Tandem Breastfeeding

What is Tandem Breastfeeding?

Tandem breast feeding is when a mother breastfeeds her older child or children as well as her new baby. The children who are still breastfeeding could have breastfed right through her pregnancy (read more on this here) or might have weaned themselves during her pregnancy (due to low supply and changes in the taste of the milk) and now resume breastfeeding after the new baby’s birth.

The mother’s body will be producing colostrum for her new born baby. The mother will be producing enough milk for all of her children, due to supply and demand. The more milk removed from her breasts, the more milk she will produce. 

Mom may notice that the older child starts to have loose stools, this is the colostrum that causes a laxative effect. 

Advantages of Continued Breastfeeding for the Older Child

  • Your older child will continue to benefit from breast milk for as long as he/she breastfeeds. Breastfeeding will provide nutrition, immune protectiongut protection and emotional benefits.
  • Your older child will not feel left out, now with the addition of a new baby to care for. 

Advantages for Your New Baby

Because of the increased demand on breast milk, your breast milk supply will be more than plentiful; this is especially helpful if baby is struggling with latching problems. 

NB: The newborn should always have priority. If your older child nurses too frequently (especially the first few days) baby might not get enough colostrum. It is best to allow your toddler to breastfeed after a nursing session with baby, this can be done for the first 5 days until the colostrum has turned into mature milk. 

Advantages for Mom 

    Breastfeeding provides a way for her to bond with both her children at the same time,  as well as keep both of them occupied at the same time. 

Tandem Breastfeeding Tips

  • Do not assign a breast to one child alone. Let them each breastfeed equally as much from each breast. This will prevent lop-sidedness, where one breast is fuller than the other. 
  • The baby’s intake should be monitored by checking weight gain, urine and stool output and audible swallowing sounds. 
  • It is not necessary to clean each breast before allowing the other to feed. 
  • The mother needs to eat a healthy diet and drink lots of fluids.

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Tandem Breastfeeding Twins

Other pages on breastfeeding problems in connection with this page on tandem breastfeeding

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