I was always very keen to breastfeed my first baby (Casper) but I had no idea I’d end up feeding 2 at the same time in the future! I’d never even heard of tandem feeding until one of my friends mentioned it not all that long ago. I feel that it’s not talked about enough and if it was then maybe more mothers would consider it.
We were very lucky in that Casper latched on straight after he was born and had a lovely long feed. He always fed well and the only trouble I had was several blocked ducts (ouch!) in the earlier days. I had no plans on how long I’d feed him for and just thought I’d let him wean himself when he was ready.
I found out I was pregnant again when Casper was 15 months old. It was a bit of a shock/surprise as I hadn’t had any periods and we weren’t technically ‘trying’! We always wanted another baby though so felt very blessed that it happened so easily.
I carried on feeding Casper as normal throughout my pregnancy. I just fed him whenever he asked for it rather than actually offer. The frequency of his feeds reduced dramatically and I thought he was self weaning. Some days he’d only have 1 feed and others none at all. I was feeling a mixture of sadness and relief at the prospect of him stopping soon. On reflection it must have been because my milk slowed down/changed. Feeding him while heavily pregnant wasn’t easy, and neither was running around after him!
I planned to breastfeed the new baby and hoped to have a go at tandem feeding. I wasn’t really sure how long I’d do it for and just thought I’d try and go with the flow and not put any pressure on myself about it.
The new baby, Rufus, came along (born during lockdown on the bathroom floor!) and like Casper he latched on pretty much straight away. My first tandem feed was when Rufus was about 24 hours old. I remember feeling very proud of myself and made sure I got a photo! It was a bit tricky getting them both into the right position but got easier with time and practice.
Casper soon started asking for more and more milk when he realised this new little creature was having it too! It was probably because my milk was fully back as well. Some days it felt like he was having more feeds than Rufus and it was full on to say the least. I hoped it was just a phase and I knew that he needed those extra feeds even if just for the closeness and comfort from me to help him deal with the big changes going around him. So I persevered and he did start to ask for less milk. I didn’t feed them both at the same time very often as I found it a bit much. I would end up feeling quite touched out! On occasions I wondered if I had a bit of an aversion with feeding Casper as some days I really disliked feeding him. The sensation of him sucking felt so much stronger than Rufus and I kept getting an urge to just pull him straight off. It made me feel sad and guilty that I didn’t enjoy feeding him like I used to. I found it often depended on how tired/hungry I was. I still get those feelings sometimes now but not as often as before. The hunger in those early days was extreme, it’s like my stomach was a bottomless pit! I had to make sure I didn’t let myself get too hungry otherwise it really affected my mood.
Casper accepted his new baby brother really well and I think this must be partly due to the tandem feeding. He doesn’t really get jealous of him and and he is very caring towards him. I hope it will help their bond remain strong as they grow up together.
Casper is now 2 and a half and Rufus is 8 months old. I’m still feeding them both but usually separately. I haven’t fed them together for a few months now. Casper’s frequency of feeds
reduced and he tends to only have one first thing in the morning and then in the afternoon for nap time. Occasionally more than that depending on what we’re doing or how he’s feeling. Rufus will only really feed when he’s going to sleep now and a few times overnight. He gets too distracted to feed any other times during the day. I bed share with him as I find that’s the best way to get as much sleep as possible while feeding him. Casper sleeps in his own room so I
only have to feed the little one overnight.
I’m proud of myself for tandem feeding my babies as it hasn’t always been easy. There are some days that I’d like to stop feeding my eldest but my feelings towards that changes frequently! It’s a real mix of emotions and I think I’ll feel strange when he stops and even stranger when they both stop. I’m amazed at what my body
has been through and how it continues to nourish two little ones of different ages.