The Nursing Mother Has Two Faces

Yeah, I’m going to talk about boobs again. Deal.

Happy Face :)

I love breastfeeding. It’s totally amazing that if you combine my pregnancy with the months of exclusive (really really exclusive) breastfeeding, I’ve kept this baby alive with just my body for 17 months. I’m practically a superhero, although thank God I don’t have a spandex outfit. I’ve given my baby the best start possible and he (and I) will both be healthier for it. I’ve saved an enormous amount of money by not buying any formula and an enormous amount of time not sterilizing, heating and preparing bottles. Nothing beats snuggling with a warm sleepy infant on a cold morning and starting my day feeling absolutely attached to my baby. I feel like I repeat all this stuff so many times a day I might as well get it tattooed on my forehead. Or at least embroidered on a pillow. A pillow I can throw off a cliff.

Sad Face :(

I’m so so so tired all the time from getting up at night to nurse this baby. Now that he’s mobile he’s like a tiny Michael Phelps – his body burns calories faster than he can get them in and he needs to eat fourteen times a day. Not to mention possibly suffering from a case of the munchies. When I committed to breastfeeding, I was relieved to learn “extended nursing” usually only involved a couple of feedings a day and not the round-the-clock sessions of a newborn. Unfortunately Baby Evan didn’t get that memo. My nipples feel like they’re going to fall (not from pain, just from pulling) and it only gets worse when he’s teething – which he’s doing AGAIN. This time it’s the top teeth, which means in a couple days he’ll be able to bite with the same power as an average sized dog. Think about how much that would hurt. And despite MY anytime, anywhere approach to breastfeeding the baby refuses to eat if there are people, noise, colors, sounds, dogs, cats, other babies, music, or toys within 100 feet. If I don’t plan for quiet time at home he goes all day without eating and the nighttime feedings go from 2 or 3 to 4 or 5. At this point, I couldn’t give up on breastfeeding even if I wanted to. The battle we have every time I try to give him a bottle or cup is EPIC and his refusal could easily outlast my will to force one on him. Every time I mention my frustration I’m told “don’t worry, he’ll grow out of it” and that 8 months is a totally normal age to still be nursing exclusively. THANKS FOR NOTHING advice givers. Why don’t you come over here and breastfeed this baby at 3 am? For 8 months in a row? Oh, I’m sorry, you’re too busy sleeping at 3 am? THEN SHUT YOUR PIEHOLE. Sorry, sleep deprivation is making me cranky. And complaining about it makes me feel a little better. Especially complaining about it in LARGE CAPITAL LETTERS. LOUD NOISES.

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4 Responses to “The Nursing Mother Has Two Faces”

  1. There’s nothing anyone can say to help your situation. And I know when I was there I wanted to strangle the life out of anybody who tried to be “helpful.”

    I can only echo that it really does get better. I was where you are this time last year (baby born in May 08) and I thought it was going to kill me. But now I look back and I hardly remember what the fuss was about. It seems like that whole first year flew by. I’m still nursing him now, but it is SO MUCH EASIER because it’s not all the time, and he sleeps all night. That’s not going to help you now, but eventually you’ll go “oh yeah.. remember when I was homicidally exhausted?”

    Hang in there.

  2. Robyn says:

    Oh Suzanne! i can totally relate! i LOVE breastfeeding, but am also growing increasingly tired of the nighttime feedings. While Rory does take a bottle, she really isn’t too interested in solid foods, and i still have to get up to feed her every 1-3 hours at night. we never got the hang of nursing in our sleep, although she does sleep next to me. I have to get up at 4 am in order to have time to pump and shower and make to work somewhat on time, so i get very little sleep myself. But the knowledge that i have pretty much kept this child alive with my breasts (except for the ounce or so of baby food that actually makes it into her stomach), is what keeps me going. just keep telling yourself, like i tell myself, this is only a phase, and some day they WILL sleep through the night…i really, really hope.

  3. lalaland13 says:

    Suz, I can offer no helpful advice except have you checked with your doc to see if they have anything helpful? Maybe even those baby store peeps, I dunno. But you’re right-I get to sleep at 3 a.m. if I want, so I really have nothing to contribute. Except I’m really sorry your baby is so such a selfish jerk right now. Snap out of it, kiddo. You seem so sweet and kind in many ways, please take a cup every now and again. It would not kill you. I promise.

  4. Skye says:

    Props to you for sticking with it. By about 18 months (yes, 1.5 years), when I was pretty sure he understood “no” and “all gone right now” I just put my foot down and said no more nighttime nursing. Yes, I will come in if you call me, but all you get is hugs. Of course, he was eating tons of solid food during the day by then so I was pretty sure it wasn’t ravenous hunger driving the wakeups but more just habit. I braced myself for serious resistance but after 3 nights of not too much fussing, he was like “allright then” and started sleeping through the night for the first time since he was 2 months old. Apparently it wasn’t worth hollering in the middle of the night just for mama cuddles in the rocking chair.

    So I don’t have any advice for you, because I did what you did, and yes, we had to plan our schedule so that he got most of those daytime nursing sessions at home or somewhere else very quiet. I don’t regret anything but I do wish I’d cut him off a little sooner because now, at 27 months, I finally feel like I’m back to a normal level of sleep deprivation for the average person instead of the sleep-starved mess I was for the first 18 months.

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