Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Nursing My Toddler

I've nursed two toddlers before this current one, and each one has been different.  Each has been his own story, his own personality, his own circumstance to come with it. Weaning is something that I think about with each of them.  The first time around it was systematic and it worked easily without much fuss. The second time around we took our time, he needed me a little longer, we had allergies and we were wee, and we just needed that mama comfort differently. But both times, weaning was led with the pretext that I was pregnant once again. This time I'm not, and not that we wouldn't welcome another baby, but we're not actively seeking one right this instance either.

So this toddler, this toddler has been a little different from the start.  First, I have enjoyed nursing her so much more from the start, at least on the good days where I am not about to pull out my hair from life. I never have had to be systematic with her, and honestly it was hard at first to do that, because there is always doubt and fear.  But grace was there to keep me going and keep my fears at bay, for I had a ~15lb baby at 4 months. There was no need to worry.  And I slept, and we co-slept and we nursed.  And I am not trying to bring out mommy wars of doing it differently, but this is what worked for us.  I tend to need sleep to function, I only get sleep if I don't have to be fully awake at night when doing things, co-sleeping and nursing allows both of these for me.

Back to this toddler of mine, she is so smart, and so helpful and so kind, but she also needs to pull in to rebalance and get her mama time with nursing.  I don't remember having that before. My boys nursed for a some comfort of course, but they also saw the world differently.  They barely could be bothered to stop to refocus, it all was so fascinating to them. They didn't need that recheck in the same way.

And so we actually still nurse at least 5-8 times during a 24 hour period. And some days it feels like a lot, it does, but others, its okay. Its hard to balance expectations with needs or wants of hers of mine of my husband of my other children, let alone the pressures of the world.  And sometimes she has to be told no, but we still nurse.  And sometimes that means we are out in public.  And while I am used to nursing a baby a ~year or less in public, its a whole other element when its a toddler.  I think sometimes that I've entered into a forbidden zone, but I still do it, because its a need that I can and need to fulfill. The one thing I've reverted back to is using a small cover at this age when out.  And it may just be that I'm not fully comfortable yet, and I think thats okay.  But honestly its more for the fact that toddlers tend to be crazy nursers and well I'm not up for full body exposure to total strangers, at least not just yet.  I still have a little bit of Puritan in me I have to get over. :)

The topic of weaning has been crossing my mind.  My husband knows this, because I've mentioned in passing a least a dozen times, in probably in a I'm going crazy way, but still it is there.  But maybe not right now.  I think at this point that the fight of not nursing in certain instances is too strong for it be be okay to let go. And maybe that's just me, and maybe I'm weak, but I don't think so.  Both of my weaning experiences before have never been harsh, and while this girl of mine is her own person, I think at the very least we need to approach weaning in a gentle way. And so I will, slowly and maybe this will take the pressure off myself, because the pressure is usually what ruins the experience for myself, and I don't need that.

So baby girl of 21.5 months and I will nurse, and I'm not sure when we will stop. Her need might be different than my want, and I will learn humility and patience, and at times we will hopefully be able to transfer that need into other ways of love and balance and centering. But that's just it, love isn't easy is it? But we are better to have loved than not, right?

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