When one Canadian mum posted a picture of how her breastmilk adapted to meet the needs of her two tandem breastfeeding sons, born more than 20 months apart, the internet called HOAX!
We called the experts to uncover if this magical photo could be legit after all and it seems many were too quick to judge.
Post goes viral
When Chelsea Pryce’s two-year-old son Osiris was sick, she fed him exclusively from one breast and her three-month-old son Hendrix from the other to help stop his illness passing to his younger brother.
She then expressed from both breasts on the same day and shared a photo showing the remarkable difference in the milk produced by each breast.
One batch was very yellow in comparison to the other.
“Osiris’s pumped breast milk is on the left, Hendrix’s is on the right,” Chelsea wrote. “Each breast produced perfectly tailored milk for each kid. Our bodies are amazing.”
Reaction to her post was immediate and overwhelming.
“OK this just made me excited to be able to tandem nurse. My 2 1/2 year-old will not wean and I am about to deliver in 19 days,” wrote one commenter.
“For one, kudos to tandem nursing … I have done it twice lol. It’s definitely not easy! And it is so amazing how our bodies adapt to each child’s need,” another wrote.
While the mum garnered a lot of supportive comments, there were also quite a few who questioned the legitimacy of the post.
Is it really possible?
Lactation consultant Katrina Tucker from The Baby Brain explains how this wonder of nature is absolutely possible.
“While she may have expressed from different breasts at the same time, it [breast milk] can be completely unique at every different hour – it is pretty magic stuff,” Katrina says.
“For instance, if you have a pre-term baby, it can be specific to just that baby in terms of nutrients and to give baby what it needs to grow and catch up as well.”
How does tandem breastfeeding work?
Katrina says just as breastfeeding is a personal choice, so is the decision to tandem breastfeed. And often the older child will help make the decision for mum by weaning themselves during the pregnancy.
“You can continue to breastfeed while you are pregnant with another child; your milk does change to produce that colostrum for your new baby and often your older child does tend to wean at some point during the pregnancy, but not always,” Katrina says.
“If the eldest hasn’t weaned, they can continue to breastfeed and it is up to the mum how she chooses to do this. Often mums will feed the new baby first and then put the older child on to feed, or you can do two at once or whatever sort of works in whatever sort of octopus hand formation you want try and hold the children on at one time.
“Each individual feed is different and it really is about personal choice.”
Katrina says she has had a lot of clients choosing to tandem breastfeed, especially as part of attachment parenting. “Some will go on to tandem breastfeed for a number of years,” she says.
Tips if you choose to tandem breastfeed
Katrina has two key tips for mums considering tandem breastfeeding:
1. Go with the flow
Katrina says mums need to decide what they want to do and still be prepared to adapt to changing circumstances.
“The main tip is to decide what you would like to do and obviously, as individual circumstances change, as baby decides to continue breastfeeding or starts to wean, go with the flow and try and find a way that is comfortable for you,” Katrina says.
Having had very different breastfeeding journeys with each of her three children, Katrina says she learnt that what you plan to do – and what actually works for that child – is often different and that’s okay.
2. Look after yourself first
Mums need to ensure they are looking after themselves so they can be there for their children.
“Take time out for you and look after you,” Katrina says. “If you are feeding two babies, it is so important you keep your fluids up, have lots of snack and lots of me-time.”
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