OK, so now I kind of get why some people say that the longer you breastfeed the harder it is to wean. The thing is I’m not actually looking to wean. I just would like it if every second of every day when we’re at home did not consist of being manhandled by my toddler. He is so grabby! And he wants it constantly. Almost as much as a newborn.
The odd thing is that when we’re not at home, he can go all day without nursing. Out of his element or distracted by other things, he doesn’t ask for it. But at home, I can’t even sit on the couch, because LM takes it as a signal that he can climb up and help himself. If I start hugging him, he wants it. If he’s having a tantrum, it’s the only way he can calm down. I sometimes hide myself getting dressed to keep him from ogling me and asking for a sip. If I’m on the toilet, he wants to stand next to me and latch on.
Don’t get me wrong. I think it’s natural and normal to nurse at his age. I think it’s our society’s preoccupation with breasts that makes people think there is something wrong with an older baby nursing. My boobs aren’t sexual objects anymore – they are for him. That’s just biology, and I see nothing wrong with it.
But it’s a lot. It’s sensory overload. I know there will come a time when I’ll be the one reaching for him, and he’ll pull away. I know there will be a time when he doesn’t want to snuggle. And I’ll long for these days.
But there is part of me that sometimes wants to scream, “Please just get off of me!” Nursing feels like a full-time job, and has been for almost two years. I know it sounds silly: Don’t you just sit there while he breastfeeds? you say. Yes, but with a toddler, it feels like an Olympic sport. He climbs all over me, moves into different positions, changes from one side to another. I’m constantly having to lift him up and move him around. I’m often uncomfortable.
But I’m not ready for the breastfeeding relationship to be over. I don’t want the tears that would probably come along with forcing him to wean. I want him to decide on his own. It might be nice if that happened sometime soon, though, and I’m not sure what to do if it doesn’t. Sometimes I think he’ll be one of those kids who wants to nurse until they’re six.
And of course there is the problem of what to do in order to have another baby. I did some research and found that it’s not completely necessary to wean before doing an IVF cycle, although most doctors want you to. But I wouldn’t feel good about weaning just for that – what would happen if the cycle wasn’t successful? I would feel like I weaned for nothing.
I do love breastfeeding. I don’t mean it to sound like I don’t. It’s just gotten very…physical with a toddler. It’s tough. He throws a tantrum if he doesn’t get it when he wants it. I sometimes even feel used, like he just wants me for my boobs.
And I don’t think I know anyone else with a toddler who is still breastfeeding. I’m the last one of my mom friends, I think, to still be nursing. Am I trying to keep LM a little baby? In some ways, but I don’t think nursing is one of them. I’m proud that we made it this far. We had such a rough beginning that I didn’t expect this. In many ways it has healed some of the pain of my infertility, because my body finally did something right. It even did it better than other people’s. I know it’s not a competition, but what can I say, I’m a bit competitive. After years of not feeling that my body was not as good as other people’s, I finally feel that it is. I don’t think I should feel bad about being proud. I don’t mean this to sound like I think I’m a better mom because I breastfeed. I don’t. But I do feel happy that my body has fulfilled one of it’s biological, traditional roles: feeding my baby.
It’s funny, I never saw myself as one of those attachment parents or a militant breastfeeder, but somehow I find myself in that position. I have found it so rewarding that I want to defend my right to do it, as long as I want to do it. My son loves it (maybe too much?) and so do I.
Did you breastfeed? How did you decide when to wean?