There have been a lot of expressed concerns regarding the fact that I was still nursing Gavin since I got pregnant with Gareth. There were a lot of doubts about whether it was possible to nurse two siblings at the same time. Although I had been able to put many of the concerns regarding tandem nursing to rest, there was one part of it that left doubts even in my mind.
It is easy enough to find the scientific evidence to support tandem nursing. However, finding out how other mothers actually coped with tandem nursing – how easy or stressful it was – was another issue altogether. I had no doubt in my mind that tandem nursing Gavin and Gareth (if Gavin still wanted to breastfeed after Gareth was born) was the right thing to do. My only worry was whether I would be able to cope with the emotional demands of two children.
I knew that there were plenty of mothers of twins who have successfully breastfed both babies without having to resort to supplementing with formula. Nevertheless, the image I had in my mind was that of a stressed out mother trying to juggle two babies – one in each arm. It looked difficult and exhausting. Of course, the advantage of tandem nursing is the fact that one sibling is already a pro at it and does not require any assistance.
Last night, I had my first practical experience nursing Gavin and Gareth simultaneously. I was nursing Gareth during a feed in between his UV treatment sessions for jaundice when Gavin came to visit. Being mindful that I had to make sure Gareth got his fair share of colostrum, I was trying to avoid nursing Gavin until my full milk had come in. Yet I could see that Gavin really wanted to nurse and I didn’t want to deny him after he had been through so many days without nursing.
Since Gareth had been suckling on one side for quite a while, I switched him over to the other breast and offered Gavin the breast that Gareth had been on. With Gareth being so easy to breastfeed, it wasn’t hard to get into position. I had Gareth nursing on the left breast in the football hold, while Gavin sat on my right and nursed on the right breast. I could put an arm around each of them and cuddle them close to me.
Suffice to say my first simultaneous nursing experience was a beautiful one. It felt great to be able to meet Gavin’s emotional needs while taking care of my newborn at the same time. Far from being the stressful situation I had imagined, it was, on the contrary, very relaxing. Let’s hope it continues in this fashion…