No, Don’t Stop Nursing Before Your C-Section. Try Tandem Breastfeeding Instead!

Did you find yourself pregnant while your baby was still breastfeeding? Pregnancy doesn’t mean that you need to wean your baby; you can breastfeed through pregnancy and then try tandem breastfeeding after a c-section.

I never pictured myself tandem breastfeeding my babies, but when I became pregnant a year after the birth of my third child, that’s precisely what happened. My one-year-old wasn’t ready to wean just yet, and neither was I, so I set out on a journey to tandem breastfeed my toddler and newborn.

Breastfeeding after a c-section can be challenging, so you might imagine breastfeeding two is twice as hard. You might be surprised to learn that tandem breastfeeding might make your experience even more comfortable!

Surprised? Keep reading to find out more.

The Benefits of Tandem Breastfeeding

I can tell you that tandem breastfeeding has several benefits. It was a positive, not a negative experience for our family. Before I decided to do so, I spoke to my pediatrician, and it turns out his wife tandem breastfed all of their kids – six of them! He encouraged us to do the same thing, so I sat down to learn about the benefits.

Here are some benefits you might find interesting!

Toddler and newborn bonding
  • Tandem breastfeeding relieves engorgement because toddlers have a stronger suckle and are more efficient than newborns at nursing.
  • You’re less likely to get clogged ducts or mastitis with a powerhouse breastfeeding toddler on hand. You can call your toddler the clogged duct eliminator.
  • When a toddler breastfeeds, they can help manage a mother’s overactive letdown, which helps to reduce gassiness and digestive problems.
  • Tandem nursing helps to reduce any feelings of jealousy from your toddler. My pediatrician recommended doing so for this reason!
  • Your toddler will feel encouraging bonding with their new sibling since they can do something together.
  • You might find that your milk supply arrives earlier, encouraging healthy milk production.
  • Tandem nursing helps mothers feel like they’re still bonding with their toddler, even with a demanding newborn. You can be sure you have a consistent bond before and after the birth of your new baby.
  • For moms who have c-sections, it means you can easily keep your toddler entertained and occupied rather than worrying that he might be burning down the house.

5 Tips for Tandem Breastfeeding After a C-Section

So, you decided you want to give it a try? You have a pleasant experience to look forward to after your child’s birth. Don’t be worried; it’ll be awesome.

Here are some tips for tandem breastfeeding after a c-section to make your experience easier and ensure your baby gets what is needed for growth and development.

Your Baby Needs The Colostrum 

Colostrum is necessary for your new baby, and your baby must get as much as possible. There is a chance your toddler won’t enjoy the flavor anyway!

Since you’ll be in the hospital for 48-72 hours post-birth, use this time to give your new baby as much colostrum as possible, breastfeeding on demand. If your toddler does visit, be open to tandem breastfeeding in the hospital. It’s only once!

Start Tandem Breastfeeding When You Arrive Home

My milk supply arrived within 48 hours after I had my fourth baby, partly due to tandem nursing. I nursed my toddler hours before I gave birth, so the milk wasn’t far behind.

When you arrive home, be prepared to tandem nurse. Your toddler might be unsure what to expect and if he will still be allowed to breastfeed. Be open and let him know he’s allowed to nurse just as he did before. 

Use a Pillow to Protect Your Incision 

Toddlers can be a bit rambunctious when breastfeeding; the last thing you want is a knee to the incision. Trust me, that happened several times to me. 

Instead, lay a pillow across your incision to give it a bit of protection. You can use a Boppy or another type of breastfeeding pillow, but the others are typically too large. I used a Boppy Pillow, and it worked perfectly.

Also, work on teaching your toddler to be easy. Not only does he need to be easy because of your incision, but he needs to be careful around the baby! 

Only Breastfeed Together in One Breast is Sufficient 

One of your worries might be that your toddler will take too much of the baby’s milk. After all, your baby needs breast milk to grow and thrive while your toddler eats daily meals.

The best suggestion is to pay attention to how your baby breastfeeds. If your baby only needs to nurse one breast at a time, it’s fine to let them nurse together. If your baby needs to nurse on both sides, you’ll need to wait until you’re either finished breastfeeding your baby or let him nurse on the left side.

You’ll find a balance, and it only takes a few days.

Expect Your Toddler to Breastfeed Often

Last, the one thing I didn’t expect was for my toddler to start breastfeeding frequently. Before the arrival of my fourth baby, my toddler only nursed a few times a day, typically before naptime or bedtime. 

When my baby arrived, my toddler started breastfeeding like a newborn again. I was surprised. Each time the baby nursed, so did he. His favorite activity became holding hands with his little sister while they nursed at the same time.

Eventually, this new craze died down, and he remembered how amazing his toys and snacks were. For those first few weeks, I thought I had twins.

Give It a Try 

You might be a skeptic, but tandem breastfeeding is more beneficial than you might imagine. If you’re worried about it being possible after a c-section, with the right precautions to protect your incision, tandem breastfeeding after a c-section makes your life easier. 

Tandem nursing your toddler and baby at the same time reduces the risk of engorgement, clogged duct, mastitis, and also encourages bonding together. Just remember to stop your toddler from kneeling or jumping on your stomach. Otherwise, sit back and relax with both of your little ones.

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