Friday, September 17, 2010

Twilight: The Nursing Years

So it's official, I live with two vampires of the milky variety. Between the two of my chilluns I've been sucked dry, mostly of my emotional sanity. Don't worry about my milk supply, I honestly think I could support triplets.

Doozer is teething/growth-spurting/mastering the new skill of pulling herself up. This leads to nursing and holding marathons. She usually sleeps long stretches at night, but because of the aforementioned reasons she is staying latched on nearly the whole night with a 1-2 hour break in the early morning.

BuggaBoo is driving me crazy with the nursing. I'm torn about this, because when I dig down deeply I know that I love our nursing relationship, but his lack of patience is wearing me thin, thin, thin. He had been eating a lot of solids a few days ago, horking down as much food as we, the parents, do, but now he is back to mostly nursing. I'm afraid to cut him off, however, because his vomiting episodes usually follow a nursing marathon.

To show you how stressed I am, here this is: Although I am a strong believer in child-led weaning I have thought about weaning BuggaBoo completely. But it's not time, his nursing need hasn't been fulfilled yet. Nursing is the most important thing to him, he'll will choose it over almost anything. He will choose it over cookies, ice cream, and frosting, which are his favorite desserts.

As more evidence I'm going to relate our night-weaning experience. When I was 3 months pregnant with Doozer BuggaBoo was about 20 months old. He was still nursing every hour or two at night and staying latched for 15-45 minutes at a time. I was exhausted from growing a new baby and decided to night-wean the boy. Our agreement was he could nurse to sleep and nurse in the morning (loosely, after 6am) but that was it. Well, it was a month of screaming and crying and holding my breasts and touching a mole on my chest (he always touches it while we nurse) and going crazy. But after the month he was night-weaned and would ask to nurse at night about once a week, which I declined.

So by the time Doozer was born he had been night-weaned for six months. He still sleeps with us on a twin bed next to our queen. Well, it started when she was born and still continues to this day: BuggaBoo hears Doozer nursing and asks to nurse. He cries when I say no. Still. It's not every night, but it's often enough to be annoying.

So, to sum up the whole story, even if I were to wean BuggaBoo right now it would be absolute hell for the both of us because I'm still nursing Doozer and he would feel (rightfully) hurt every time he saw her nurse.

So we plug along. I don't do much in the way of housework. I'm feeling pressure from some about that because doncha know that a clean house is the good mark of a mother? I feel all touched out by the end of the day, and being touched by anyone else *coughTheHubbycough* gives me the skeevies. Oh, heck, even the kids touching me gives me the all-overs. I usually can't take a bath without one or the other in there with me, nursing away and splashing water all over the book I happen to be reading at the time (I try not to take library books in with me).

But the worst part of it all is I often feel like I've cheated BuggaBoo, that we had Doozer too soon for his needs. If it was just him then we could nurse whenever, without having to share or wait or scream. Nursing wouldn't be a battle of the wills, it would be me and my baby. Sometimes I feel Doozer could have waited.

Which then makes me feel guilty, because I LOVE this little girl, and I'm so happy she's here so then I think if BuggaBoo wasn't around so much then I could just have a relationship with her, and she's being shafted because BuggaBoo can't leave me alone.

We mothers are great about bringing on the guilt trips.


  1. Oh honey...I can so relate right now. I am so sorry it is so hard not to want to give everything to everyone and that includes our children. I knwo there is not much that I can do other than let you use my shoulders. So there is the offer. They are here whenever you need them. I know touching sucks but you don't have to touch my shoulders at all!

    hang in there. These years really end way too quickly.

    Love me

  2. I can't say i understand you 100% sis, but i can say i'm starting to understand as i'm getting very frustrated that all i'm doing is nursing and i'm not even able to sleep, eat or take a shower. It is really starting to wear me thin and i wonder how i can go on.

    Now, like i said, it's not 100% the same, but i feel you and i want you to know i'm here whenever you need to vent and let off steam.

    I love you i love you i love you!
    (and you're so right about the guilt trip thing....)

  3. Thank you Sarah, I love your shoulder! We should get together sometime soon, maybe after my trip.

    Jillyn, I'm so sorry. I hope you don't think this is trite but (I think) your situation will get better very soon. Your wee one is just two weeks old. At about 7 weeks things are usually smooth sailing. But I'm still sorry.

    I think parenting would be easier if Western society didn't expect us to do this on our own. I mean, where is the new mother support? This is crazy!

  4. Sorry Krista. I wish you would have said something the other day when we were chatting, so you could have just vented all your frustrations. :-) Let me know if you ever want to vent k?

  5. Been there honey and yes it does suck! You have a right to how you feel, let me validate you 100%!

    When you're in the trenches there isn't much anyone can say to help you feel better, but I found the idea that this amount of time is very short in the grande scheme of things somewhat comforting.

    My mantra was "now is not forever" oh and "I love my job, I love my job....." LOL

    /hugs mama

  6. mmm, wish I could come over and let my goose distract your son while I put on a load of laundry for you. And we could chat too, which having adult company made nursing so much more tolerable. I never nursed two together so can't identify with that ... but can sooooo identify with being touched out, etc.... This is a season and you will want hubby to touch you again, I promise!! And hopefully when they are all done, whenever that is, you will notice that you have so much more energy.

    God has put your children in your family at exactly the spacing they are ... so each will have unique trials and blessings - you can't take those away but it can be painful to watch, eh? my son complains about being an only sometime which is God's unique burden on his life .... I can't take all that away for him and some of it he has to work out himself.

    Oh, I hear you about isolation of motherhood .... where is the raising our children in community? our culture doesn't provide for that at all ...

    One day at a time. or one hour. Hope you get some rest this weekend.

  7. Although I never tandem nursed, I did nurse on demand for years, day & night. I got the touched out feeling many, many times.
    In hindsight I realize that I expected too much of myself & although my intentions were to do the best for my children, sometimes that meant meeting *my* needs first so I could better meet their needs. Balance became my mantra. When I started letting myself have regular time away from my children to recharge I felt so much better about the time I was spending with them. When it gets to the point where you feel like you are going crazy, I can attest to the healing power of a night away where you get to sleep the whole night without being woken up. It really is magical & restores your sanity like nothing else, IMO. :) Your children will survive a night without you. They will not be scarred for life. They will probably be much better off in the long run for having done it.

  8. Sorry about not following up sooner, I read all these comments in my email and forgot to come over here and continue the conversation!

    Thank you for all the support. I am feeling better (I think) about all this. I'm trying to be more lax with BuggaBoo's nursing needs and it's helped to create a calmness in him. We've now integrated a nursing session at bedtime, which is something that had been abruptly cut out at Doozer's birth.

    I'm also letting him nurse at night, and surprisingly that's going well. He usually doesn't wake up until 2am or later, he'll grab a nursing snack and then crawl back to his own bed. He has been nursing 3-7 times every night but it's not as hard as I imagined it to be.

    Granted, all of this has been in the last week, so I might get fed up with this, too. But I hope not, the (relative) peace has been divine.

  9. happy to hear you're trying something new to see if it will work. i hope it does! love you!