tandem & triandem nursing different aged sibs & assigning breasts

i've done two stints of triandem nursing, the longest stint was for over two years. if you haven't nursed through a pregnancy yet, it's something that is very hard to be prepared for! something like 40% of all all nurslings will wean because of pregnancy hormones and the quantity and taste of the milk changing. so it's great you're totally looking into it and getting prepared now, but don't worry needlessly over it, because it might be out of your hands and nature might take over and your oldest could very well wean despite all your best laid plans.

that said, it is true that i - and many women! - have nursed through pregnancies and none of them have weaned because of, or during the pregnancies. i've tandem or triandem nursed through four pregnancies - something most doctors told me was not possible and even my local LLL had no info on !

it's not as hard as it sounds because the pregnancy will cause both you and the oldest toddler nursing to cut way down on frequency of nursing. when the new baby comes and the toddler sees him/her nursing all the time, it also may cause the oldest toddler/child to think that is a 'babyish' thing to do and you might see the toddler/child only want to nurse every few days, when really tired, emotional or sick.

my experience was definitely *not* that the oldest of the 3 nursed anywhere near as much as the other 2. but the 2nd did want to nurse every time the new baby did for quite a while ! the oldest often waited until the other 2 were asleep and then used the nursing as a time to reconnect and snuggle w/ me. if i ever had all 3 wanting to nurse at the same time, of course the youngest 2 got priority and i found that having a special treat or tv show or project reserved only for such occasions worked wonders for helping the oldest to wait their turn.

my biggest concern the 1st time i nursed 2 was the colostrum. i knew that it only lasted a few days and then the colostrum-milk only lasted for a cpl wks or so. so if it's a finite thing and so precious to the new baby's health, did i want to let the toddlers nurse as strongly and as often as they did and drink it up or take some away from the baby ? i looked everywhere for info on this and couldn't find any anywhere ! i finally decided for my own peace of mind to assign breasts. baby gets the left, older nursling(s) get the right. i also know that breastmilk is composed and altered based on the strength, frequency and pattern of suckling from the baby and that they can operate completely independently of each other. so i thought it made sense that the new baby get 'new baby milk' from his/her own breast and the toddlers share the other breast for 'big baby milk'.

i have noticed with each new baby that the 'baby' breast does retain colostrum up to 4ish days while the 'toddler' breast only has it for about 2ish. once my milk comes in, i see that the new baby's milk is orange-tinged for about 2 wks, whereas the toddler's is for only about 6 days ! this confirms in my mind that the toddler's nursing stimulates the milk to mature faster and i am happy i decided to assign breasts. at about 5-6 mos post-partum, i notice i'm beginning to get lopsided and then i switch. i usually switch back and forth about every 6 months or so for the duration.


Jen said...

Aww, I wish I had found this when I was nursing my food allergic child and pregnant with my now 7 year old non food allergic child. What a great source of information this place is. Here's our story: http://dairyfreediner.wordpress.com/our-journey/

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