Thursday, December 13, 2007

Is There Enough to Go Around?

Before I got pregnant, the plan was to nurse Sam until she wanted to wean. I figured that could be one, two or even two-and-half, depending on her preference.

I get really annoyed by the people who make disparaging comments about older children nursing. Each nursing relationship is unique and comprised of two people, neither of whom should care if closed minded people who have an apparent abundance of time complain about their life choices. The number of times I have heard "if he can ask for it, he is too old to get it," is probably numbered into the thousands. And to them, I say: why do you care?

To be fair, I used to think the same way. But then I started nursing. I kept nursing. Now I know how nice the relationship is and how special it is that I can feed her this way and share this unique bond with my kid. I want the relationship to end smoothly, when she wants it so. But now I am pregnant and, although my symptoms have largely been confined to intense nausea and light cramping, it is only a matter of time until my nipples become too sore to nurse. Or is it?

I just bought the book "Adventures in Tandem Nursing" by the La Leche League to explore my options. The idea of nursing two children fills me with fear, but there are a few compelling reasons to do so:

1.) I will hopefully not go through the same round of soreness I did the first time if I am already nursing

2.) I want a way to comfort Sam and let her know she is still very special to me

3.) I want to allow Sam to wean herself naturally

These were my thoughts when I bought the book. But now I am leaning towards weaning her before it comes to that. Practically, it seems to make the most sense. But I feel so guilty at the prospect of forcing her to stop nursing because of this new baby. I am worried enough about what she will lose becuse this child is coming. The last thing I want is for her to lose something that important to her.

I realize I could just let things progress naturally and see how they go. But that is not my style. I must have a plan! I must have a course of action! Now! But seriously: Tandem nursing, is it is do or a don't? Please share thoughts and opinions. I need all the help I can get.


Stacey said...

I have never tandemed (is that a word?) nursed, but I am currently nursing my 14 month old and have no plans to stop until he stops. I have the same feelings as you with nursing... and am actually having some issues now because I want to get pregnant, but I don't want my nursing relationship to end. I plan to tandem nurse, if I have to, and even if my kiddo is weaned, then regresses back to nursing again once a sibling is born, I would be fine with that. Okay enough about me.. my suggestion is to go with what feels right to you. All the comments from other people about nursing so far haven't changed your mind about nursing, so why should anyone's comments about nursing 2 change your mind? And you may even think you want to wean your child, but then what happens when the new baby comes and you tandem nurse and it's as special and wonderful as nursing one? You didn't know how much you'd love nursing your first child, so how will you know how much you'll love (or hate) nursing 2? And as a side note, I have also read parts of Adventures in Tandem Nursing and am involved in my local La Leche League... maybe you could find a LLL group (if you haven't already) and maybe someone in the group will be tandem nursing, or have done so it the past and you can get advice from them. Hope my babbling helps! Good luck and congratulations! Stacey

Kristi said...

I don't have any experience with this, so my thoughts aren't based on any real-world examples, but my gut feeling is that tandem nursing sounds really difficult. That said, Sam will be 18 months when the new little one is born, and at that point, she might be nursing a whole lot less than she is right now, so maybe it won't be difficult at all.

I absolutely share your opinions about having a baby-led end to nursing. Isabella showed a big lack of interest in nursing for very long during each session at about 10 months. I nursed her until she was 13 months, but for the last month or so, it was only once a day. Perhaps by the time you actually have to make this decision, Sam will make the decision for you.

Stacey said...

OOH! That's a great point that Kristi had.. my son, who is 14 months, usually nurses to go to sleep for his nap and at bedtime and MAYBE once more during the day.. so that's, at most, 3 times, and it's usually for less than 15 minutes each time. Stacey