Brokeback Nursing: I wish I knew how to quit you
Readers: This post is about breastfeeding and boobs. You’ve been warned.
So after months of research, tears, pain, sleepless nights and finally, success, I’ve made it a year nursing Simon. Woo-Hoo. In the beginning, this goal seemed almost unattainable. We struggled with my anatomy (to be PC, I’ll say I’m well-endowed up top, follow?), thrush, a massive wound on one side that took over 4 months to heal, plus the struggles of being the only one to get up with him around the clock and never be more than a couple hours away most of the time so that I was always available to feed him. Finally, around 6 months, we really hit our stride, and things have been a breeze ever since (notice to any new or about-to-be new moms out there: do NOT read about my nursing experience and think yours will be the same. It won’t. I think my situation was pretty extreme. Don’t worry, your boobs will be magical.).
Now that Simon has turned 1, however, I’d like to go ahead and wrap this up. I know that the WHO and the AAP and La Leche League and all the hippies recommend nursing til age 2 at least, but let’s be honest. That ain’t me. I made it a year and that was my goal. Extended nursing is not appealing to me at all. This is not a judgment on others who do nurse til age 2+. I think it’s great. Good for you. If you nurse one day of your baby’s life, I think that’s great. If you never nurse once, I think that’s great. This is one issue that I really don’t care about what others do. So anyone reading this who wants me to consider nursing longer, save your breath. It’s not happening.
Anyway, I know that I’m ready to be done, but I’m just not sure how to finish. Rather, I know how logically to wean, but strategically, I have no clue how to quit.
Simon isn’t a huge “demand” nurser. He never has been. He never nursed more than 6 times a day at his most, but his feeds would last FOR.EV.ER. Dear God, it would take me 5 hours to put him down in the beginning. *shudder* Moving on.
Once we got past the endless cluster feeding, we got into a great routine of nursing 4-6 times a day. As he started eating more solid food and becoming more active, we easily dropped to 4 times a day, sometimes 5 if he woke up in the night. We’ve made it down to about 3 times a day, with him usually only nursing on one side now about 75% of the time. But when he wakes up at, say, 5 a.m. for some unknown reason, I can stumble down the hall, nurse him in a fog for 15 minutes and stumble back to bed. I know I could NOT do that, but I know my child. I know that if he does randomly wake up and he wants to nurse, he won’t let up. Believe me, I’ve tried.
There are plenty of times that he wakes for a few minutes and goes right back to sleep on his own. At night and for naps, he goes down awake and happy after I nurse him. And for a while, I could put him down without nursing at all, and it was great. Then the moon changed positions or the temperature dropped or something happened, and he was having none of that nonsense. And when faced with a screaming, non-napping child vs nursing for a few minutes and getting 90 minutes to only juggle one child, you can guess what I choose.
So really the issue is me, obviously. Nursing is just EASY in that way. Just read what MODG said about it. She nailed it. Nursing him before sleep and in the middle of the night is my lazy habit to ensure I get what I want in the short term. But is it going to hurt me in the long term?
I also want to wean him peacefully. I’ve said before that there are windows of opportunities with kids and their development, and if you catch yourself in a window, you’ve got to make a move. I don’t think we are in a window right now, but I am hoping we are close. My goal is to be 100% done by June 1, when we go to Princeton for Paul’s college reunion. That’s a ways away, which is good, but I can’t help but panic a little at the looming deadline.
So this is where we are. I need to figure out how to guide both of us to a happy ending (NOT LIKE THAT). I’m not as sad about this as I thought I would be, which is good. Any advice from moms that have BTDT would be AWESOME. Until then, I’m going to just keep doing what I’m doing while looking out for the end of the road. Wish me luck.
Also, how psycho is this picture?