Friday, June 19, 2009

Extended nursing

Sam will be three in a matter of weeks (amazing to me, my baby is going to be THREE) and he's shown NO indication that he wants to stop nursing. And I'm perplexed and unsure as to how to proceed. I want very much to stop nursing. I'm really ready to move on - I'd like to get pregnant in the next couple of months, I'd like to have my body be just mine for a little bit. But he just really loves it.

When he was born, he was such a little disaster, cried and cried and cried all the time. He was in the ER at least four times before he was four months old, because I couldn't figure out why he was crying. After a diagnosis of colic and reflux, and the associated meds for the reflux, it got better, but he was still really just miserable for the first six or seven months. And literally, the only thing that made him calm was nursing. And the ceiling fan - he LOVED that ceiling fan. But he learned very early that nursing made him feel better and his preferred place has always been at my breast. He didn't nap for more than ten or fifteen minutes unless I was sitting in a rocking chair and nursing him thru it. I could get him to sleep for three or four hours, as long as I sat still and held him. He hated the carriage, putting him in the car - I literally felt as though I was abusing him by taking him anywhere in the car, he'd just scream and scream. I'm not exaggerating, I don't think. It really was that bad.

Now he's this sunshiney little bundle of boyhood, happy and content, drinks from a cup, eats everything he can - but still loves his "oobies." He can easily go all day without nursing - if we're out and about, and there's lots going on, it's the last thing he wants. For a good time, he'd much rather play with Daddy, or build with his blocks, or race his fire trucks around the living room, kick a soccer ball around the yard. But at night, and to take a nap, or if he falls or gets hurt, or any number of other reasons - he wants me and only me and he wants to nurse. He doesn't want to cuddle, he doesn't want to just sit on my lap - he wants to nurse.

I'm good at nursing - I've done it for almost four years, if you combine the time I spent nursing Jess with the time spent with Sam. I can tell you how to get a kid latched on, I can tell you how to treat bleeding nipples, mastitis, thrush, we've done it all. And I LOVE it - I'm a total breastfeeding snob. I think it's the only way to feed babies. I silently judge moms who choose not to nurse, or even choose to wean early. As much as I love it, and as much as I value the past three years that I've been able to do this for Sam - I'm ready to move onto the next step.

Here's hoping Sam gets to that point as well :-)


Queen Bee said...

you've done such an amazing, admirable job Melissa!

a coworker of mine was in the same exact boat as you a few weeks ago when she felt that it was really time to wean her 2 year old. what worked for them was keeping the dialogue open with her son and explaining that he needed to go to sleep without na-nas at naptime on the first day. they sat down and had a snack and talked throughout the snacking about him laying down with mama but without na-nas.. i believe she gradually added in the nighttime nursings this way as well. it was very gentle and she feels like it was a great success because they didn't stop nursing abruptly (even though she REALLY wanted to at that point) and her son understood why & when na-nas were gone.

good luck to you!!

Melissa said...

I think I'm actually at the point where my milk supply is starting to dry up - it's physically uncomfortable if he nurses for too long. But he's still so little, and sounds so pitiful when he assures me that he won't hurt the "other oobie." He's got a healthy sense of drama, in addition to hard core stubborn streak, and it's VERY hard to coax him out of wanting to nurse.

Thanks for the advice - I always feel better when I hear about other moms who were able to wean gently.

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