Nursing Aversion

Nursing AversionWhen I got pregnant with my third child, I was still nursing my toddler. She was just under two, and neither of us was ready for that relationship to end. I began asking questions of other mothers I knew, read Adventures in Tandem Nursing, and felt I was well poised to begin to tandem nurse my toddler and my new baby. I felt a twinge of guilt for impeding on her babyhood with a new baby and the adjustments that would bring her, but I was confident that it would be the beautiful relationship that others had shared about their own journeys and that I had read about. What I was not prepared for was the aversion I felt when nursing my toddler after baby was born.

All that way up to baby being born and that first tandem nursing session at bedtime, I felt only joy in this new adventure. I still saw the baby when I looked at my two year old. I imagined two sweet little faces gazing up as they nursed, holding hands and softly touching each other with love. And, once baby arrived and we began our tandem nursing journey, they did look up at me with love and reach out to the other, getting to know this new person in their life.

aversion 2But I did not look down on this scene and see two babies. I saw a newborn and a toddler. The toddler that I could only see the baby in, became the toddler I could only see the kid in. And it was hard. I wasn’t prepared for those feelings. I wasn’t ready for the instantaneous realignment of my perceptions in how I saw my nursing toddler. I wasn’t equipped to process those unexpected feelings on top of all the others happening right at birth.

All the books and shared stories focused the positive things, the benefits (and there are many!), but they only skimmed over those darker, less pleasant feelings that could arise. I felt angry at my toddler for wanting, needing, to nurse. I felt frustrated by having to nurse ALL.THE.TIME. I felt guilty for wanting to end my toddler’s nursing. And I felt guilty for having all of these feelings. I was her mother, and she still needed to nurse – for extra nutrition and immunity benefits, for adjustment, for comfort.

After a month of struggling, I gathered up my courage and talked about it in my La Leche League group. I spoke candidly about my feelings and my guilt. I spoke of my desperation in not wanting to wean my toddler when she so clearly still needed that connection, but also not wanting to continue to do it. Just being able to vocalize it and not have it be hidden in the dark eased my heart.

aversion 3

And in sharing my story, others came forward to say they had experienced similar things. And that allowed me the grace to move past it and continue doing what I felt was best for both of my babies.

TaiLeah Madill is mama to three and lives in Phoenix, Arizona. She is passionate about volunteering with her local babywearing group and helping other families enjoy the benefits of wearing their little ones. Photos courtesy of www.colleenadamsphotography.com.

 

 

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