When writing the title of this post, I thought, “Tandem feeding two children beyond the first year?? My god, I sound like a complete breastfeeding NUT”. The truth is, I’m still not sure how we got here, and I’m in a phase where I’m slightly envious every time I hear of a friend who has just ended their breastfeeding days – it’s been almost four years of solid breastfeeding, and I am eager to see what it’s like to NOT be breastfeeding, for once.
I guess it’s the fact that I am hugely lazy, and have yet to get Rory self-settling that stops me from wanting to wean him right now. But once he can fall asleep on his own, I think we will start the process of weaning, for both boys.
As it currently stands, I’m breastfeeding three year old Arlo, and thirteen month old Rory.
They very rarely both feed at the exact same time. Rory has a mid morning feed (sometimes, sometimes not, depending on how busy we are), an afternoon feed, and then one before bed. (He also has two feeds during the night, this is ever-changing, as he’s currently in the middle of co-sleeping to cot transition, but currently it’s at around 11pm and 3am). Arlo climbs into my bed and has milk in the morning when he wakes up, and then that’s it for the day for him.
Reading back on my past posts on breastfeeding beyond a year, I can see that Rory is getting to that stage where breastfeeding became a bit of an obsession for Arlo. So, with the benefit of this hindsight, I’ve already established breastfeeding ‘zones’ and times. Also with Rory, I have made a point of not feeding him upon waking in the morning, as this has always been Arlo’s most established feed and therefore the hardest one to cut out. And it’s the most annoying feed for me, as it interferes with every single lie-in I’ve tried to have since being a parent.
Over the summer holidays (when it doesn’t matter so much if Arlo’s sleep is disturbed), my plan is to do some sleep training with Rory and help him learn to fall asleep in his cot. Once he’s doing this, I think it will make a huge difference to my feelings on whether I want to continue breastfeeding or not. It will seem much easier to stop. (Although a part of me thinks it could be a better idea to hold off until after winter bug season).
A few months ago, I wrote an exapserated post on Arlo’s obsession with routine and how that impacted breastfeeding. In the comments section, one of my blogging pals, Jess from Along Came Cherry, wrote “I have found with anything that I never thought would get sorted, it always did in the easiest way”. Looking back at my own experiences, I could see a lot of sense in this, and you know what? She was entirely right.
Shortly after writing that post, Arlo decided (with my encouragement and a lot of chatting beforehand about how “Big boys and girls do eventually stop having milk”) that he was OK with dropping all feeds except for his morning one. I won’t lie and say that he did it without any protest at all, but there was far far less fuss than I had imagined – it turns out that my son is very easily swayed with chocolate.
He still has his morning milk, but he’s stopped pestering me constantly, so we are now back to having a happy balance for both of us. He’s so chilled out about it at the moment that I even think it wouldn’t be too much of an issue to wean Arlo without him feeling it was unfair that Rory was still feeding. We are ever so slowly moving towards giving up the morning feed, but I’m happy for it to be a slow transition.
Finishing breastfeeding is something I’ve been thinking about for a while now. I am ready. And I am ready to start gently pushing my boys to be ready. I am fairly confident that you won’t see me back here next year with a post titled “Tandem feeding my two year old and four year old”, but I wouldn’t place any bets on it just yet ; )
More on my experiences breastfeeding beyond the first year:
Breastfeeding a toddler | Breatsfeeding a toddler through pregnancy and tandem feeding | Extended breastfeeding beyond toddlerhood – a personal perspective | Extended breastfeeding – Starting the weaning process |
(If you have anything you want to ask me that I haven’t covered about breastfeeding beyond a year, breastfeeding two toddlers, tandem feeding, etc, please do ask in the comments)
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