Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Answering the Googlers, and other thoughts on tandem nursing

 Photo Credit:  Eleaf on Flickr

With my few posts about tandem nursing, I've had a few hits to my blog from Google searches essentially asking the same thing:  "what happens when your milk comes in when you're tandem nursing?"

So here's my quick answer:  tandem nursing was the best possible thing for engorgement, clogs, etc.  Looking back at all the mastitis and blebs and clogs I dealt with after Bean was born, it's clear I had an oversupply.

My understanding is that, with subsequent babies, you tend to have a larger supply and it comes in sooner.  Squeak was already gulping by 24 hours old, so I was certainly making more than a trickle of colostrum.  I think my milk was completely in within 48 hours of Squeak's birth.  I woke up in the morning and was a little full - just slightly uncomfortable.  Bean came in for his usual morning nurse and gulped down milk.  I let him have a longer nurse than usual, and I haven't really had any engorgement since.

Pretty straightforward.   I'm not sure exactly what the Googlers want to know - as far as I know, tandem nursing doesn't alter the quantity of milk you produce in the beginning or how quickly your milk comes in.  It's largely hormone-driven in the beginning (not quite as supply-and-demand as a few weeks later).

Another question I've heard is about the composition of the milk, since a mother's milk changes as her baby ages - even the breastmilk made by the mother of a premature baby is different from the breastmilk made for a term newborn!  My milk is custom-made for Squeak; it is the composition meant for a baby his age.

On this note, something very interesting related in Adventures in Tandem Nursing:  Kangaroos are really built for tandem nursing!  They can have a Joey in their pouch receiving one composition of milk and a toddler who is out and about but comes back to nurse from a separate teat that produces "toddler" milk!  And???  A Kangaroo can suspend gestation.  They can conceive another Joey, but its development will halt if the mother kangaroo has "too young" a Joey (I'm not sure what constitutes "too young," but I would hazard a guess that it's sort of like ovulation can be triggered in human females whose fertility is squelched by breastfeeding.  That is to say, I'd guess it could have something to do with frequency of feedings??)  I can't remember if I read that last little tidbit in Adventures in Tandem Nursing or whether I learned about it while trying to find out about monotreme lactation...or during Bean's general obsession with mammals.
I suppose that also answers another search query:  "Do animals tandem nurse?"

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...