Here’s a dirty little secret: I kind of hate breastfeeding sometimes. Well, maybe just a dirty little secret in the circles I run in.
Don’t get me wrong: I think that breastfeeding is one of the best things you can do for your child. I think that breastfeeding needs to be seen more as the norm and that more women need to breastfeed. I get really annoyed when I read articles online about how “breastfeeding killed my marriage.”
At the same time, I’m human. I do not always love to have a toddler clutching at my shirt with a sixth sense to grab the nipple in her tiny little talons and squeeze EVERY. SINGLE. TIME. I do not always love that I can’t get through a night of sleep because she can’t get through a night without needing to latch on at least once. (The elusive “sleeping through the night” HAS happened a couple of times, but we usually can’t escape the 4:30 a.m. waking.) I do not always love the fact that she has to switch sides AT LEAST A DOZEN TIMES before falling to sleep each night. And I definitely do not always love the fact that she hangs on to my nipple while she rolls over — yes, ROLLS OVER — and decides to look around the room or kick the wall repetitively.
I want to wean. I WANT to, but I won’t. She’s still not ready. The few times I’ve tried to just rock her to sleep to see how it goes — or to ask Chris to rock her to sleep — she launches into an all-out fit and thrashes around until I inevitably give her what she wants. Ditto if she wakes in the middle of the night and I try to pat her back to sleep. If I could wake up earlier enough, I could easily convince her to drop the morning feed. See above re: not being able to sleep very well about why early waking is not an option.
So we’re down to three nursing sessions a day, which is not the worst. Yet it’s still hard for all the reasons described above. Also, I’m some kind of hormonal freak, and even the slightest bad thing in my diet or lifestyle — sugar, stress, lack of sleep — throws my hormones all out of whack. We are trying to have a second baby, and I worry that continuing to nurse is impeding those efforts. Yeah, yeah, I know the party line: Breastfeeding shouldn’t impede fertility if you are no longer exclusively nursing. Well, that’s bullshit. Your prolactin levels rise during breastfeeding, and prolactin inhibits progesterone, which is a key hormone in conception. I’m pretty sure that my hypersensitive endocrine system is out of balance right now, and there’s no way I’m going to get pregnant until we wean. Ditto for losing these fucking 17 pounds I’ve gained since having Quinn. Yes, GAINED. So much for breastfeeding making you lose weight….
I’m not going to wean… yet. Ideally, I’d like her to be able to wean herself. But I’m going to see where we are at the end of the year and make a decision. If I’m still not pregnant and she seems like she’s in a place where she can be encouraged to wean, that’s what I’m going to do.