Loneliness in Breastfeeding

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I started my breastfeeding career almost three years ago.  I knew that I would breastfeed.  I tried to refrain from saying that I would try to breastfeed.  I just knew that I would be doing it.  For how long was the question.  I knew that my first goal was a year.  That is a lot longer than most women, but I rarely pass up free food and since I was making this stuff, I knew I wanted my baby boy to get the best.

As I got closer to the one year birthday, I knew that I was no where close to being finished with breastfeeding and Liam sure wasn’t done.  I thought that since the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended two years of breastfeeding versus the standard one year in the United States that I would work towards that but not be too concerned about it.

I expressed breast milk at work until Liam was between 17-18 months. I became pregnant with my second child when Liam was around 18 months.  Liam was still nursing but not as much to sleep.  I started to reduce his nursing because it became very uncomfortable to nurse with my pregnancy.  I would tell him that mama milk was asleep at night-time and he soon didn’t wake during the night wanting to nurse.  Sure he had teeth and sure he could ask for mama milk, but truthfully I have the philosophy that babies ask from birth for milk through cries or rooting and so that wasn’t a reason to stop.  The teeth weren’t bad, we just had to keep conscious of his latch.  I wanted him to wean on his own time.

I stopped nursing him in public by two years.  I wasn’t so surprised that I had a nursing two-year old.  By 25 months, my milk was pretty much gone because of pregnancy but Liam would still beg to nurse.  I would let him for about a minute until I just felt like I was going to crawl out of my skin in discomfort.  A day or two would go by and then he would ask for mama milk.  I would distract and try other foods but sometimes, all he wanted was to know that he was still allowed to nurse.  At about 7 months into my pregnancy, I thought he was done.  He would ask to nurse, I would let him try and all he would do is attempt to latch, stop and just pat my breast.  I thought he had forgotten how to nurse.

Then a couple of weeks before baby number two was to arrive he asked to nurse.  I let him.  It didn’t hurt.  I knew my milk was back.  Nicholas arrived when Liam was almost 2.5.  I had read books about tandem nursing and thought it might be cool to say that I’ve done that.  It is a little weird for me.  I don’t know why.  I have a tiny little baby and a toddler that isn’t ready to be the big brother.  I would tell Liam that the milk was for the baby.  He would melt down.  He just wanted time with me.  Sometimes the quality time wasn’t enough.  He wanted to have what the baby had and that was milk. I would let him nurse.

Liam will be three at the end of the month.  He nursed today.  Actually I tandem nursed both of them.  Nicholas was on my left side with his legs going to my right.  Liam was on my right side, laying on his little brother’s lap.  Nicholas was playing with Liam’s hair while he nursed.  Both boys were easily soothed by mama milk.  The house was quiet.  But I felt awkward.  My husband walked into the room and gave me that look like, really?  I shrugged but felt a bit embarrassed.  I look at my first born and he looks so big.  Too big to be nursing, whatever that means.  When I asked him to stop because the milk was almost gone he let out a full fledged plea, “No, I want mama milk.  Mama milk, please.”   I feel so torn.  I would be completely okay if Liam didn’t nurse again.  I have another baby here that needs me and my mama milk.  It is just so hard to see your child heartbroken.

The loneliness of this post comes from the fact that I know very few women that nurse their children this long, not to mention tandem nursing.  I don’t really feel like I can talk to anyone about it.  Most people believe that nursing past 3 or 4 months is too long, not to mention past a year.  I’m sitting here in no man’s land and I know that other people nurse that long.  But I don’t know anyone personally since once you get past a year and a half of breastfeeding, those that keep nursing kind of go hiding.  It isn’t talked about, most people don’t publicize it, but I am just writing to let other mom’s know that there is someone out there that feels the same way.

I must go now, the wee one is hungry.  Ahh, the powers of mama milk.

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3 thoughts on “Loneliness in Breastfeeding

    Lisa said:
    October 13, 2010 at 9:07 pm

    Well, I knew someone who PLANNED On tandem nursing, but her toddler decided to wean during her pregnancy, too. We’re just past the 24 month mark of nursing. But we’re not tandem because there’s only one. I know a gal in my church who nursed all of hers to 3. I’m sure you know about Kellymom.com. I am pretty sure they have some info about tandem nursing. Though I don’t think that’s what you’re looking for. Blessings girl! Know that you are not alone. Just not everyone is brave enough to talk about it?

      lahancock responded:
      October 14, 2010 at 8:23 am

      Thanks Lisa. I have plenty of resources on that type of stuff. It is just that I’m feeling weird about it all.

    Summer said:
    October 28, 2010 at 8:32 pm

    I don’t think you’re weird. I have IGT and a very low supply, but if I had lots of milk I would definitely tandem nurse my 2 yo son and 3 mo. daughter. I hope you find a tribe to support you in this journey.

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