Tandem Breastfeeding- An Un-Plan

Momma Miranda
Things never seem to go as planned. Yes I just summed up motherhood in one foul swoop.
Let me tell you the story of how I came spend my days with two nursing children.
Like I said: Things never go as planned.  This is how I ended up breastfeeding both my newborn and almost two year old daughter.
Surprise!  {let the un-planning commence} I got pregnant shortly after my eldest first birthday.
My body continued to produce breast milk only for the first trimester.  If left up to Baby Girl and me we would not have weaned 15 months.  The choice to kick my Baby Girl off the booby was not exactly our plan of choice and truth be told neither one of us was quite ready.
There are some things that you learn quickly with children and one of those for us was how to ‘cheat’ at bed time.  No crying to sleep, no endless heartbreak as I listened to her sadness.  Bedtime = booby time = happy household.  I had ‘cheated’ in getting her to sleep for the entire first year of her life.  As I paced the floor with a confused and crying toddler while my uterus seemed to grow heavier every night it began to sink in that planning was for nothing and we’d just figure it out together.
We survived the next six months and things became smoother and smoother using no breastmilk, towards the end of my second pregnancy we had established a milk free schedule and were very happy. I had no worries, she had adjusted so well…what could possibly go wrong? {can you feel the plan unraveling yet?}
The day of welcoming Baby Girl’s sister finally came and went.  Everyone safe and happy and I blessedly produced plenty of colostrum, yea!
Before my Baby Girl had even come to the hospital to meet her new sister, the Newbie had already latched on and things were going according to plan.
After speaking to the lactation consult at the hospital I decided on a new plan.  We decided to offer breast milk to my Baby Girl, because in many cases the interest is gone once they have fully weaned. As though she had been queued up for her lines Baby Girl looks at the offered boob in front of her, tilts her head to the side and after a moment shakes her shirley temple curls and walks off. WHEW! Everyone loves a well delivered line.
Throughout the next week I was very careful to try and spend an equal amount of time between both little ladies. Aside from a couple of minor bumps things were pretty smooth and decidedly going according to plan. {I’ve learned that in parenting, as in life, to enjoy the small moments of successI}
A couple of weeks after returning home with the Newbie my blood pressure spiked.  It was frightening.  My blood pressure was high enough that my husband and I called an ambulance.  Low and behold everything was not so bad and we solved the issue in a couple of hours.  I was back home later that night with my little ladies.
Life with children is full of surprises, its so easy to forget that and assume that things are going to continue as they were the day before. The day following my hospital run, having experienced the trauma of seeing one’s mother being carted away in a flash of red and blue lights with strange men and women flooding the house, my oldest was trying to adjust. That afternoon she asked for breastmilk.
Whoh.  After getting over the shock of her even asking I said yes.  I was thinking that she just needed some extra comfort and reassurance. Little did I know this was the tipping point, and the start of a whole new plan.  Regardless of why she initially needed the booby she was hooked. In that first tiny sip she remembered how good the “ninny” always was. {So much for my planning}
Here we are a year later and I am still feeding both.
Some days its no big deal and our system works fine, other days I feel like a cow being suffocated by little bodies and they crawl all over me to fight for the better one. (Yes there is a better one; its not always the same one either)
People are always curious and wondering when I am going to wean the older one. They want to know my plan. Imagine, a plan, what a sweet idea.  I’m guessing no one let them in on the parenting truth that planning is more of a theory than a reality with children.
I am so torn about how to answer them and even more so how to proceed with my ladies.  I don’t want my Baby Girl to feel that her sister is getting favored treatment and that she is missing out on mommy time. On the other hand I am not made of milk ((though my girls might think I am) and supporting both of them can be taxing on my body.
For now we have pretty much settled on a schedule of Baby Girl only getting the booby at night to go to sleep and first in the morning to help wake up. While for the Newbie I am still her primary source of nutrition.  I always try to stay engaged with Baby Girl during the Newbie’s feeding times throughout the day. Sometimes that means reading Baby Girl a book or just playing around with her.
There are times when they do feed at the same time and that is all about positioning. We have used pillows, and angles galor and the same one rarely works more than a handful of times. {there’s that whole planning thing again}  The reality is that they fight or play or occasionally both and we just do the best we can and try our hardest to be patient with one another.
The reality: I do not always love breastfeeding them both but I do always love knowing that I am able to give comfort and safety to both of my daughters.  I do love that I was able to expand my plan and give Baby Girl what she needed when she reached out for the care and reassurance. While things haven’t gone exactly to plan and probably won’t start doing so anytime soon those thoughts definitely make the tough days worth it.  Here’s to life’s beautiful unplanned moments!

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