Reasons for tandem breastfeeding

Why should I breastfeed my older child along with my new baby?

Tandem breastfeeding, which is breastfeeding an older child along with a new baby, has many benefits for mothers and both children. Mothers may be able to lose weight more easily, and the older child is easier to supervise while the baby is breastfeeding. Mothers are less likely to become engorged, which can also reduce the risk of latching problems for the new baby. Mothers who are expressing for a premature baby may find their milk supply is easier to maintain. The older child has a better chance of being healthy and may be less jealous of the baby.

A) Describing tandem breastfeeding

Tandem breastfeeding refers to breastfeeding two children of different ages. This happens as a natural extension of breastfeeding while pregnant.

Breast milk has been shown to adapt to meet the needs of each child by slightly increasing the  amounts of fat, calories, and protein (Sinkiewicz-Darol 2021).

B) Reasons for tandem breastfeeding

Just as there are benefits to breastfeeding while pregnant, there are benefits to breastfeeding a new baby along with an older brother or sister.

1) Tandem breastfeeding benefits for the mother

Benefits for the mother:

  • They are less likely to become engorged.
  • They will need more calories to breastfeed two children, which will generally helps them lose weight after delivery.
  • The older child is easier to supervise while they breastfeed both at the same time.
  • They are less likely to have to deal with two sick children.
  • They are less likely to have to deal with a jealous older child.

2) Tandem breastfeeding benefits for the children

a) Benefits for the older child:

b) Benefits for the new baby:

  • Effective milk removal from the breast by the older child will help to ensure a good milk supply for the baby, increasing breastfeeding success and providing many benefits.
  • If the baby is premature, breastfeeding the child will help maintain the amounts of expressed milk that can be given to the baby. 
  • The older child is less likely to be sick and infect the baby.
  • The baby is less likely to have to learn to latch onto a firm or engorged breast.
  • The older child is less likely to be jealous of the baby which can encourage a life-long, healthy relationship between them.

References

Sinkiewicz-Darol E, Bernatowicz-Łojko U, Łubiech K, et al. Tandem Breastfeeding: A Descriptive Analysis of the Nutritional Value of Milk When Feeding a Younger and Older Child. Nutrients. 2021 Jan 19;13(1):277