Monday, November 23, 2009

Tandem Nursing

Finally got a copy of Adventures in Tandem Nursing today and LOVED it. Totally recommend it - I read it in one sitting. Such a relief to read about actual people who have been where I am. It's odd - my family is very pro-nursing, at least in the beginning. I think if I had switched to formula at six months, they would have been fine with it. After a year, they were slightly confused, when he was two, they were slightly horrified and now that he's three and I'm pregnant -forget it, I'm out and out crazy, and the best reaction I get from them is ".... umm, okay, if you want to...." in a tone that makes it clear that they disapprove. I also get a lot of open hostility towards it - and have battled it out too many times. I've simply reached the point where I no longer discuss it with anyone. I love my family - but they really have NO clue about extended nursing.

Sam's three years old - and has never once been on an antibiotic. In fact, with the exception of the two times he was put on a nebulizer for really bad colds, I've never had him in for a sick visit. And he's a talkative, independent, FUN kid - who plays by himself, mixes well with others, and I'm immensely proud of him. And proud of myself for going this far... I certainly never planned on nursing this long, but it's what's worked for Sam. I'm incredibly frustrated that I have virtually no support from anyone re: this.

Nursing while pregnant isn't easy, but I can only tell you that weaning during pregnancy would have been infinitely harder. It's a quick, easy cure for everything, puts him to sleep in minutes, quiets a temper tantrum immediately and fixes bumbs and bruises in seconds. It's also painful - really painful and frustrating and time consuming - but the choice really is clear. Sam's not ready to wean. And I haven't gone this far to wean cold turkey. It wouldn't be fair to him, and it would be incredibly hard for me.

That being said - I still wish he didn't need to nurse. I also wish he was potty trained. And if wishes was all it took - then I'd have the most well behaved, perfect children in the entire world. He'll get there, on his time, and when he's ready. I distract as much as I can, push off whenever it's possible. I don't nurse in public anymore. There's a lot about parenting that isn't what I thought it would be - extended nursing is just one of many things I thought I'd never do. I thought it was icky and weird, only to discover that it's just... natural. It's no more odd than picking him up for a cuddle or getting him a cup of milk or taking him outside to play. It's just one of the many tools that I rely on for parenting.

I don't know that I'll be able to tandem nurse. I don't know that he'll continue nursing thru the pregnancy. He nurses rarely now, just for comfort, really. But one thing I've learned - there's no point in trying to predict anything. Ideally, he'll be done nursing, potty trained, sleeping thru the night in his own bed all the time - but I've got to come to terms with the fact that it might not happen that way. I think we can probably get potty training down - but I'm not going to take away nursing from him until he's ready for it.


Heather said...

I think it's admirable that you're willing to stick it out, even though I'm sure it HURTS! I agree - if people can't support you, just don't discuss it with them anymore. It's really not anyone's business anyway.

I think as parents, we all should be very careful about passing judgment, because every child is different, and we have no way of knowing what the future will bring.

Queen Bee said...

i'm glad you found comfort reading that book. i just want to tell you that you are SO patient and loving and i learn a lot from your posts. Logan takes his time before deciding that he is ready to do things and it's nice to read about another mom's perspective when her child does not do everything super-early either.

i think you are doing a fabulous job. :)

Jessi said...

I understand about not having any support with breastfeeding. The only person in my family that doesn't think it's gross is my husband. My MIL doesn't even know I'm still nursing Aiden or she'd be mortified. We just don't discuss it with anyone because so many people are just uneducated and most people won't listen when you try to educate them.

You're doing awesome. You never know, Sam may wean himself mid pregnancy or even if you Tandem nurse I don't think it would be bad at all. Especially since Sam doesn't nurse often at all.

You're doing awesome!

Lisa said...

Love, love, LOVE your opening paragraph. My son is 23 months and nursing, and your description of family reactions is so well put, so validating. Blessings on your mothering journey.

Melissa said...

Thank you so much for all your support - it really does make an enormous difference to me :-)