On Tandem Nursing by Jeanne Sager
Moms, how many kids would you be willing tobreastfeed at once? One? Two? How aboutbreastfeeding three children? That's what mom Samantha Williams proudly announced to the world the other day. Now for the really big news: only one of those kids is a baby.
That's right. Samantha is nursing her 7-month-old. Her 3-year-old. AND her 5-year-old.
At once. Well, sort of.
Despite her unusual breastfeeding routine, Samantha is just like regular gals: she only has two breasts. So while she is doing what's called "tandem nursing" of her baby and two older kids, only two can latch on at any one time. Still, she's trading off two boobs among three children, and they're not triplets.
Is this woman a saint? Or is she nuts? Maybe a little bit of both?
I'm not here to piss in the cornflakes of breastfeeding moms. This is NOT about breastfeeding. At least not about why women choose to nurse at the outset.
But Samantha has put herself out there as an example of what a woman can do with her kids, and I can't help but be a little horrified. Women who extended nurse say they do so for the best of their kids, but her 3- and 5-year-olds aren't the only kids this mom has to consider.
What about her baby? What about what's best for 7-month-old Ethan?
Is it really to have a mother whose body is working overtime for three kids in every way -- not just running after them, but in producing milk? Is it really to have to share this special mom to baby bonding time that the breastfeeding proponents crow about with his siblings? Is it really to have a mom who never gets to just shut off?
That's the part that really gets me. What about her?
Because breastfeeding one kid takes a lot out of you. Breastfeeding three? That's ... a lot of pressure, especially for the mother of an infant.
I'm sure Samantha Williams is a good mom. She's obviously trying. And the photos show happy, healthy kids. But my response to her story wasn't "oh, how cool." It was, good God, that poor woman.
She's breastfeeding three children. THREE! That's a lot of work for a mom, a mom who has an infant at home who needs his mother to have as much energy for him as she can muster.
Adding more kids to your family can be a wonderful thing, but you need to remember not to spread yourself too thin -- because that's not good for anyone, and it's not fair to your new baby.
As always the comments are the best part.