Spring: a time for renewing my nursing vows

I think people should make resolutions not once a year, but for every season.

I’ve always been a big believer in resolutions, even though I don’t always stick to them, they are good reminders of things that I want. And in the end, if I want it badly enough and resolve it often enough, I usually do it. Eventually. Most of the time. Sometimes. Okay, maybe not ever. But sometimes, I do. Really.

To that end, my spring resolution is a renewal of my original intent to continue nursing Annika until she is ready to wean on her own. I’m even contemplating going back to night nursing since night weaning hasn’t been the cure-all for my sleep ailments that I thought it would.

About a month ago, I began contemplating weaning.

I was sick of the constant clutching at my clothes and rolling around in my arms to position herself at my breast when I was holding her. I was frustrated because Annika would turn up her nose at food, but then two seconds later request to nurse.

So I decided to turn to my trusty mothering books for some answers.

I’ve been reading, How Weaning Happens, and Mothering Your Nursing Toddler. These books have helped me to realize that most of what I’ve been feeling is completely normal. Feeling frustrated because she prefers to nurse instead of eat regular food. Worrying that she’s not getting enough nutrition. Annoyed because every time we are about to go somewhere she wants to stop and nurse. More annoyed because she wants to nurse before she gets strapped into the car seat after a trip somewhere, even when I tell her we can nurse as soon as we get home. Frustrated because nursing has become physically irritating.

But in reading these books, I have realized that some of my frustration is possibly some of the cause of additional nursing. I had wondered if that might be the case. Nursing to Annika represents not just nutrition, but closeness to me. It is a big part of her support system. Suckling helps her ease her stress during heavy developmental periods. When I tell her no, or blow her off with distractions, it represents rejection to her, thereby adding to her stress.

It’s not like I didn’t already know that stuff. I did. But it was hard to see it through my gritted teeth and clenched hands during the nursing sessions that were little more than light sucking most of the time. I’d look down at her and say, “You’re not even really nursing!” I began to wonder just what it was exactly that she was getting out of it.

It made it even harder to be at playgroups with other kids her age and their moms saying, “Oh yeah, we’ve completely weaned. It didn’t seem to bother little so-and-so in the slightest.” Or, “Oh, yeah, she sleeps through the night, no problem.”

It seemed to me like most of the other moms I knew in real life didn’t have the same issues surrounding nursing that I did.

I felt alone in my struggle and questioning myself about how much she really needed to nurse and was I just creating bad habits.

But these books, and additionally some online friends have rallied around me in support, telling me I’m not the only one. She will eventually grow out of it. And yes, she really does need it. Even though all the stupid parenting experts say she doesn’t.