In honor of World Breastfeeding Week, I plan on a post-a-day about breastfeeding.
The definition of tandem nursing is as varied as the people who tandem nurse. It could mean nursing two children of different ages at the same time or at different times. It can mean nursing twins. I've even seen it loosing defined as nursing while pregnant. Tandem means "in conjunction" and was originally used to describe a two-seated bicycle. Hence the loose definition.
Benefits to Tandem Nursing
1) Most Tandem nursers report less sibling rivalry. Most likely because children can share and also bond over nursing. I've heard that a few nurslings will hold hands during nursing and will insist (when they're older) on nursing together rather than apart.
2) Helps with engorgement. Often during the early days after giving birth, engorgement happens. Using a pump is helpful, but using your toddler is also a plus (and at least for me takes less time for let down).
3) You don't always have to follow a particular order to who nurses once the milk comes back in. If you are having a particularly stressed/sickly newborn who can't seem to suck well enough for a let down, your more experienced toddler can help with that. Plus if you newborn is extremely hungry, toddlers make great distractions so your newborn will calm down enough to find the nipple.
4) Both of your children still receive the immunities that you have. It's tough to wean a young toddler and then have them come down with something while your already tired from pregnancy/birth.
Tomorrow I'll talk about various holds for nursing two children and also about how to deal with the stigma you may get from nursing while pregnant or tandem nursing. Wednesday, I'll talk about milk production issues (both the under supply and oversupply). I haven't decided what to discuss on Thursday or Friday so if you've got a suggestion/question that may help.