Saturday, September 28, 2013

Roller coaster of tandem nursing

When I first found out I was pregnant with Little Sister, I had no desire to tandem nurse. I hoped and prayed Little Miss would self wean when my milk dried up. She continued to dry nurse (ouch!) throughout and when that glorious day came when she got milk again, her eyes lit up and she smiled a huge milk smile. My heart melted.

Nursing really is much more than nutrition, it is truly a special power.

Nursing calms the fiery storm, relaxes the overtired, comforts the hurt, and reconnects child after a period of playing independent.

With how much Little Miss uses nursing as comfort, I could not find it in my heart to wean her after our half cross country move 18 months ago or our move to another new house six months ago or just before Little Sister arrived 2 months ago. It just hasn't seemed fair to her.

When Little Sister was born, within a couple hours I was laying in the uncomfortable hospital bed tandem nursing my suddenly big girl and new baby girl. Watching Little Miss look over Little Sister and caress her while sharing a drink made my heart burst in being able to experience such a moment as this. 

Not to mention, Little Miss helped fight off mastitis. Bonus!

When Little Miss gets sick, no worries about keeping her hydrated as breast milk to the rescue! The only drink she has yet to turn down.

The struggles of Little Miss wanting to nurse every.single.time Little Sister does. To the triumphs of Little Miss wanting to save mommy's milk for Little Sister since she can't have the yummy foods Little Miss enjoys right now.

The struggles our bedtime routine brings when both girls are tired and cranky and want mommy all to themselves is hard. The silver lining is seeing them cuddled together sound asleep. 

At first, I regretted not weaning Little Miss because of her desire to nurse every.single.time.Little Sister does but being told it was not her turn yet. Oh the tantrums and tears that resulted! I tried giving in and hoping it was a phase and by letting her nurse all.the.time she would not want to. Backfired! I couldn't physically handle it. I was frustrated and annoyed with Little Miss for wanting to nurse so frequently.

The solution for us? We are still working on it but it works most of the time... Little Miss gets to nurse when she wakes up for the day, after nap (not rest, she must sleep or no ninny), and before bed. I do not resent nursing her since narrowing it to these three times. I know they will come to an end soon enough. She already forgets to ask sometimes and I certainly do not remind her to nurse. I want our nursing relationship to end with happy memories for both of us. As her third birthday is quickly approaching, I will soon be cutting another nursing session during the day. I really wanted her to self wean but I also thought she would have done so by now! Taking it slow with us talking about it a lot is the second best solution.

Tandem nursing is work. It has moments that are beautiful and I am thankful I stuck it out. It also has moments that are ugly and make you do the ugly cry.

One post nap tandem nursing session, I actually asked Charles to take a picture of that moment with both girls nursing and holding hands while looking at each other. No worries. That picture is solely for our memory books. Too special to share.

I am looking forward to the day Little Miss weans yet am heart broken over it too. It is only in those fleeting moments that she is curled up in my lap "like Little Sister" that I catch glimpses of my newborn Little Miss again. The smile she gives with milk dribbling out the side when I say "I love you my baby" is the same milk dribbling smile she would give as a newborn as if she was remembering a funny joke.

I accept the crazy talk about me behind my back for tandem nursing. Good thing we make the calls for our kids and not those people that like to talk. I wonder what looks or comments I would get should I tandem nurse them in public?!