Yep, we’re still nursing. I’m sure that’s not terribly surprising. When the twins were itty bitty, I did mention to my bestie that I was worried that the boys would never be comfort nursers since they have to share…and that they might break my heart and wean themselves really young, therefore making it so that my last babies wean before I’m ready.
I have heard many a tale of mothers hanging onto their nursing days, and not wanting them to end. While I’m firmly in that camp, I also do sometimes wistfully look forward to the days when my arms are a little more empty.
These days nursing is a full contact sport. I desperately try to distract the boys so that we do not all nurse at the same time. It still does happen a couple of times a day though. Usually once before nap, and once around bedtime. The rest of the day I nurse on demand, but only one boy at a time. It’s still a lot of nursing. I doubt I could even count the number of times we nurse, and it doesn’t really matter anyway.
The boys are full on toddlers now. Or they will be on the second (we only count them as toddlers when they hit 18 months)…so I guess I’m writing this a tiny bit prematurely ;).
Nursing at night is down to one or two times each…I barely notice the night waking these days. I feel pretty darn rested most mornings. And the memory of sleep deprivation is still fresh enough that I appreciate my rested state so very much.
The boys are learning all about nursing manners. They are learning not to try to stand on my lap while nursing, and not to try to pinch or slap or hit me…or each other. It’s working okay. My method for teaching nursing manners is not perfect, but I’ve found through trial and error with Granger and Finn that the best way to work on it with them is to make hitting boring. It’s tempting to make a big deal out of it and be very animated or firm, but my boys just think that being extra animated or firm is a game.
They respond best when I calmly say that I don’t want to be hit and then block the arm that’s trying to hit me. It gets really boring for them after a couple of minutes, if I just hold my hand across their arm and stop them from hitting me. Step two, is to be really animated when they start doing what I wanted them to do, complimenting them on how soft they’re touching me and how much I like that. Your mileage may vary…I’m sure it depends on the personality of the kiddo.
Breastfeeding is so much more than food. It is a relationship, and every nursling is different, and every nursing relationship is different. This is definitely the case even though I have two nursing relationships going on at once. When Grace was an older baby I had a series of plugged ducts, and then I became pregnant with Ava and breastfeeding was still so important to Grace that we breastfed all through the pregnancy and then tandem nursed. That experience of tandem nursing was so different than this one. Having two children at the same developmental stage who have the same level of need for breastfeeding poses an interesting dynamic.
Granger continues to be about half a pound heavier than Finn, and I’ve always considered him more of a comfort nurser. He has always taken his time at feedings and lingered. He also learned how to make milk come out faster at a very young age and would gently squeeze (or what we in the lactation profession call doing breast compressions). He would even sometimes do breast compressions on the breast that his brother was nursing.
Granger has always had a way of snuggling up in my arms that feels like he just fits there. He can curl his body into mine so that we just snuggly nestle together. And yet, he is the one to be most likely to just chill out at a play date. He will slowly wander from toy to toy, hardly checking in with me. Hardly worrying about where I am or even thinking about my proximity to him. He is not particularly affectionate. He doesn’t often give kisses. When I hold him when we’re not nursing, he tends to just sit on my hip looking around, he doesn’t tend to snuggle in. I take this to mean that he gets most of the comfort that he needs from nursing.
Finn from the very beginning would arch when I tried to nurse him. We’ve always struggled with finding a comfortable position together. We got it all figured out, but he was much more of an all business nurser than Granger was in the beginning. He would tend to nurse until he was full or close to full and then be all done. He seems to need constant motion as well, and so he is constantly exploring with his hands and tends to do more pinching, or trying to twiddle the other nipple (that is maddening). He seems to get antsy in my lap nursing and either he or I will cut the feedings a bit shorter…although I do feel like I nurse him more often…but I couldn’t swear by it since I do not keep any kind of record about when either boy nurses.
Interestingly enough, Finn is highly affectionate. Not only does he like giving kisses if I ask him to, he will initiate hugs. And often if I’m carrying him around, he will hug me around the neck and grin. He will nuzzle his face into mine or into my neck. At playdates, Finn checks in quite often. He needs to know where I am, and he stays pretty close….unless he sees me behind him watching. Then he will put his head down and run away as fast as he can and laugh and laugh.
Nursing a toddler (or two) is a completely different ball game than nursing a babe, but I feel great about what we’re doing.