A mother is breastfeeding her child; she becomes pregnant again, decides not to interrupt breastfeeding, and continues breastfeeding throughout the pregnancy. Once the baby is born, she breastfeeds the two together or separately. This is called tandem breastfeeding.
Here we tell you what you need to know about it, in case it is your situation:
First trimester: Increase in the sensitivity of the breasts
The most noticeable discomfort in the first trimester – and in some women, the first sign of pregnancy – is swelling and tenderness in the breasts.
From the first days, the breasts begin to prepare for lactation. High levels of progesterone and estrogens make them grow and become more sensitive, and sometimes they hurt at even the slightest touch of clothing.
At times, this could be a problem for mothers who are breastfeeding, as they experience pain or great discomfort at the time of feeding. So much so that some decide to wean without having foreseen it because the pain is not bearable.
Although breast tenderness increases during pregnancy, not all women experience such severe pain, which is why many choose to continue breastfeeding. In any case, these discomforts tend to decrease as pregnancy progresses.
Second trimester: Drop in production
Although the oldest child nurses frequently, between the third and fourth month of gestation, there is a drop in milk production due to the changes that the breast undergoes to adapt to the future baby.
Third trimester: Colostrum appears
During the third trimester of pregnancy, a woman’s breasts begin to produce colostrum as it prepares for the baby that is about to be born. This always happens, regardless of whether the older child continues to nurse or not.
You may start to see the colostrum in the form of small transparent drops as you get closer to your delivery date. Still, in many cases, your breastfeeding child will notice this and may express her dissatisfaction with the change in taste that she suddenly begins to experience when breastfeeding, as colostrum is slightly salty.
We must also take into account the laxative effect of colostrum, which could make the older child’s stools vary in quantity (more abundant) and consistency (more liquid).
Low breast milk production
Breast milk is still being produced, but in a much smaller quantity, and this is something that many children who continue to breastfeed dislike, so they prefer to stop.
More than half of the children are weaned.
Approximately 60% of children are weaned during their mother's pregnancy; of them, just over a third do so between the third and fourth month of gestation, coinciding with the drop in production and the rise of colostrum towards the end of the pregnancy.
Does it negatively affect the newborn?
No, the older child does not "steal" the newborn baby's breast milk. In fact, tandem breastfeeding makes the newborn's weight loss less, and he tends to regain his birth weight more quickly.
What about the rise in milk?
Tandem breastfeeding ensures a good supply of breast milk as there is more stimulation. There is always a rise in breastmilk after you give birth, but when you're tandem breastfeeding, you have the advantage of an older child who helps you decongest your breasts.
Can it affect the growth of the unborn baby?
In a recent study, the weights of all babies were averaged at birth. The mean of older siblings born without breastfeeding in pregnancy was 7.4 lbs, while younger siblings born of a breastfeeding pregnancy were 7.8 lbs. We know that statistically, second children tend to weigh somewhat more than their predecessors, but In any case, with this result, it is obvious that breastfeeding during pregnancy does not cause intrauterine growth retardation.
Tell your doctor
About a quarter of women who were planning to tandem breastfeed hid this from their health professionals, and a quarter of mothers did not tell their pediatrician postpartum for fear of rejection or criticism. Women who communicated it openly received a negative attitude from the professional in 70 percent of the cases in 2000 during pregnancy.
But luckily, 6 years later, there was a positive change. That percentage decreased to 55 percent among gynecologists and midwives. There was also a decrease in negative attitudes among pediatricians, but this was much less.
IMPORTANT to remember
Having good information and feeling understood and normal when breastfeeding in tandem is something you can achieve by going to breastfeeding support groups. Tandem breastfeeding is completely normal and healthy, and you should never feel ashamed for providing not one, but TWO of your babies with liquid gold!