Tandem Nursing a Toddler and a Newborn

We’ve made it a month into nursing two and it certainly hasn’t been easy.

Well, it’s been easy on one side of it. Twig is a great nurser. She nurses quite frequently at times, but overall goes much larger intervals than Peanut ever did at this age (because Peanut had reflux). She spits up quite a bit, but I think that’s more because of a forceful let-down (she sometimes gags and coughs during nursing) and a high supply. Things seem to be calming down though, whether that’s because she’s getting used to it or my supply is naturally evening out.

The more difficult side has been Peanut. The biggest problem has been herConstant. Insistence. On. Nursing. During the first couple of weeks, she was literally asking for it more than Meredith. She didn’t get it every time that she asked (mostly because it wasn’t feasible to nurse herthat much), but I tried to give her what she needed as much as possible. I know that she was using nursing as a way to reconnect more than anything. I keep trying to tell myself that when she asks for it over and over and she has decreased the amount that she’s asking over the last couple of weeks. Regardless, it’s driving me crazy.

The secondary issue has been her latch/sucking/something. I’m honestly not sure what it is, it could just be a toddler’s nursing versus a newborn’s nursing. We’ve worked on her opening her mouth “really big” when she’s going to latch on, but even when she has all of my {huge} areola in her mouth, I still sometimes end up with teeth marks that seem closer to the nipple than they should be. I’ve also tried nursing her laid back like I do with Meredith because someone is La Leche League suggested she may be reacting to my forceful let-down (because the pain often increases when I let-down), but that doesn’t always help. The pain is far from unbearable and doesn’t leave any lasting effects (I haven’t needed to use nipple cream at all since Twig has been born), but it’sveryirritating.

So this combination of Peanut constantly requesting nursing and me being irritated when I let her nurse has brought me to a place where I didn’t think I’d ever be–I’m thinking of weaning. The other day I was actually irritated to the point where I wanted to stop letting her nurse right then an there, but after getting my cool (and reading some Womanly Art of Breastfeeding and Adventures in Tandem Nursing), I realized I don’t really want to cut her off like that. I honestly think that it would be traumatizing for her.

I am going to make some steps towards weaning though. I don’t enjoy nursing her anymore. I am outwardly irritated when we’re nursing and I’m sure she sees and feels that. It makes me feel awful that I know she knows that, but that just gives me more fuel to move towards weaning. Maybe after cutting out some of the bad parts, I’ll be happy to continue with nursing her during the good times. Hopefully cutting away the nursing times that irritate me the most will make everything better.

So I’m giving up our first thing in the morning nursing. This used to be my favorite nursing. Even when we’ve experienced difficult times in the past, that one has always been grand. It has allowed me to sleep longer and cuddle with my baby. Sadly, it’s not like that any more. Since Twig was born, this nursing session has been moving earlier and earlier in the morning and Peanut doesn’t go back to sleep after. It also often wakes me up fully because nursing isn’t comfortable. So we all end up awake and grumpy way too early in the morning. I’ve been trying to put her off (“not until the sun comes up” and “once the clock says 7:00” and other similar things), but she just cries and eventually ends up getting out of bed. Or some of the time I give in hoping she’ll go to sleep and she doesn’t, which makes me extra irritated.

Secondly, I’m going to try to avoid nursing during the day. She’s asking to nurse at least every time that Twig nurses right now and I’m trying to distract her. This has been difficult though because she will keep asking over and over. Even when I say “Yes, in a minute” or “Once I’m done with such-and-such thing” she still asks over and over. I’ve tried distracting her with other things, but then she’ll ask again once she’s no longer distracted. I’ve mostly resorted to telling her “Mommy doesn’t want to right now” and I don’t particularly like putting it that way. I tell her it’s my body so I’m allowed to say no, but I don’t want her to feel like I’m rejecting her or that I don’t want to be around her.

So my goal at the moment is to get us down to nursing at naptime and bedtime. Once we get there, I’ll reevaluate.

Any tips for reducing toddler nursing? Things that will make me not as irritated when she is nursing? Ideas for ways to distract her or things to tell her about why we can’t right now? Especially important to me, any ideas for getting my child to not wake me up at 6am? I miss sleeping in until a normal time like 7:30 or 8!

How It Should Be

Welcome to The Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival!

This post was written as part of The Breastfeeding Cafe’s Carnival. For more info on the Breastfeeding Cafe, go to www.breastfeedingcafe.wordpress.com. For more info on the Carnival or if you want to participate, contact Claire at clindstrom2 {at} gmail {dot} com. Today’s post is about nursing in public. Please read the other blogs in today’s carnival listed below and check back for more posts July 18th through the 31st!

A few days ago, Peanut and I traveled into town on the train. We almost always take the train, but this time I decided to do something different. I thought bringing a stroller rather than just our Boba would be easier, so we tried it out. It turned out to be immensely more difficult, but that’s not the point of today’s post.

Since we had the stroller, we had to sit at the very front of the bus. It was just around Peanut’s nap time and I knew that if I nursed her she would pass right out. Of course, I happened to be wearing just a thin strapped dress with no sweater or anything (it’s July!) and the bus driver was already grouchy about the stroller. Needless to say, I was ready for some confrontation.

So there I sat, nursing my 28 month-old at the very front of the bus in the most showing way possible (I won’t say immodest because breastfeeding is not an issue of modesty). I knew the bus driver could see us because I could see myself in his mirror. On the other side of the bus sat a mom and her probably less than 2 month-old son who was currently having a bottle. I looked up the breastfeeding statues of my state so I could readily read them allowed. I got on my lactavist hat so I would be ready to respond with my handful of facts on breastfeeding. I tried to look as confident (though nonchalant) as possible, even though I was feeling terrified that this was going to be when someone reacted.

Then something amazing and unexpected happened, the mom on the other side of the bus looked at what I was doing and then smiled at me.

And that’s how the rest of the bus ride went. I nursed Peanut for probably 20 minutes before she finally passed out and almost every person who got on the bus just smiled at me. Maybe it’s just because I smiled at them. Maybe they didn’t even notice I was nursing. Either way, there was zero confrontation (even from the mean bus driver). Just a wonderful, happy experience nursing my child on the bus. It put me in a wonderful mood for the rest of the day (even when Peanut woke up the second we got off the bus because of that ridiculous stroller… which I already sold).

Of course, it doesn’t always happen perfectly. There are people out there who are willing to harass a mom just for feeding her child. Such a thing happened last month in a Whole Foods in the same city I was visiting. Needless to say, there will be a nation-wide nurse-in on August 20th at 3pm at all Whole Foods stores. Hope to see you there.

Here are more post by the Breastfeeding Cafe Carnival participants! Check back because more will be added throughout the day.

Nursing Manners

Peanut has suddenly had a dramatic change in her nursing manners. She’s always been “bad” when she’s going to sleep. For whatever reason, no matter what I do, I can not get her past twiddling one side while nursing on the other while going to sleep. I tell her no. I threaten “no more milk”. I actually stop giving her milk. None of it has worked and it’s incredibly frustrating, but I deal with it. I just keep telling her no and such until she gets sleepy enough that she doesn’t do it anymore or that I can hold her hand away.

The problem is now in the daytime. I feel like we’ve gotten to the point in our nursing relationship where I don’t have to give her milk every single time she asks for it. I’m not trying to wean or anything, but sometimes it’s just down right inconvenient. For instance, while I’m trying to have a conversation with someone and I know that she’ll just pull off if I let her nurse because she wants to talk too. Or when I’m in the middle of doing something on the computer. Or even just when I needed to delay it tonight until we got everything situated for bed.

Seems reasonable, no? Well, Peanut would say “no”. Actually, she’d probably say “NO!!!!!”

If I tell her no, she has a fit. Most of the time, it’s just a bit of whining which is fine. She does that whenever she doesn’t get her way. Then, if I continue to say no, she’ll start pulling at my shirt. She’ll pinch my breasts like I do to try to decide which side I nursed on last. She’ll even lick either any bare skin she can find (generally my arm or neck) or even my shirt. Not that I think this is her intent, but I find all of these behaviors very disrespectful and outright embarrassing.

What I’ve been doing is setting her on the floor and telling her that she can’t get back up because she’s being mean to Mama. I often explain to her that those behaviors don’t get her milk, asking nicely for milk gets her milk (also often with the stipulation that when Mama says no, you do not get milk). I even sometimes resort to leaving the room because she is so persistent.

Alas, the behavior is not improving. Actually, if anything I would say that it is worsening (she hadn’t done the licking of my shirt thing until today). This isn’t a deal breaker, but I greatly feel the need to make it stop. I know that patience is a big thing to ask of a 21 month old, but she needs to at least learn that when Mama says no, she means NO. Period.

Any suggestions? Has anyone else dealt with these kinds of behavior before? Possibly it’s just a stage?