“Suntines I feel sad. Den I get mulkie. Den I feel better!”
“I yike to have dis mulkies and den dat mulkies!”
“I yike the taste of da mulkies….”
These are my daughter’s loving words about how much nursing means to her. I get this. I want, with all my heart, to meet this genuine and deep need she has.
From the moment of latch, despite all my desires, it takes the effort of labor to keep myself from unlatching her at the least and throwing her off me (in my mind’s image) at my worst.
For the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Code Name: Mama and Aha! Parenting, I shared how a nursing necklace from Wild Mother Arts was giving my toddler something to focus on. This led to less wiggling, something that agitated my aversion. The relief I felt from this allowed me to keep searching for more relief.
I needed to keep looking for a solution because my aversion was affecting my mothering.
It doesn’t matter how many times I am gentle and kind and loving, even when setting limits. When I can’t nurse her in that way, she feels it. And it does not feel good. To anyone.
I want to make positive nursing memories that I can remember.
I needed to change, and I had been trying for a while. I realized that I could use the same strength and wisdom I found inside when I gave birth to my children. I was breathing and trying to stay positive. I still could not nurse my daughter lovingly.
Someone said assuredly, “Well, you have positive memories from when she was young at least.” If I am being honest, I cannot remember those positive moments. I can see them in my mind, but when I try to feel those feelings, I can only feel the hard feelings I have now. This wraps the whole experience in sadness for me.
That very next time I nursed her, I tried the suggested visualization. It. Was. Difficult. Letting myself truly feel those feelings. To hold compassionately this negativity I’d been trying so hard for so long to drive away.
The next day, I continued to try. Every single session. It was a plodding process but not without results.
I began to notice over the course of the day these little things, that felt big to me.
I didn’t feel negative. At all. I had no aversion. The entire day.
She didn’t hit her brother once. She was loving and kind and caring and respectful. The entire day.
Negativity while nursing and when she acted out her feelings using her brother were the two areas that I continually felt beating down on me.
The whole day I felt love and even, at moments, joy with my daughter. I tried to notice all the little details of our time nursing together. I formed my first positive memories after my daughter relearned to nurse after weaning during pregnancy.
Since then, I have had little to no aversion each time I nurse. Before I would have it all the time and horribly sometimes. I want to keep up with what I have found to work — the necklace, water, sleep, food, conscious focus and relaxation, limits.
I even figured out a new little something that first day of the awareness exercise. My daughter had been latched for two or three minutes when I could feel my agitation growing. I unlatched her, even though I could see her need at the moment. She began to become upset, but I asked her for a minute break. She went along with that pretty easily (shocker!).
I was able to nurse her for a long time that session. I think the breaks help me feel that there is an end, and that I can have a break from that when I need to and continue when I can.
I know now that I’m facing weaning. She’s 2.5 years old. She’s moving away from me. I feel grateful to have found a resource that helps me cherish these final stages of our nursing relationship and wean my daughter gently, lovingly, with care and respect.
Through this labor of love, I am moving towards birthing joy and connection by nursing my daughter.
[Thanks, CodeNameMama, for your unwavering support of breastfeeding at all all ages and stages. Still have discount on all items from Wild Mother Arts (including nursing necklaces!) for sharing about your breastfeeding experience(s) through A Living Family Breastfeeding Survey.]