Breastfeeding two babies of different ages is possible and has advantages

Melanie Kamarowski is breastfeeding her children Théo, 1 month old, and Maria Flor, who has just turned 3. | Photo: Personal Archives / Melanie Kamarowski

As soon as she arrived from the maternity ward with little Theo in her arms, Melanie Kamarowski, from Curitiba, became aware of the fear of her eldest daughter, who was almost 3 years old. “She loved the baby and played with him, but she was jealous when she saw her brother breastfeed because, until then, the breast was only her,” says the journalist, who began to breastfeed her two children at the same time, to see what would happen. “It worked so well that now Maria Flor is even holding Theo’s hand or stroking it,” she said.

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And this sibling bond is just one of the benefits of tandem breastfeeding – when a woman breastfeeds two children of different ages. According to pediatrician Marcelo Lobo of the Santa Brígida Hospital and Maternity Hospital in Curitiba, the decision also contributes to children’s health. After all, “in most cases the first child is still very young and can continue to reap the benefits of breastfeeding,” he says.

In addition, he explains that the mother tends to feel calmer because she has the opportunity to identify with both at the same time and to prevent the older one from feeling rejected. Not to mention that “this increase in breastfeeding demand stimulates milk production, helping the newborn if it has difficulty breastfeeding”, underlines the doctor, citing, as a benefit, the reduction in the risk of breast engorgement – the famous milk pebble – which can block the mammary ducts and cause mastitis.

“And I saw that in practice,” says Melanie. According to her, her breasts were very full when Maria Flor was born and the baby was not all right. “I felt pain breastfeeding, I felt a lot of sensitivity and needed a breastfeeding consultant, things that were no longer needed now,” she explains, recounting that feeding two children made it easier to breastfeed. process. “When my chest became hard on the days when I was giving milk to Theo, Maria Flor came to breastfeed and that relieved me”.

Questions in the puerperium

But the difficulty she faced was related to comments and doubts about tandem breastfeeding. “I never met anyone who had done this and I saw how worried people were when I mentioned it,” he recalls. “They said Theo was going to run out of nutrients, so I spoke to Maria Flor’s pediatrician as soon as I heard of the new pregnancy and she said there would be no problem.”

However, she should maintain the same care that any pregnant or breastfeeding woman should have regarding diet, water intake, moderate physical exercise and medical monitoring, to ensure that she and her babies. are OK. “This is because the only contraindication to breastfeeding during pregnancy concerns women with a risk factor, so you should follow up with the obstetrician,” explains Dr Marcelo Lobo.

Apart from this situation, he guarantees that “nature takes care of feeding the two breastfed children and that the milk is modified to meet the needs of the newborn”. Even “studies show that colostrum and mature milk from tandem mothers is similar to that of non-tandem mothers,” comments the expert, adding that even at different ages babies receive the nutrition they need. depending on where they are. “There is an adaptation of nature for this condition”.

Therefore, Melanie continued to breastfeed, sought out a nutritionist to guide her and ensures that the experience was positive. “It is a privilege to breastfeed two children on demand, with respect and attention to each other’s needs,” she says, while encouraging other mothers to make the same decision. “It’s one of the richest experiences of my life and it’s definitely worth it,” he says.

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