Reflections on Motherhood and Life as a Doula

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Breastfeeding Guilt

Stephen was 15 months old when I found out I was pregnant with Delaney.  I was hoping to nurse Stephen until he was 2 years old.  When I did the math, and found out that Delaney was due just after Stephen's second birthday, I was concerned that I would have to deal with jealousy issues over the breast if Stephen was still nursing.  I always loved the idea of tandem nursing, but now that it could possibly happen, I was scared.  I was also stuck in a mindset that children shouldn't nurse past the age of two.

I shared my concern with my CNM at the time, and she agreed with me.  I was four months pregnant, my breasts felt like someone was stabbing me with a knife every time Stephen latched on, and there wasn't much time to wean him before the baby was here.  Our CNM suggested we get started on the process immediately.  She told us to switch up our bedtime routine - my husband, Mike, would put Stephen to bed instead of myself.  As my husband brought him into his bedroom, I sat out on the sofa, crying my eyes out and waiting to hear Stephen's cries.  They never came.  He went right to sleep.  And he slept good.  The next morning, he never asked for milk. 

Everyone was very happy about the successful weaning.  "He obviously was ready", was the common remark.  I wasn't ready.  It broke my heart that he so easily moved on without me.  I felt helpless and pathetic.

I learned to enjoy my new found freedom.  My body was entirely mine (if you don't count the baby growing in my belly) for a few months. 

Delaney was born and we began an amazing breastfeeding relationship within the first twenty minutes of her life.  I thought to myself that if Stephen were to ask for milk, that I would let him try it.  But now that she was here, he looked so big and so old.  He asked for milk - multiple times - and I said no.  The look on his face was heartbreaking.

Now, six weeks later, my hormones have settled (kinda) and I regret telling him no.  I know it is selfish, but I didn't get any closure with our breastfeeding relationship.  Now all I want him to do is ask for milk.  I'll be okay if he tries it and doesn't want anymore. 

But he doesn't ask anymore.  And it breaks my heart.

I want my babies to be babies forever.  I want to nurse my babies forever - it is the only part of mothering that I know I am doing right.

1 comment:

  1. Oh Meagan :( I know this post is old, but don't beat yourself up about this! You made the decision you had to with the information you had. I tandem nursed the girlies, and it is hard and I'm not sure it was good for my relationship with Maya. It made me angry with her because of her "neediness" and I was so relieved when she finally weaned. I'm not sure I'd choose to do it again because of the stress it put on our relationship.