Baby Elma Family Kitty Pregnancy

Nursing and a bump {Little Bump and Me}

19/06/2014

Space for the Butterflies - an eclectic handmade family life

When we found out that we were expecting Elma Kitty was still nursing morning, nap and night. For me at least, nursing is clearly not a way to not get pregnant.

I’m not sure the thought of ever deliberately weaning Kitty ever crossed my mind; we’d always said we’d let her wean at her own pace as long as it continued to work for us and so in default of any good ideas to the contrary, we just kept going as we were. And as I hit the third trimester, and she hit two, over the course of a week or so she just stopped.

If I hadn’t been pregnant she might have gone on longer, or she might not; at the time it felt like it was her decision more than it felt like something being forced on her by my body switching back to making colostrum in preparation for Elma’s arrival. Our health visitors mentioned that she might want to start up again once the baby arrived but Kitty showed absolutely no interest in Mama-milk, other than as food for Elma (and don’t get me wrong, it was like having a permanent pint sized health visitor at my elbow every time Elma squeaked).

But Kitty was five months older when she started to get to grips with the whole baby sibling concept, and that five months is making a difference.

As of right now (31 weeks) Elma nurses at most of her nap times (when she’s with me – she dropped milk at nursery at about a year) and at bedtime. If I’m not there for whatever reason she’ll quite happily let her Daddy rock her to sleep, but she’d rather have Mummy.

Purely for the sake of anyone out there looking for information, I’m still nursing cross cradle with Elma; she’s a bit propped on the bump (which I will vainly claim is making me carry low, not the complete absence of the operation of my tummy muscles after umpteen pregnancies in so many years), but mostly I shuffle her so that her weight is in my arms (which rest on the arms of the rocking chair) and on the chair itself. As she gets sleepier and unlatches I’ll shuffle her down a bit so that she’s more in my lap, and we’re pretty comfy that way.

With Kitty she’d got far too wriggly a nurser for the rocker even before I was pregnant and we’d decamped to my bed. She continued nursing lying down and then snuggling up to sleep until she weaned and then just cuddled up to sleep. Sometimes we moved her to her bed and sometimes we didn’t, and there are worse things in the world when you’re pregnant to be required to have a nice little lie down every evening – it definitely helped with the morning sickness!

But back to now. My strong suspicion, mostly based on feel, and the fact that I can’t express anything, is that we’re onto colostrum again and that the nursing is as much for comfort as it is for a full tummy, and probably more so. Whether she weans before the baby arrives or not is entirely up to Elma; I’m not going to force it unless something happens that makes it unavoidable.

In a funny way I don’t really know which way I want it to go. I’ll admit it was nice having a little break between the elder two, but at the same time I don’t want to feel that I shortchanged Elma simply because the age gap to her younger sibling is smaller than the one to her big sister. Perhaps that’s a good thing; if I have no strong feeling about the outcome then I can let Elma make the choice without feeling guilt or conflicted about the outcome, and that can only be a good thing.

And so I just sit and watch and wait. If we end up tandem nursing then that’s OK, at least in principle; I have absolutely no idea how to arrange the babies, or which order to feed them in or anything like that but I’m sure I’ll figure it out just as we will all the other unforeseen challenges of parenting three little ones. All that being said, if anyone has any top tips, either about keeping everything spinning with three little ones or tandem nursing in particular please do let me know!

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  • Donna 19/06/2014 at 8:22 am

    LP weaned when I was just a couple of months pregnant and I was glad of the little break in between babies. I couldn’t imagine being heavily pregnant and breastfeeding or tandem feeding. Great post, it’s always nice to read about other people’s experiences and it’s lovely that your children are making their own decisions on when to wean x

    • Carie 19/06/2014 at 4:58 pm

      Thank you 🙂 It certainly was nice to have that little break last time, but Elma still seems so little to me – she’s going to suddenly be huge overnight when Little Bump arrives isn’t she!

  • preeta samarasan 19/06/2014 at 10:53 am

    I’ve tandem nursed because, like you, I had no strong feelings but I’ve wanted to leave the decision of when to wean to my kids because it seems so important to them. My older was 2.5 when I got pregnant with my second, but she nursed all through the pregnancy and actually still does morning and night if she has the chance (she’s older than Kitty!). If I’m not around it’s not a huge deal, she can get to sleep by herself, but she does prefer me being there. The younger one is now 21 months and very very very attached to mama’s milk so it doesn’t seem like she’ll be stopping anytime soon. I can’t say I’ve loved every moment of tandem nursing — sometimes it’s been hard and exhausting! — but other times I love being able to comfort them so easily and surely, I love that it’s there for them, and I love that they share it. One thing I tried early on but that really didn’t work for me was nursing both at exactly the same time — I’ve done it a handful of times and I have to say I hate it. I avoid it except in extenuating circumstances. But each girl having a turn, I don’t mind that, and I think it’s given the three of us a nice bond.

    • Carie 19/06/2014 at 5:02 pm

      Thank you so much for sharing your experience, it’s good to know that it’s not actually that unknown to be feeding two at once, and very useful to know that you found feeding one after the other easier than both at the same time – I can’t get my head around the logistics of both at the same time – visions of the baby getting thwacked by his or her big sister!

  • preeta samarasan 19/06/2014 at 8:08 pm

    That said, many tandem-nursing mums do feed both at the same time; it just doesn’t work for me. It helps that my older nurser is old enough to understand (well, most of the time ;-)) that her baby sister gets to go first (because when *she* was a baby she didn’t have to share at all, etc. etc.). Do you have the book _Adventures in Tandem Nursing_? I found it useful just to read different perspectives, and to confirm my suspicion that there were lots of different ways to tandem nurse. Honestly, before I had kids I really never thought I’d be doing this (nursing so long, nursing two) — I had all sorts of preconceptions about not being “the type” (whatever that means!!!). It’s just that as time went on, this is how things unfolded, and this is what has made sense for us as a family.

    • Carie 21/06/2014 at 12:23 pm

      I don’t, I’ll have to check it out – like you it’s not something I’d ever even really thought about before I had children and lovely as my health visitors are they mostly look surprised when I mention that Elma is still nursing!

  • Victoria Mylittlel 20/06/2014 at 3:17 pm

    how interesting, i actually never thought about what happens if you have a kid who is breastfeeding and another one on the way

    • Carie 21/06/2014 at 12:46 pm

      I think it’s one of those things you don’t think about unless it’s happening – it never occured to me before either!

  • sally 20/06/2014 at 8:57 pm

    I had 2 pregnancies where a sibling was breastfeeding right through to almost the last minute. They both stopped literally a week or so before birth, partly from natural timing I think, partly because I’m sure my milk had changed too and partly from slight, gentle encouragement on my part! As much as it’s lovely to leave it completely up to the child I think it is important to look after yourself too, and the last few weeks of pregnancy with 2 young children can be very tiring so make sure you come into the equation too. And without guilt, you’ll be a better Mum to Elma if you don’t run yourself completely ragged. In hindsight I do wonder if my breastfeeding affected the amount of calcium available for the 2 unborn babies as well, those 2 do seem to have less strong teeth than my other 2, it may just be coincidence but another thing to feel guilty about! And I breast fed my littlest longer than any of the others, I was waiting for her to stop naturally and she never did and there was no pregnancy to change anything either way. We’ve only just stopped quite recently, basically because the milk finally seemed to dry up which was causing frustration and disappointment and fruitless sucking was making me sore too. And it’s been by far the hardest weaning off I’ve had. Because she was so much older (4), it wasn’t something she forgot about after a few weeks of missing it. She’s very much gone through a ‘grieving’ process, as much as we had loads of extra cuddles and books etc nothing quite replaced the ‘boobies’, it was very much like losing a friend or realising very consciously that a stage of her life was over, to the point where she wished she was a baby again, didn’t want to grow up, found it distressing. It hasn’t helped that my Mum was taken very ill soon afterwards and that’s added to the not wanting to grow old issue. But basically what I’m saying is beware the problems of breastfeeding too long, it’s wonderful when they do stop completely naturally (as my other one did) but when they don’t stop naturally I think possibly it can make life harder for everyone, and particularly the child. Sorry, feel like I’ve just written a very long and negative comment! I am incredibly pro breast feeding, but I don’t think there’s anything much out there on what happens when your child just doesn’t naturally stop.

    • Carie 21/06/2014 at 12:57 pm

      I don’t think it’s negative, I think it’s really useful to hear some actual experience from someone who’s been there and done that so thank you – and definitely worth bearing in mind if we do tandem nurse

  • Molly 22/06/2014 at 10:06 pm

    I don’t have any experience or advice to offer on the whole tandem feeding subject but I’m sure that the lovely parent blogging world will come up trumps for you on this one. I must admit, breastfeeding is something I’m really looking forward to doing again so I hope it’s as easy this time as the last. Although there were times when I found the weight of responsibility of feeding a huge burden, overall I loved it and I can’t quite believe it’s now nearly 3 years since we stopped. Three whole years! Thanks for linking up again to the #BlogBumpClub. xx

    • Carie 23/06/2014 at 9:37 pm

      I’ve found it relatively easy going both times – which is probably why we’ve kept going so long – fingers crossed it’s easyish again this time!

  • ghostwritermummy 25/06/2014 at 8:57 pm

    This is really interesting. I have no experience of this at all as I have always finished breastfeeding before falling pregnant again so it really never occurred to me that this could happen. I’ll be interested to see how long the nursing continues.
    x x

    • Carie 25/06/2014 at 10:31 pm

      Me too – in terms of how long she nurses for I mean! I’m like a very tiny science experiment in nursing.