Gentle Weaning Means Knowing When to Stop

Welcome to the Carnival of Weaning: Weaning – Your Stories

This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Code Name: Mama and Aha! Parenting. Our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles about the end of the breastfeeding relationship.

Gentle weaning means knowing when to stop… weaning.

Recently I wrote about my attempt to help Peanut wean a bit more quickly. I just feel done. Not angry or frustrated (as I did directly after Twig was born), just done.

So, even though I am a big proponent of child-led weaning, I decided to push things along a little. I tried counting, singing, delaying (though really I’ve been doing that for a while because she often asks to nurse at really inconvenient times), rules (e.g. we only nurse in this chair), and so on. Things I’ve considered to be “gentle” weaning techniques. Things that, apparently, aren’t so gentle for Peanut.

Tears. Increased irritability. Increased clingy-ness. Anger. Begging me not to count or sing. And more tears.

My 3 year old isn’t ready to wean.

Many people would tell me to just do it anyway. She’s 3, she can handle it. No. She’s manipulating you. No. She’s too old to continue nursingNo.

She’s not ready and I respect that. Even if I feel done, she’s not, and that’s okay. She’s still so young in the scheme of life. Over the last few months, her world has been turned upside-down. Why would I forcefully take away something that comforts her so much right when she needs it the most? Why would I purposely hurt my child?

One day, my oldest will cease to nurse. Until then, I plan on trying my hardest to savor every minute of this special time in our relationship. We will never get this back. One day I will miss it. One day, someday sooner than I can imagine, she’ll be grown and gone and I’ll miss the ability that I have now to cuddle her in my lap while I nourish and comfort her.

Gentle weaning means listening to your child. Gentle weaning means taking their feelings into account. Gentle weaning means knowing the difference between being ready and not.



Thank you for visiting the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (and many thanks to Joni Rae of Tales of a Kitchen Witch for designing our lovely button):

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Steps Towards Weaning

Peanut nursing when she was 4 months old.

I’m officially there. I’m weaning.

Well, more like I’m nudging her towards officially quitting breastfeeding. Technically, you start weaning the day you introduce something besides the breast. Even for exclusively breastfed babies, this starts early. It can be when you introduce a pacifier (which has been shown to decrease the overall breastfeeding relationship) or when you give them their first foods. For us, this started over 2.5 years ago when she had that first meal of apricots and bacon. Then, for us, it moved onto what they call “Don’t ask, don’t refuse” when she was over a year old. As she got older, it moved into refusing when I was busy. Then I started refusing more when we were out and about, which is pretty much the same idea. Just too busy and moving around to stop and nurse. Plus it was more difficult to nurse her in a carrier as we used to do.

Peanut nursing at 8 months.

We stayed there for a long time. She rarely asked outside of nap time, bedtime, and morning. During my pregnancy there was sensitivity, but nothing unbearable. I expected the uncomfortable nursing to get better when Twig was born, but it didn’t. It’s getting better now, but I think the contrast from a baby nursing to a toddler nursing that I experience every day will make Peanut’s nursing never truly comfortable for me again.

Then, of course, since Twig was born, Peanut has been asking to nurse much more frequently. In the beginning it was more often than Twig wanted to nurse. Now she’s to the point of asking a few times a day. All in all, things are getting better. The problem is, for me, that it doesn’t seem like it’s enough.

Nursing I love yous at 15 months.

I feel frustrated every time Peanut nurses. I feel frustrated every time she asks and I tell her no (though generally in nicer terms and attempts to avoid actually saying no). I get even more frustrated when she asks Over. And Over. And Over. even when I have a valid reason why we can’t nurse (e.g. we’re driving in the car). I feel like nursing is putting a strain on our relationship.

Spiderman nursing at 26 months.

So we’re working on weaning. I never thought I’d say that. I’ve always been a firm believer in child-led weaning, but I need to take my own advice and realize that this is a relationship and both sides need to be happy for it to continue. Someone in La Leche League the other day told me that breastfeeding is the first place where your child learns limits and boundaries. It is important that she learns that, right? My feelings count too, right? I have to keep telling myself these things. Eventually they’ll stick.

Obviously, I feel a bit of guilt.

I know that Peanut probably isn’t ready to wean. I don’t think she’s young enough that it’s going to be traumatizing for her, but I do know her well enough to know that it will need to be really gentle. I’ve kept this in mind while looking at ways to help along weaning. For instance, some moms do a “weaning day” where it’s the last day that the child nurses, but I don’t think would work for her because it would be too sudden. If I left her for a weekend and expected her to wean during that period, I honestly think it would be traumatizing for her.

Getting kicked in the face by sister at 35 months.

I think Peanut’s weaning process will need a lot of yeses. So right now, what we’re doing is counting to ten while she nurses. I’ve heard of moms doing this during pregnancy because of the pain. I can count as fast or slow as I’d like, so that determines how long she gets to nurse. She’s already asking me not to count, but I tell her that she’s a big girl and big girls get to count while they’re nursing. I’m trying to act like it’s something fun. I’m also saying yes whenever I can, even if it’s not a super convenient time to nurse. We’re also trying to eliminate her nap time (there will be a post about that in the near future) and that’s a big time that she used to nurse. It was the only way she’d get to sleep for nap. Bedtime and morning time aren’t nearly so vital.

This is what we’re trying for now. Just like everything in parenting, we may change things if they stop working. New ideas are very welcome too.

Did you wean your older nursling? Are you happy you did? How did you do it to make it gentle? Has anyone weaned an older nursling while tandem nursing?

The Importance of the Virgin Gut

Peanut getting a poke test done for allergies. One huge red spot is the test spot, the other is for Peanuts.

I didn’t hear about the concept of the virgin gut until Peanut was a few months old. At the time, I dismissed it as a “holier than thou” ideal. By then, Peanut had already had something other than breast milk. Actually, by the time she was a day old, she had already had something other than breast milk.

We transferred with Peanut to the hospital after her accidental home birth. We had trusted our midwife to help us decide whether or not the vitamin K shot would be necessary, but since we didn’t go to the same hospital, our midwives weren’t there. Honestly, they may have recommended it anyway given the length of labor and the position of Peanut during most of it. I’m not sure. Regardless, she was given the vitamin K shot when we transferred to the hospital. I honestly don’t even remember it happening, but (obviously without a medical degree or anything that gives me valid proof) I’m sure that it’s the reason for what happened next.

They tested Peanut’s blood, without my consent I may add, and told me that her blood was “too thick.” They said that I needed to give her Pedialyte to counteract this and that they’d test it again in a few hours. I knew the risks of nipple confusion, so I made sure we wouldn’t do it in a bottle. That’s all I knew to do. I felt totally lost and confused. I felt like they were working against me and my gut told me not to do it, but I did it anyway. Her blood was fine at the next test even with the fact that I’m certain she spit up most of what I gave her in the syringe. This made me wonder if it was even necessary.

So when I was introduced to the concept of the virgin gut, the feelings of betrayal from the hospital staff convincing me to give Pedialyte to my baby were still raw. I felt offended at the idea of my child not having a virgin gut. Like they were trying to say something was wrong with her. Like I had done that thing wrong.

It wasn’t until later that I really looked at the idea of the virgin gut.

There is a reason for the virgin gut, especially within the first few weeks. When a baby is born, their gut is sterile. Babies given supplementation develop different gut flora. Even one bottle changes the flora and, if given in the first week of life, the flora may not ever reach the pH that it would have been otherwise. The pH level of the gut is one of the methods the body uses to fight bad bacteria, then the formula itself often introduces bad bacteria.

Even beyond the first weeks, it’s best to delay introducing anything besides breast milk for the first 6 months, if not longer. Not the first 4-6 months, as baby food labels and possibly even your pediatrician may tell you. Between 4 and 6 months, a baby’s gut will “close.”  The “open” gut of a baby allows larger molecules to pass through the intestine, straight into the blood stream. This is so that the antibodies from the mother’s breast milk are able to get to the baby’s bloodstream straight away, which is a great thing. If formula or other foods are introduced to the baby before it’s fully closed, it becomes a very bad thing. This allows pathogens to get straight to your baby, along with large molecules from the food. What’s the problem with food molecules in the bloodstream? Allergies.

I remember being thoroughly unalarmed by the idea of allergies when Peanut was a baby. We had very few allergies in our family and none were life threatening, so I figured her risk of developing them was pretty low. Then I had a child with a life-threatening food allergy. I kept myself awake at night worrying about someone giving her food without knowing or a label being wrong. I lived in fear of having to use the Epi-pen that we carried with us 24 hours a day and even bigger fear of not having it when we needed it. I still well up at the thought of her allergy and I am beyond grateful that she outgrew it. Now though, I wonder if we would have dealt with it at all if she would have had a virgin gut. May we would have, but I’ll forever wonder if those few little supplements of Pedialyte in the hospital gave us 6 months of hell.

Of course there are situations where a baby just can’t have a virgin gut. A friend of mine almost died during birth and was in a coma for weeks afterwards. During that time, her newborn daughter was obviously given formula. Afterwards, she was able to exclusively breastfeed. Really, an amazing accomplishment. For her daughter though, that formula allowed her to live when her mother couldn’t give her milk. There are many medical reasons for a baby needing something other than their mother’s milk. Even if your baby has been given formula or other food (beyond the first week), the gut can restore itself to the correct pH with exclusive breast milk for a couple of weeks.

So how important is the virgin gut? It depends. Only you can decide if it’s something important to you. If there is a medical necessity for your baby to receive formula or medication, then that can outweigh the risks of a non-virgin gut. Maybe though, if you’re just thinking of supplementing with formula while you go on a date, you can pump instead. Or maybe if you’re already giving your baby formula or other food regularly, you might decide restore your baby’s virgin gut status by going back to breast milk only. Maybe even if there’s not a medical reason, you still aren’t worried about a non-virgin gut.

This, along with all the other things I mention on this blog, are individual choices. I use this space to inform people of the decisions I’ve made. Often it’s because I think I may have made a different decision, or in this case, have made a different decision in the past, without this information. I hope that even if you don’t decide to do the things on this blog that it helps you to make educated decisions. Every one of you will make the decision that’s best for your family and your circumstances, just as I’ve made the decision that’s best for mine. 

Tandem Nursing – 3 Years and 2 Months

The theme of my life for the last few weeks has been “getting the hang of things.” This applies to all aspects of having two children, but especially so with tandem nursing. Things are just starting to fit.

Ask me a month ago, and I didn’t know if we’d get here. I was fixing to burst with annoyance for my toddler. She was asking to nurse All. The. Time. and I was tired of it. Not to mention it being painful when she did actually nurse. I was actually considering weaning and, I won’t lie to all of you, the thought crossed my mind of going cold turkey. I knew it wasn’t really an option because how devastated Peanut would have been, but for a moment I desperately wanted it all to just go away.

So rather than traumatize my first born, I decided to just decrease how often she nursed. We got things down to nursing before naps and bedtime and I told her it was a “rule” that we only nursed during those times. She still asked, but she seemed to accept it when I told her the rule. After about a week of that, I was feeling much better. So much so that I thought about maybe letting her the next time she asked. I did, and things have actually been great. I found that stepping back from the situation, I missed her nursing in the daytime. I missed both of them together sitting on my lap nursing. I missed the connection that I got with my toddler when she was wide awake and nursing rather than falling asleep and nursing. I’m sure that I would have found that connection another way and I know one day I will have to, but I’m very grateful I didn’t give in to my rash thoughts a month ago.

At a La Leche League meeting I was at a few days ago, a mother brought up how people who have never nursed an older child sometimes say that the only reason for the older child still nursing is because the mother wants to. There are obvious problems with that statement like trying to make the mother into a sexual deviant that gets erotic pleasure out of the child nursing or a helicopter mom who won’t cut the cord. I’ll admit though, I do enjoy nursing. There are certainly times that I don’t enjoy nursing, and I those of you in my blogging world often hear the most about those times, but I also enjoy it too. I love the bond that I gives me with my oldest.

Beyond that though, it’s more than just the nutritional and emotional benefits. It’s also about the fact that my preschooler is still a baby. From the moment of birth, we start trying to push our adult expectations onto our children. They should sleep through the night. They should have a schedule. And as they become toddlers, we continue to push our ideals onto them. They shouldn’t jump on the couch. They should sit quietly. We continue to try to make our children adults until they finally are and we’re left wondering where our babies went.

When I think about Peanut and the fact that, as of Tuesday, she’ll be 3 years old, a preschooler, I feel like it’s been an eternity. Not in a bad way, but rather because it is truly difficult for me to recollect my life in the time prior to her birth. She is my everything (well, part of my everything that involves Twig and daddy also) so much so that my mind seems to have written her backwards in my life. Like she’s always been there somehow, I just had to meet her. Sometimes I look at her and I’m in complete awe of the little person she’s become. In three short years, she’s formed opinions, she’s developed speech to the point where adults can understand most things she says, she has a favorite color for hope’s sake! Yet, it’s still just three short years. When she enters junior high, what she’s lived now will be just 1/4th of her life. When she starts a family, perhaps it’ll be 1/10th. When she dies, hopefully at a ripe old age, it could be as little as 1/30th.

So yes, my preschooler is still a baby. She’s still so young. One day I will look back and cry that I can’t cuddle her in my lap and nurse her one more time. So for as long as I can, I will let her stay my baby. I will give her comfort in the way she expects until she eventually finds new ways to be comforted. Then when she’s grown enough that she no longer wants to nurse, I will simultaneously mourn the loss in our nursing relationship and welcome the new chapter in our lives.

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!

Collaborations in Art and Breastfeeding

Today’s post is a guest post from Rachel at http://balance.ddtr.net. Read her full bio at the end of this post. Today she shares an absolutely fascinating story of her creation of The Food Landscape, which chronicles her youngest child’s introduction to solid foods through art.

In my own experience, art and breastfeeding were interdependent. After earning a Ph.D. in art history, I made the decision to stay at home for several years with our young children. The abrupt change from promising graduate student / scholar to stay-at-home mom was challenging, to say the least. My personal and professional identities felt submerged beneath the high needs of nursing infants and toddlers. Psychologist Shari Thurer dramatically describes this phenomenon, how in some ways the new mother ceases to exist. “She exists bodily, of course, but her needs as a person become null and void. On delivering a child, …her personal desires either evaporate or metamorphose so that they are identical with those of her infant. Once she attains motherhood, a woman must hand in her point of view” (Thurer 2007, 335). While saving my sanity might be too strong a characterization, I did return to printmaking after a ten-year hiatus as a way to chronicle my mothering situation and to regain some semblance of my own separate being.

I began with a series of family portraits, based on drawings and then cut into linoleum blocks. My sketchbook from that time shows page after page of my youngest child nursing, a time when I could capture her mostly still form, holding her with one hand and drawing with the other. In some drawings, she regards me alertly as she nurses; in others, her eyelids get heavy, or she drops off to sleep. The drawings that inspired the Untitled (Sharing) (2007) prints were a catalyst, prompting me to see our breastfeeding relationship as a nurturing collaboration that has since inspired a range of art work on critical issues of mothering.

My extended print series, The Food Landscape (2008-09), visually narrates the end of my breastfeeding journey. My youngest was slow to start solid foods. She had no interest in the bland rice cereal, oatmeal, or anything else, although admittedly, I didn’t try very hard. I was pretty happy with the ease of the nursing relationship. At an appointment when she was 8-1/2 months old, though, the nurse very nearly panicked upon learning that my child was not yet eating solids. “She needs to learn how to eat,” she said. “You need to teach her to eat.” The child was happy and healthy, but clearly, I was failing. It being my third child, though, I smiled and said nothing. A week later, she started eating solids, on her own, in her own time. So much for the anxiety. At that point, I began keeping a daily food log, documenting everything she ate, the seed of a future project. What became The Food Landscape is a series of nearly 300 screen prints, one for each day, from the time my youngest began eating solids at 9 months, until she weaned at 17 months. For each day’s print, the foods she ate are the actual inks, pressed through the screen to reveal their natural pigments. The prints chart her gradually changing nutritional intake: in the early months, the food-image takes up very little space on the page, but by the late months, as she nursed less and less, the food occupies most of the page. The image is an abstracted one, the curvilinear shape of her mouth recorded in a series of drawings I did while she nursed, but the striations of food have often evoked for me a physical landscape, as well as the details of her own culinary landscape. When exhibiting one representative work for each month, the prints show the progression as the food gradually takes priority over the breast milk. In its finished form, each month of prints constitutes its own accordion-fold book. Shelves full of books, cataloging a period of growth.

From its inception, The Food Landscape struck me as a collaboration. The decision to introduce solid foods to my child’s diet ultimately was not mine alone, but one that required her input. She was the one guiding the process, helping to decide how quickly her diet would change and how slowly she would reduce her intake of breastmilk. While this may initially sound like an odd reversal of power, in that first year of her life, it evolved as a completely natural process of sharing. In large part, I believe this occurred as a result of our mostly, though perhaps unintentionally, attachment-parenting approach. My partner and I took a collaborative approach to child-rearing not only between the two of us as parents, but also as a family unit, focusing in our decision-making on the best interests of the entire family. As the primary caregiver, though, for me attachment parenting, or perhaps simply parenting, also resulted in a transitional state of identity. While I did not begrudge it, most of the time, for many months my own identity seemed lost amid responding to the high needs of a nursing infant.

My production of The Food Landscape series echoed the collaborative nature of its inception in a very literal way as little hands tried to guide the process. Prior to this series, printmaking was for me a solitary endeavor, a time when I could leave the house and immerse myself in the inking, wiping, printing, cleaning. The food prints were different. I had a screen at home and my workspace was, aptly, our dining room table. Because my workspace was so public a part of our family space, my children were natural and willing participants. They loved the food prints. They inquired curiously about the green and yellow and orange and purples mixtures, trying to guess their food origins. They came to watch as I pulled the print, to see how the colors would come through the screen. And they seemed to understand this conceptual project, excited that it actually had something to do with them. I brought them into this other part of my life, merging our worlds together. As much as my own self ceased to exist, in Shari Thurer’s words, in those months of nursing, the print realization of it cried out for collaboration.

I have come to view the prints of The Food Landscape as inhabiting part of an ‘in between’ space of the mother-child collaboration. During their creation, I read the food prints at times as a critical commentary on my mothering (how did I let her go for four days with no greens in her diet?), while at other times, their repetitive production seemed an ironic parallel to the domestic maternal life: just as each of the prints re-enacted a daily intake of food, so, too, did its production symbolize the daily rituals of domestic life at home with children. Each of the prints required extensive food preparation, and each required significant clean-up. Pulling the print itself, however, took almost no time at all. More than once I noticed the parallel to mealtime, where the time spent in preparation and clean-up far outweighs the few minutes spent eating the food. In that same vein, though, the food prints felt comfortable, familiar, a symbolic extension of what I do every day.

The ‘in-between’ space of the nursing collaboration is a temporary state, and the food prints reflect that. I have known from the start that working with natural food pigments is problematic, for I am fairly certain that the colors will be fugitive. I will limit their exposure to light, but even so, I doubt that the prints will survive for posterity. Then again, that’s not really the point. Regardless of the end product, the greater part of the project was the ritual of the production itself, commemorating a time in my child’s life that will never come again, celebrating her growth, marking the end of our nursing collaboration and the end of my years as a nursing mother. In many ways, the production of this series spoke to parts of the mother-child collaboration that I would not have anticipated. While I initially envisioned the project as being about my daughter and a certain period of her growth, I suppose I should not have been surprised to discover, along the way, that the project became about both of us.

Rachel Epp Buller is a feminist-art historian-printmaker-mama of three whose art and scholarship focus on critical issues of mothering. She coordinates a chapter of The Feminist Art Project (tfapkansas.wordpress.com), teaches at Bethel College, and is the author/editor of, among other texts, Reconciling Art and Mothering (Ashgate, 2012) and Mennonite Mothering (Demeter Press, 2013). Her work can be seen at http://balance.ddtr.net

Breastfeeding at the End of Pregnancy

Nursing on the way home from seeing the lights in the city.

Breastfeeding sucks again.

I kind of figured that since things were going so well at the beginning of this trimester that they’d continue to go well for the rest of the pregnancy. You know what they say about when you assume? It makes an ass out of you and me.

All of a sudden, my nipples are incredibly sensitive. Like the I think I’m going to switch from wearing normal bras to nursing bras before the baby even comes kind of sensitive. Of course, it also appears that I have a new talent of smashing them on things and between things and toddler accidentally pinching them between the mattress and her arm when she’s sitting up and ouch, ouch, ouch! I’m guessing my hormones are changing in light of the pending arrival. Regardless, it’s no fun.

Then I’m also feeling a lot more irritable when Peanut nurses. Generally I’m okay if I distract myself with a book (currently reading the first few chapters of The Baby Book over again, which is definitely something I’d recommend doing before baby arrives), but sometimes I can’t distract myself with a book because Peanut thinks that I need to be asleep for her to go to sleep at nap-time, even if I’m just pretending. Not a huge deal (except when that doesn’t even work, but that’s a whole different story), but it makes distracting myself from the irritation more difficult.

Then little miss suddenly is trying to get handsy again. I thought we were finally past this point, but guess that’s the great thing about kids. Anyway, I’ve always really had an issue with her touching one breast while nursing from the other. I know that other moms can handle it, but I’m just not that mom. I don’t know if it’s just me or my history of sexual abuse, but either way it just doesn’t work for me. She seemed like she was understanding how bothersome it was for mama when she touched the other side, but now all of a sudden she’s doing it again. It’s not as bad as it used to be, but in my already heightened state of irritation, even little touches are beyond heebeegeebees.

Even having said all that, we’re still not stopping. None of this is bad enough that I even feel the need to contemplate stopping. It’s all just more irritating than anything. This all just adds to my willingness to be done with this pregnancy and have two cute little kids, rather than one cute little kid, a fetus, and a weirded-out body.

How did breastfeeding go for you nearing the end of your pregnancy? Any advice on nursing a newborn and a toddler at the same time? I’m kind of freaking out about that.