January 24, 2010 at 7:29 pm 1 comment

My heart is full with the loving responses I have got about my sleeping vs. nursing predicament. I am honored to hear your stories, to feel your support, and to receive your shining doses of empathy. My life both in the microscopic sense and the macroscopic sense has changed for the better due to your words.

On the local level, when I lay with Echo at night and she snuggles up for nursing, I am now aware that I am not riding a dangerous precipice, that nothing need be done right this minute, that I am not in crisis. I have this sense now because each comment that I read that says “I have been there” reminds me that this is only a moment of time that I am experiencing, just a teeny tiny blip on the graph of my whole life and Echo’s. There will come a time when I look backward at these days, and merely remember.

She will not nurse forever.

And for those of you currently nursing three children, or that have nursed four children in sequence without a day of pause, you inspire in me further strength. If you nursed all those babies for all that time, then I can nurse this one baby for all of our time together as a nursing team.

Perspective is what you have given me.

I also feel less alone.

Before, awake in the middle of the night while Echo nursed, I felt like the only person not sleeping in the entire world. The cats snoozed, the dog snoozed, Nathan snoozed, the girls snoozed, and I did not. Now I know that, despite my loved ones blissfully dreaming around me, I am not alone. That you too are nursing your babes, yearning to stretch your back or roll over. Or, I know that even if you are sleeping now, you remember what it’s like to watch the moon move past the window, and you are awake with me in spirit.

Thank you.

And many of you, while reading the post, relived a past weaning experience with pain. I will not try to take this away from you, not because I think you deserve it   ( you do not), but because we all make decisions every day that we alone live with and no one can remove the emotions that accompany those choices.

Sometimes we make decisions with other people in mind, the aunts, grandmas, or friends that have walked the gauntlet before and want to ease our passage, or ease their own insecurities by watching us make a similar decision. These choices can rattle around in your heart as emotions that spring up with surprising sharpness when reading a blog post years later. Other times we make these difficult decisions wholly on our own, with much thought, and immense love. But because they involve a child, sprung from your body, and cleaved from your deepest dreams, even these independent decisions still carry pain.

It is quite understandable. Nursing is so tender a spot, that no matter what decision you make, to poke it again will certainly cause an ache.


Entry filed under: empathy, Nursing, parenting principles. Tags: , , , , .

not a baby anymore home

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Angela Malson  |  January 25, 2010 at 10:59 pm

    i just wanted to add that i read your last post, sitting in my mama chair, tied down by my 26 month old nursling, with only one hand to scroll with and too difficult to write. i wanted to jump through the screen and hug you! it was so timely. my little baby girl nurses a lot, still, throughout the day and night. and my back aches and sometimes i can’t take another touch of my nipple after she has been on for hours on end. so i am completely there with you and everyone else who commented.

    you would think that i would know all of this and know that there is an end and to cherish every nipple pull. i nursed both my boys until they were three and self-weaned. but, every child is different and their needs fluctuate. i think that the push and pull is difficult no matter how many babies you have nursed, and for however long you have nursed them.

    and, tonight for the first time i got the sense that maybe my baby girl (ok toddler 🙂 was uncomfortable, too. we were sitting in my mama chair where she always falls asleep, computer in reach (in case i can steal some time to read up on the news and my favorite blogs :-), tea on my table, boppy in my lap, with my growing daughter snuggled around me. she nursed forever, wanted the “other side milky” then switched sides again and again, she was hot and sweaty, legs trying to stretch out then trying to snuggle mama. i was uncomfortable having nursed for so long and not able to get her to sleep in the way that i have always done. finally i asked do you want to lay down in our bed, maybe it is cooler? she nodded yes. it was cooler in bed, but i was still uncomfortable now having to nurse with my back all crooked and practically no milk left, or so it felt. i was getting her settled when she began to do some twists and turns and somersaults and then i just had to pull out for a break. i fell down on the bed in a heap of exhaustion, and to my surprise, so did she, then fell asleep. having had your blog post on my mind, and seeing her all stretched out like that, i realized she, too was uncomfortable.

    and so goes the push and pull. i am sure she will nurse all day tomorrow and tomorrow night. but, i have perspective that her needs are constantly changing and will continue to do so until she decides that she wants to sprawl out every night rather than have milky all snuggled up. having nursed for 6 years straight with my older boys, i know it can seem like it lasts forever, but then when it is gone, you enter a new phase.

    i appreciate that you shared your nursing story here and can completely relate. i think you are amazing for sharing all of your feelings about it and want you to know that you have helped even this been there nursing mama keep perspective and in touch with my own feelings, as well as my daughter’s.

    thank you.


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