This is the second time I've been a tandem feeder, I fed my now 4 year old with my now 2 1/2 year old for over six months, until my son (the 4 year old) self weaned. This time round, we're about 4 months in to the tandem feeding, and I can't see my 2 1/2 year old showing any signs of wanting to stop.
In some ways it's nice, I think it helps with the jealousy, and my daughters are showing signs of becoming quite close. But it's not all good, there are difficulties. My eldest daughter like's a feed at bedtime, and my youngest is generally in the evening grumps stage, so I have to feed them both at once. I know that I'm an experienced tandem feeder, but I struggle with actually feeding both at once. It's much easier and far more comfy to breastfeed one and then the other, and I sometimes feel that by having to share the feed, my older daughter is missing out on the one on one time with me that she used to have. Having said that, I'm not convinced that she's that bothered.
The other MAJOR downside is illness, we all know that breastfeeding is supposed to help children to resist illness and boost their imune system, but what happens when the older one is ill? My baby is bound to get it too. With the odd cough and cold, things haven't been too bad, but last week hand foot and mouth struck.
Not really the kind of thing that I want my four month old coming down with, but by the time the symptoms showed it was probably too late. It's difficult though, what to do, I don't want to pass these things on to my youngest, but I don't really want to deny her sister the comfort of a feed, especially when she's unwell.....
So, I read around, did a bit of research, and in actual fact tandem feeding was probably the best thing for both of them. The chances of Anja not coming into contact with her older sisters bugs was pretty slim, especially as we didn't know she had anything. But by feeding her I'm helping her immune system deal with it, and by feeding my older daughter too I'll be helping her beat the bug.
They both seem to be doing ok now, Lena is all but over it, and Anja has had a few spots on her feet, a slightly grumpy day (which could just as easily have been down to teeth at this age) and nothing else so far. Touch wood they're both on the mend now.