First, my disclaimer. I’m a big fan of nursing. Big. In fact, when Julianna went on a nursing strike at three days old, it was one of the worst days of my life. Postpartum hormones combined with no sleep made it impossible for me to grasp that not nursing her didn’t mean that I was the worst mother in the entire world. I believed so strongly that nursing my baby was not only what was best for her, but also that it was the most important thing in the world. I distinctly remember thinking that we’d never be able to bond if I couldn’t nurse her, that I wouldn’t be able to have the same relationship with her if I wasn’t able to nurture her the way I did my other two children. And nursing Julianna, in the beginning, was utter hell. After the nursing strike, we ended up with nipple shields, which transitioned into thrush. I ended up with “multiple fissures” on the nipples, and a kick ass staph infection to boot. I WORKED at nursing this child.
And to add to that disclaimer – I nursed Sam until he was three and a half. Longer, he was close to four before he finally stopped nursing. I can do toddler nursing. I just don’t want to, very much, not anymore.
Maybe it’s just a bad morning. Julianna had a rough night’s sleep last night, and since we cosleep, that means that I had a rough night as well. I’m working at transitioning Sammy into his own bed, and it works some of the time, but last night, he was in there as well, and he had a bad dream during the one two to three hour stretch that Jules did sleep. So I’m tired, and headachy and not really in the mood. But I know that after nursing Julianna all morning, from roughly four thirty until I finally got up out of bed around seven, when she started clawing at my shirt to nurse at seven thirty – I was really reluctant to do it.
I believe in nursing as long as the kid wants to nurse. I believe that when you meet a need, then they can outgrow the need easily. And I’ll be honest, there are definitely times when I’m grateful that I can still stop a crying fit in seconds, that putting her to sleep is so easy and I even still appreciate the bonding and closeness of knowing that only I can provide something that suits her so perfectly, and makes her feel so safe and loved and happy.
Weaning Sam was awful, it was part of Julianna’s pregnancy, which is still such a hard time for me to think back about. I had a rough pregnancy to begin with, with the itching and the nausea, and there was a ton of really ugly family drama (my extended family, not my immediate one) going on then as well, but having a screaming three year old begging me to nurse on already sore breasts that were no longer producing milk definitely added another negative layer to that time in my life.
I dread weaning Julianna. I know she’s not ready, and I suppose I’m not really ready yet either. She’s still so little, and I’m not ready for her to be a big girl yet. But I can see myself getting there, and I just hope and pray that her weaning is peaceful and easy, no tears, on either of our part 🙂