At a recent La Leche League meeting, one of the women told me that once you have a second one in your belly, you’re tandem nursing. I hadn’t thought of it that way. Possibly I just thought of pregnant nursing as something separate, but within the same realm.
So thus far it’s been interesting. I figured that Peanut would easily nurse through my pregnancy because she loves it, even if my milk goes away. No obstacle can keep this kiddo from nursing! I hadn’t thought that I could be the obstacle myself. I’m definitely not weaning, but I’m certainly not feeling like nursing. I find myself distracting her from it, telling her in a minute, etc. All these things that I had stopped doing now that I’m home all the time and we have the time to nurse.
As I’ve already talked about, I was hit harder with pregnancy symptoms this time than last. One of the earliest symptoms was sore breasts. Within a couple of days of getting my “big fat positive,” I started to be able to feel every single little movement she makes while nursing. I can feel every tooth. It’s more of a creepy crawly thing than a pain thing, but bleh. Jeepers creepers!
Then there’s the pain. If she pulls in even slightly the wrong direction, it’s gasping pain. I keep telling her that she can’t move around so much while nursing because it hurts mama. Sometimes she listens, sometimes she doesn’t. When she doesn’t listen, I tell her she can’t nurse because she keeps hurting mama. All of the pain and her wiggling around is just adding to my feelings of being “touched out.” Which brings me to point three.
She’s suddenly incredibly attached to nursing. She will stay on for 45 minutes if I let her and not even have a second thought. She doesn’t care what’s going on around her, she just wants to stay on. She doesn’t care if she’s not even getting milk (or much). Then at the end of that 45 minutes when mama tells her it’s time to stop, she Won’t. Let. Go. She has an absolute fit when I take her off. She’s even almost clamped down on my nipple when I stick my finger in to unlatch her and bitten my finger instead. I don’t know if it’s because I’m not letting her every time she asks or possibly point four.
I think my milk supply is already decreasing. I don’t know how quickly it generally decreases, but I’m almost sure mine is going down. She’s been night weaned for a few months now, but I still let her nurse in the morning once 6am hits. It’s always put her right back to sleep and I can get another hour or so of sleep, but lately it doesn’t ever put her back to sleep no matter how long she stays on. Then, of course, because of all of the other problems mentioned above, I can’t go back to sleep while she’s nursing. This is just compounding my already severe exhaustion.
Really though, the majority of the time it’s not a big deal. I’m still handling it. I’m not in tears and I’m not curling my toes. I’m doing my best to explain to her why she can’t do things or why I need to do to things and for the most part she’s accepting of it. I wonder if she’s going through a growth spurt or possibly the idea of a younger sibling is a bit scary. Either way, we’re sticking it out, at least for now.
My major issue with all this is biology. I feel that our bodies tell us what we should do and not do. Obviously the new mom should breastfeed. Her body “tells” this to her by filling her breasts with milk. Obviously we should co-sleep because mama and baby’s sleeping patterns align and babies need to nurse frequently. Our bodies show us what right. I believe that child-led weaning is right, but my body seems to be telling me otherwise. Is my body telling me it’s not good for her to continue nursing while I’m pregnant? Is my body, along with her obvious need to continue nursing, telling me I chose to get pregnant too soon? I don’t know what any of this means. I feel at conflict with what biology is telling me.
I’m trying to get a copy of Adventures in Tandem Nursing. Hopefully that will answer some of my questions. Until then, any advice?