Most days, I’m completely happy and confident in my decision to practice full term nursing or child-lead weaning. My son will be 3 in January and continues to nurse several times a day. I know its health benefits and I know that while it’s not the “norm” in the United States, it certainly isn’t uncommon around the world. This was a conscious decision that I made and one that was well researched.
However, occasionally I get “touched out.”
Sometimes, I just want to be able to do the dishes without being whined at to nurse. Sometimes, I just don’t feel like having someone sitting on top of me every time a get a minute to relax. Sometimes, I just want my body to be MINE again.
I’m sure many moms nursing children of any age can understand. It’s usually on a day when my independent toddler is feeling uncharacteristically needy and nursing frequently.
I look down at the squirmy kiddo who’s somehow managing to stay latched on while attempting somersaults and think “Why in the world am I still nursing you?”
That’s when a few reminders really help.
First, I think back on last winter. Remember…when everyone was absolutely losing their minds about Swine Flu? I admit I wasn’t completely immune to the hysteria. Then, my sweet (just turned) 2 year old munchkin came down with H1N1. ( At this point the vaccine wasn’t even available but we wouldn’t have gotten it anyway.) It wasn’t as bad as I thought it would be although Maddox would NOT eat or drink anything…with the exception of breast milk. Knowing that he was getting everything he needed from nursing made a scary situation much less stressful. The fact that he would nurse probably kept him from becoming dehydrated and saved him a trip to the E.R. to get an IV.
That alone is enough to keep me motivated to allow Maddox to decide when he is done nursing. Knowing that when all else fails he WILL nurse is wonderfully reassuring.
Then, I think about how nursing stops a meltdown in its tracks. When my little guy takes a tumble at the playground or gets his feelings hurt, the fastest way to stop a freak out in the making before it spirals out of control is to nurse him. Just a quick nurse and cuddle and he’s calm enough to talk to me about his feelings. Was he scared? Is he sad? Is he frustrated. Once that’s addressed, he’s back to his happy self. It’d be much harder if he was still too upset to carry on a conversation.
I also like to reread some of my favorite articles on extended breastfeeding:
Breastfeeding Past Infancy: Fact Sheetby Kelly Bonyata, BS, IBCLC
Not Just For Babies: 10 Good Reasons to Breastfeed Your Toddler By Elizabeth Bruce. Issue 103, November/December 2000 of Mothering Magazine
A Time to Wean by Katherine A. Dettwyler, PhD Department of Anthropology Texas A & M University College Station Texas from Breastfeeding Abstracts, August 1994, Volume 14, Number 1, pp.3-4
Just taking a few minutes to evaluate how much more enjoyable breastfeeding my toddler makes our family’s life is all it takes to reaffirm my conviction that it is the right thing for my son and for me. Instead of looking down at my toddler and wondering when he’s going to wean, I am grateful that we have this tool at our disposal and know that I will be sad when Maddox decides he is done.
Do you ever get “touched out” or frustrated nursing? What do you do when that happens?