Nursing: Tandem Nursing and Nutrition Tips
Question: “Martha, tell me everything about tandem nursing and nutrition!”
Well, first we advise you to read our two-page section on tandem nursing in The Breastfeeding Book. There is really a whole lot more that can be said about tandem nursing than what we have room for here, but since your question is about nutrition, I will address just that aspect here.
Nutrition When Nursing
Depending on how much milk your toddler is getting from you, which usually depends on how old he is, there is an additional nutritional need based on what percentage of additional milk you are providing by breastfeeding an older baby along with your infant. If your toddler is very young and not on much solid food yet, the need will be greater than if your toddler is two or three. Remember, your new baby gets “first dibs” on your milk and your energy.
Extra Nutrients While Breastfeeding
Here is a list of the extra nutrients you need while breastfeeding. So, when tandem nursing, just be sure you get at least these extra nutrients in your daily eating – consume extra amounts each day of the following nutrients in the quantities listed – plus a bit more according to your own judgment:
- 1,000 mg omega-3 DHA (6 oz of salmon: 2000 mg)
- 25 grams of protein (best is from seafood, yogurt, kefir, eggs)
- 800 mg calcium (kefir, yogurt, tofu, canned salmon)
- 400 micrograms folate (one cup spinach: 260 mcg; ½ cup lentils: 200 mcg)
- 12 mg iron (Hawaiian spirulina, one tsp: 7 mg, and see our website for other sources)
- 1,000 IU vitamin D at least (salmon, 6 oz: 1000 IU; sunshine) best is to get levels checked
- 2 micrograms vitamin B 12 (salmon, 3 oz: 4 mcg; one whole egg: 0.5 mcg)
- 220 micrograms iodine (salmon, 6 oz: 100 mcg; one serving nori: 100 mcg)
- 300 mg choline (salmon, 6 oz: 190 mg; one egg yolk: 100 mg)
The foods listed above are ones which provide quality nutrition. You don’t need to count calories during breastfeeding, just eat smarter calories. These are nurient-dense foods, those that pack a lot of nutrients into each bite.
Martha Sears, RN
Martha is the mother of Dr. Bill’s eight children, a registered nurse, a former childbirth educator, a La Leche League leader, and a lactation consultant. Martha is the co-author of 25 parenting books and is a popular lecturer and media guest drawing on her 18 years of breastfeeding experience with her eight children (including Stephen with Down Syndrome and Lauren, her adopted daughter). Martha speaks frequently at national parenting conferences and is noted for her advice on how to handle the most common problems facing today’s mothers with their changing lifestyles. Martha is able to connect with both full-time, stay-at-home mothers and working mothers because she herself has experienced both styles of parenting. Martha takes great pride in referring to herself as a “professional mother” and one of her favorite quips when someone voices their concern about her having eight children in an already populated world is: “The world needs my children.”