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SK: What is it like to breastfeed in public in Germany?

Mariana: It's pretty OK. I can honestly say that I've nursed pretty much everywhere and only had problems maybe two or three times, which is a good track record for someone who's been publicly breastfeeding daily for the past six years! And even when something happened, it was never anything that a good "screw you" wouldn't fix immediately.

I was once told by a male employee at a department store that I should go nurse at their special nursing corner. Mattis got pretty angry and said he had no legal right to ask me that. I just asked the guy if his suggestion was due to store policy or concern for my comfort, to which he replied store policy. So I said "no, thank you, I'll just stay right here.” Meanwhile, all the female employees smiled [and] cooed at me and my little baby.

But the vast majority of times I got approached by strangers when publicly nursing was by amateur photographers (mostly pensioners that had taken photography as a hobby after retirement, funnily enough — there are hoards of those here!) asking for a picture.

SK: What advice would you give a mother, currently breastfeeding a baby, who becomes pregnant?

"Nursing during a pregnancy can be really hard, uncomfortable, and exhausting."

Mariana: Nursing during a pregnancy can be really hard, uncomfortable, and exhausting, but it's for a limited amount of time and it does pay off. If you want to keep nursing through the pregnancy and then tandem after the new baby is born, find some support. There are many specific issues you might run into, and many times you'll need a truly understanding listener, and there's nothing like knowing other women who have been there and done that when those times come.

I didn't know anyone who'd done it in real life, but I did online, and I got heaps of support that way, which I could not have had otherwise. Also, consider looking up a La Leche League group or leader from the get-go, and maybe pick up a copy of Adventures in Tandem Nursing, which was written by a tandem nursing mom and is full of stories of other women who've done it and share their hard times and practical tips on how to make things easier.

SK: What was the biggest challenge about tandem nursing?

Mariana: The biggest challenge was how much patience it required from my part. Sometimes I'd be just done nursing one child and dying to just get up and go do something else, and then the other one would come to nurse and I'd just go back to square one. There was one notorious day, still in the earlier stages when, I kid you not, I spent the entire day sitting on my big nursing recliner taking turns nursing children, getting up only to go to the bathroom. That was pretty exhausting!

SK: And what was the biggest reward?

Mariana: You know that awesome feeling you get when you hold your baby at your breast, calm and content, and you bask in the knowledge that for now you can give that little person all they need? Imagine having that times two! Now add to that getting to watch these two new siblings getting to know each other, playing, petting each other, and bonding while you lovingly feed and hold them. Love abounds!

More on breastfeeding

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Breastfeeding photos: Moms with their babies
Breastfeeding a toddler and conquering challenges

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Comments on "Tandem nursing: Breastfeeding for two"

Sara February 23, 2014 | 7:05 AM

Child abuse in order to satisfy the needs of a needy woman. Shame on you

Erin January 26, 2013 | 12:53 PM

Beautiful!! Thanks for the inspiring story. I breastfed my daughter for just a few months but am pregnant again and would like to breastfeed much longer this time. You're an inspiration :)

Jenna August 14, 2012 | 6:44 PM

Just curious - how old was Velma when she self-weaned? Was that hard for you? Was it sudden or did she gradually slow down? I'm nursing my 32 month old DS and and hoping he continues for many many more months. It took us 7 months to get it straight (reflux, food sensitivities, etc.) and I still have recurrent clogged ducts but I love it and wouldn't change it for anything. Good for you mama! You are an inspiration! Ann Arbor, MI

Heather August 14, 2012 | 1:00 PM

Glad that there is some info out there for moms who would like to tandem nurse. Lots of women are scared off from doctors saying that nursing during pregnancy will cause miscarriage, or later term women will go into labor. That you wont get colostrum....a whole bunch of things that have been proven to NOT be true during a normal healthy pregnancy! I would have LOVED to tandem nurse! I have the utmost respect for mamas who do, and just for the record I think if a mama wanted to breastfeed until her nurseling wants to stop that's perfectly FINE by me! If that means 5+ in my opinion, I believe its a mutual relationship of love and caring between mama and baby and if it meets the needs of the mom and the child, then that's what boobs are for ;) lol. Anyway, great article!

Mariana August 13, 2012 | 11:31 PM

Lisa, yes, my daughter is 6, but she's no longer breastfed. Her brother is still nursing, so i have been nursing continuously for the last 6 years, though not always the same child. :)

Lisa August 13, 2012 | 3:49 PM

I agree that I would like to know more about her experience on breastfeeding than how her and her husband met and how she grew up. She stated she's been breastfeeding for the past six years...does that mean her little girl is six now? I didn't see an age in the article but I may have missed it. That seems way to old in my opinion.

Emma August 13, 2012 | 10:57 AM

I had no idea what tandem nursing was! The picture was a little more than I bargained for and I would have liked more insight on that topic rather than their relationship. I think it is very fascinating.

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