A while back, I wrote about finding myself nursing BlueEyes while I was pregnant with Little Brother. I thought that BlueEyes would wean himself when my milk would dry up due to my pregnancy. But that didn’t happen. BlueEyes didn’t seem to care whether there was milk or not, he would just continue to nurse. And the closer I got to Little Brother being born, the less I felt like weaning a toddler who would probably not stop nursing without a fuss. And I didn’t want BlueEyes to get the feeling that he was being replaced by the new baby. So now I find myself tandem nursing a toddler and a newborn.
It’s not that we don’t have certain rules. I taught BlueEyes pretty early on that if he wanted to nurse he wasn’t supposed to pull on my shirt, but he had to sign (before he could talk) or ask to nurse. And a little later, I imposed the rule that I counted back from 5 to 1 and then he had to stop nursing, to stop the endless nursing sessions he would have. And now we have the rule that Little Brother always nurses first (although this is still a hard one for BlueEyes) and that BlueEyes can only nurse in bed, so before and after sleeping.
So yeah, five years ago I didn’t even realize this was a thing: tandem nursing. But it is, and now you know it too.
With some pillows and a boppy it’s totally possible to nurse a baby and type on your computer at the same time. However, sometimes being trapped under a nursing and/or sleeping baby is a perfect excuse to watch some tv. Just now I watched this highly recommendable (but not subtitled) homecountry show about the Elfstedentocht in 1997. It nearly made me cry from all the nostalgic feelings. Since 98% of my readers are not from my homecountry, I should probably explain.
The “Elfstedentocht” (eleven cities tour) is an ice-skating event that last happened in 1997. To me that sounds like yesterday, but in reality that’s 17 years ago (crap, that makes me feel kinda old). This event is a 200 km (120 mile) skating tour on natural ice in one of the northern provinces in the homecountry. A province so far away that people even speak their own language. Every year the main question during the winter is whether this epic tour is going to take place or not. Only 16.000 people can skate during this event and the other 16 million inhabitants of the homecountry travel to said province to party and encourage the skaters. But with global warming and such, the last time the ice was thick enough to hold this many people was in 1997. So we nostalgically look back and wonder when the next time will be. In the meantime, there are a bunch of “alternative Elfstedentochten” where people skate 120 miles on ice somewhere else in the world and there’s a host of other Elfstedentochten, where people use rowing boats, bicycles, motor cycles and what not to complete the same route. Yours truly cycled the tour once and rowed it twice (but with rowing it’s a relay race, I should add).
The entire internet could not provide me with a clip with English subtitles but here’s the 1997 finish. Also, this was the winter fashion in 1997. Also quite interesting.
I came across your blog while looking for some guides to breastfeeding and pumping at work. I am about to go back to work as a postdoc, and I’m wondering whether it is possible to not pump at work at all and will my milk supply go down if I skip my work pump. Any advice is appreciated!
Even though I’m not a lactation consultant, I do have some experience and heard a lot of advice and experiences from women around me, so I told her this:
It really depends on the age of your baby and on your supply. For most women, their milk supply starts to be stable between 9 months and a year. So if you baby is older than 9 months, I think you should be okay not pumping at work and just nursing him at home. However, if your baby is younger than that, I think not pumping will affect your supply and it’s up to you how much you don’t want that. If you’re okay with your supply dropping and slowly moving over to formula, then you can do it and any breastmilk he gets from you is something of course! However, if you plan to nurse longer and your baby is younger than 9 months, I wouldn’t advice not pumping at work.
Another thing to consider is your own comfort. When I stopped pumping when my son was 1 year, I still got pretty engorged at the end of a workday and had my handpump in my office to relieve the pressure on days when it got too bad. I’m sure my breasts could not have handled an 8+ hour workday without pumping in the first year, but I know this is different for different women too.
A last thing to add is that for me, pumping was not that much work. It’s another thing to add to your routine, but I was usually done within 15 minutes per session, and I pumped twice a day. I had an extra set of tubing and breastshields so that I didn’t have to wash those in between pumping sessions for example.
To which she replied that her baby was 9 months and that she had pumped twice daily since she went back to work when her baby was 2 months.
So I told her:
When your baby is already nine months, you’re likely going to be okay not pumping and continuing to nurse. I dropped one pumping session at 9 months and the other at 12, but you might be okay just not pumping during the day. Just see how it goes and if your supply drops dramatically you can always decide to continue pumping for a couple more weeks/months and then try again. For a while I pumped during breakfast to have an extra bottle and leave home with empty breasts for the day (especially when BlueEyes decided not to nurse a lot in the morning).
I thought I’d post this conversation on my blog too, as it might be helpful to others too!