Tandem Nursing: What You Need To Know

Breastfeeding is nature’s way of women providing for their children.

Women have been tandem nursing for generations and it can be first traced back to Roman mythology and Victorian times when wet nurses were used.

What Is Tandem Nursing?

Tandem nursing is when a women breastfeeds two or more children at the same time.  This can either be at the exact same time or one after the other.

Children may be of the same age (twins) or of different ages.

What Are The Advantages Of Breastfeeding?

  • Children are less likely to become fussy eaters
  • Develop a good immune system
  • Good nutrition
  • Children develop a close bond with mother
  • Comfort and security

toddler is breastfeeding

What Are The Advantages Of Tandem Nursing?

  • Mum gets some well deserved downtime
  • Teaches children to share and to be patient
  • Children connect with mother emotionally and physically
  • Reassures the older sibling as new mothers do tend to spend a lot more time with newborns
  • Mother feels less guilt as she spends an equal amount of time with both children
  • Older siblings do not need to wean earlier than they want do
  • Bond is developed between siblings
  • Helps to relieve engorgement
  • Cost effective

What Are The Disadvantages Of Tandem Nursing?

  • Sore nipples
  • Can be overwhelming for some women
  • Can feel like you are always breastfeeding should you decide to feed your children separately
  • Unwelcome comments by others
  • Managing the early stages when your colostrum comes in

Will I Have Enough Milk To Feed My Newborn And My Toddler?

The short answer is yes.

Your breasts will produce as much milk as needed.  The more you breastfeed the more milk you will produce.  Supply is dictated by demand.

Tandem Nursing Colostrum

IMPORTANT:  Your breasts will start to produce colostrum at approx. 6 months of pregnancy.

Colostrum is a thick rich milk that is filled with beneficial nutrients for a newborn.  It helps to develop a strong immune system and aids in the growth and development of your child.

It is vital that your newborn baby receives colostrum soon after birth.

Should you be tandem feeding a toddler at this time, ensure your newborn gets the colostrum and not the toddler.  Feed your new baby first to ensure this happens.  You may even want to restrict your toddler from breastfeeding around this time.

two babies are looking at the floor


Should you decide to tandem breastfeed we recommend you take on the below advice.

  • Join a support group of like-minded women. They can help you with any questions and issues you might experience along the way.
  • Don’t be afraid to ask breastfeeding experts for tips and advice.
  • Eat well to ensure you get enough nutrients to restore your energy levels
  • Drink plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated
  • Recommended holds are in the football or cradle positions
  • Get yourself into a routine. Decide if you are going to feed both children together at the same time or separately, so expectations are set from the beginning
  • Feed your newborn and toddler on different breasts with each feed to help ensure both breasts produce an equal amount of milk. This will help to reduce engorgement.


woman with glasses sitting

twin babies

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