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September 26, 2008

Yes, We're STILL Doing THAT

Img_0064_4 In my fairly long breastfeeding career, I have been lucky enough that I was never, ever asked to cover up when feeding my children like others have. I don't even recall being looked at askance by anyone outside of my own family (another story, another time). With my first child I covered up, searched out changing rooms, lingered in the car, and did everything I could because I was uncomfortable with my own nursing skills. It took a few more kids to gain my confidence, but now I've nursed in malls, restaurants, libraries, on trains, on buses, poolside, and parkside. I've nursed at my dying grandfather's bedside. I've nursed at festivals and parties and craft fairs. I've nursed in hospitals and nursing homes. I can't say that I've been made to feel uncomfortable for feeding my child - until recently. The difference? My nursling son is a toddler.

My "baby" will be two in November, and if he had his way, he'd nurse all the time. I've been nursing someone for 68 months now, and he still wants to continue, but I'm not so enamored with the idea anymore. He mostly just nurses at bedtime and first thing in the morning, and he'll even ask for "milk!" after he's nursed in the morning, since I don't think I make all that much milk anymore. But he'll still ask from time to time during the day. I've started covering up on the rare occasions we nurse in public now, telling him that if he takes the blanket off, the nummies will go away. It didn't take more than one instance of removing him from the breast before he learned. I've started refusing him when he requests nursing outside of bedtime or morning. He can drink from a cup and eats like there's no tomorrow, so I don't worry about his nutrients - he clearly needs it emotionally, though. When he gets tired or hurt, he pulls on my shirt and asks for nummies. I can't bear those big eyes and crocodile tears, so I usually give in. But I don't want to. The guilt is tremendous.

I know the benefits of extended nursing, to both my son and me. I don't have any problem countering any naysayers. And I love the cuddle time with him. The thing is, I'm the naysayer. I know it's good for him. I know it's good for me. I don't care what decisions anyone else has made - whatever works for them is good - or what anyone might think of me for doing it. But after 68 plus months, plus another three years pregnant, I want my body back. I'd rather spend an hour rocking back and forth with his head on my shoulder all snuggled up than nurse him anymore. Enough is enough. I just don't know how to convince my son of that. And I suppose that like most other things we go through when our kids are babies, I'll miss it when it's gone. I'm really ready to miss it, though.

Original DC Metro Moms Blog post. When she's not hiding her breasts from her son, Mary/FishyGirl blogs at The Fish Pond.


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