Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Waaah waaah weaning rant - and Video!

So...we're tandem nursing, which has been and continues to be a real challenge.

When I got pregnant with Zel, Milo (then 2.5 years) was nursing 2-3x/day. He slept through the night but nursed first thing in the morning and once or twice before bed. It seemed healthy and positive for both of us to continue, particularly as I work full time and wanted that extra bond with him.

Up until Z was born, he was still nursing a little, and I thought he'd be gradually weaning over the next few months, since by then he was a little over 3 and seemed to nurse for comfort more than anything. However, when Zel was born, Milo went through a regression where he wanted to nurse 10-15x/day. He stopped eating most solids when at home and began waking in the night more frequently than the new baby.

 Now, 9 months after she was born, I'm still nursing the boy more than Z. Whenever I nurse her, he wants to nurse, plus many extra times on his own (although down from the 15/day high). My body feels exhausted and drained and I am REALLY tired of nursing so frequently.

When I get home from work, I might nurse them for about 6 hours of my at-home time, taking into account the amount of nursing they do at night in the co-sleep bed.

 In theory, I think extended tandem breastfeeding maintains a bond with M that would have been shocking to both of us to break when the new baby was here, plus the baby gets to watch her brother nurse and share time with both of us in a cuddling, loving way. And I really believe in child-led weaning...In my case, however, I now have an almost-4-year-old who has a really strong attachment to nursing that is often troubling. He's at a difficult age and has many tantrums if I refuse to nurse on demand, which just isn't always feasible.

I try to make any refusal to nurse quick and explained well, and set good expectations about when he can expect to nurse, but any postponement almost always results in tears if not hitting or other acting out. I feel like I've created an emotional mountain for us and that if I'd helped him wean earlier, he would have been easier to deal with than now, when his sibling jealousy has been transfered into a lot of tension over who gets the most milk (aka mom's attention).

This may just be his conduit for acting out, but I'm finding it really rough to cope with. I don't want to force him to wean, but nursing him 4-5 times a night, AND nursing the baby 3-4 times a night, plus daytime nursing/pumping feels destructive to my health. (whine whine - I know many mamas do LOTS more for their kids, but this is where ~I~ am right now...)

I'm so tired all the time I feel completely wiped out. I haven't slept very well for the past 4 years and, since I have to work a full day (no naptime or other downtime), I am beyond taxed. So much so that I can't cope effectively when I've got 2 kids screaming to nurse the minute we get home and I just give in - I find creating and maintaining boundaries about breastfeeding very difficult anyway, but even more so while my body is in such a fragile state. Sigh...

 In other news - check this out!

 

2 comments:

Korin said...

I got nothing but ::hug:: for you mama. Rant away. SOMEONE has got to have some advice. I can make you some soup... thats about it. lol

mamachiro said...

rebekah~ i stumbled onto your blog while reading mdc, and i have soooo been where you're at right now. my ds was 2.75 when dd was born, and we tandemed for 18 months. he wanted to nurse at least as much as she did. i tried many methods of gently inviting the weaning process to progress, but eventually needed to "be all done" when he was 4.25. he's 6.5 now and every now and then even still he'll ask to nurse, he's even latched on a couple times for a second or two and then laughed about it. for the most part, he was able to make the transistion pretty smoothly, much easier than I had imagined.

you have given your children a wonderful gift that will benefit them throughout their life. i invite you to release any guilt you have about honoring your needs, and know that if it's no longer working well for you, you can choose to stop, and he will adapt!

namaste-
amy/mamachiro