I always knew that I would breastfeed my babies. My maternal grandmother did. My mother did, all my aunts did and even most of the women I was acquainted with as a young girl fed their babies in this way. I honestly didn’t know it wasn’t the norm until I met my in laws. While my mother-in-law nursed all her babies neither of my sisters-in-law did. When I asked them why they didn’t really know except, “I didn’t feel like it.”
So when my first baby was born premature and the doctors told me he didn’t have the sucking reflex to nurse yet I was heart broken, luckily the hospital I was at had a good lactation consultant who suggested a pump and having him latch on before bottle feeding him. For 7 weeks I pumped and Proeun fed the baby the milk I had pumped the time before. But by 7 weeks he was eating more then I could pump and we decided it was time to start nursing. He took to it quickly and then I began nursing on demand, but he already had a schedule in place from the bottle feeding.
When my 2nd came along I was worried about sibling rivalry so I decided to try tandem nursing. I did that for a year and had enough to know I wasn’t going to do that again. When my 2nd got over 1 year old we started having problems with thrush and I was glad when my milk dried up during the 3rd pregnancy and my 2nd lost interest.
My 3rd has always loved nursing. My husband said that he never saw babies that nursed more then my babies. I intended to nurse my 3rd until pregnant with my fourth. Now what I thought was a temporary problem is threatening to derail that plan. My baby has always nursed on demand and it has been a great bonding for the both of us. I love being able to comfort her in this way and honestly it is easy. But with more teeth coming in she has been more demanding on me then usual. First one nipple developed painful cracks. I nursed on the other most of the time to let the wounded one heal–praying the whole time that it would heal before the 2nd one was wounded as well. That didn’t happen. Now I have 2 nipples that are extremely painful and a baby that won’t fall asleep without nursing. Unfortunately even if she falls asleep that doesn’t mean she will stay asleep.
I honestly am completely at a loss. Last night I thought about calling Le Leche League but then thought how are they going to help me, they can’t magically heal nipples? To make matters worse since this is how I comforted Mavis in the past when she needs comforting she expects it now which is really really hard for me to do. I find it affecting my relationship with her since I don’t really want to be around her for fear that she will ask to nurse. I guess that is my anticonfrontational nature.
I have been praying for strength to get through this and trusting that the Lord will give me what I need to be a good parent. But each night as is gets close to bedtime I really dread it. Last night wasn’t so bad but I am by no means healed. I would hate to have this been the end of nursing my baby since mentally neither one of us are ready. I guess that is my answer, we are not ready so I just have to endure until then.