just a few months old and I hadn’t factored in having a third child at that point.
So when I was pregnant with PK and Plum was 15 months old and clearly going nowhere as far as weaning was concerned, I decided to ride it out and see what happened. She continued to feed all the way through the pregnancy (although it started to get painful for me at around 7 1/2 months). PK was born at a little over 38 weeks, and Plum had stopped feeding at about 36 weeks – I think the milk had changed too much for her and she just didn’t like it. It was sad, but she was OK, and I assumed that would be it for her.
And then when she came to see me in hospital after PK was born (the second time – the first time I was still hooked up to a drip and oxygen – long story), she climbed on the bed and asked for milk. And so it began. PK was born a week before Christmas, and on Christmas Day, I sat in an armchair at my parents’ house, tandem feeding. Plum and PK held hands across my chest and I was sold.
In the early days, because of PK’s feeding difficulties, there wasn’t a lot of feeding them both at the same time going on, but Plum was a lifesaver in keeping my supply going when PK was unable to feed properly. Slowly, they began to feed together. Tandem feeding isn’t always a dignified process, and so I tended not to do it in public – far too much flesh on show for my liking, especially as they got bigger.
Plum is now 45 months old and PK is almost 21 months – and they are both still feeding. If they feed together, I am either sitting cross legged on the sofa, with one kneeling either side of me, or lying in bed whilst they clamber over me and get comfortable.
Some days I get fed up with it, but then I remind myself that Plum is nearly 4, PK is nearly 2 and these feeding days aren’t going to last forever. Sometimes I want to say “right! that’s it! No More!” and then I realise that if I do that, I will always regret rushing them out of something that clearly gives them both so much comfort. And so we continue.
One thing that hasn’t changed in the nearly two years I’ve been tandem feeding though – PK still gets unbelievably jealous if Plum comes to me for milk and he isn’t already feeding.