Tandem nursing is when a mother breastfeeds two or more children of different ages. This may occur if a mother becomes pregnant while she is still nursing her other child. Or, mothers have described instances where a weaned toddler begins to regress in behavior and wants to nurse along with the newborn.
Nursing both infant and toddler can provide an excellent teaching opportunity for the toddler. Tandem breast-feeding enables the toddler to learn to share, to learn gentle touching of the newborn, and allows for periods of affection between the two children with supervision by the mother. Both mother and toddler may not want to give up the special time that they enjoy through breast-feeding.
In deciding whether to tandem nurse, consider whether the nurturing at the breast will provide an important emotional benefit to the toddler. But also consider your own comfort and physical well-being. If you begin to feel resentment toward the toddler, it is better to wean so as not to transmit negative feelings toward him.
While nursing, it is important to maintain a nutritious diet. When nursing two children, the breasts will be well stimulated and produce an ample milk supply. You can reserve a particular breast for each child each day and then rotate. You will be at less risk of engorgement because of the efficient nursing of the toddler. If you have a very strong letdown (initial flow of milk) the toddler can nurse for a few minutes first to reduce the flow of the milk. If the physical logistics of nursing two children at once are difficult, a nursing sling or carrier for the newborn can help.
Mood swings are very common during the early weeks. Mothers often say that they feel "touched out" by the continual nurturing of both children. These feelings are very common. Your partner can help by arranging for you to have some personal time every day.