I have one son, who's 3 years old, and nurses day and night. I had thought he'd have slowed down by this age, but no. I'm fine with this, but:
DP and I have been thinking of having another baby. We were considering starting TTC next year, and then recently we were saying, Heck, why not right now? But I'm not sure if DS is ready for the weaning or the change in nursing that pregnancy might bring (whether due to discomfort on my part, or changes in milk taste or supply on his).
I have these visions of a possible future where DS tries to nurse and the milk is gone, and he's despondent. And I know it's just a possibility, but I feel really terrible in advance about that, and already regretful that we're weaning, even though we haven't yet, if that makes any sense.
My options are to put off TTC until I feel like both DS and I are more ready, or to go ahead and start even though I'm uncertain and trust we find our way during the process. DP is fine either way and understanding about the whole thing. I'm open to tandem nursing with a new baby, but it's the pregnancy part I'm not sure we'll be able to manage.
Can I do a little pros & cons thing to help elucidate?
Pros of TTC now
- I'm not getting any younger (mid-thirties).
- There's no guarantee DS would be "ready" in 2 months, or a year, or 2 years. Am I willing to wait indefinitely?
- Before DS, I had a m/c that threw off our TTC schedule by about 10 months. If I'm going to have any problems with conceiving or another m/c, it would be better to find out sooner rather than later (combined with the age thing).
- It would be fun to start TTC. This feels like a selfish reason, but not a bad one. It sounds exciting to DP & me to have another baby, and it hasn't sounded exciting in a long time. I feel like we should grab that feeling while we have it. Even DS is very interested in having a "brother or sister" right now and talks about it all the time.
Pros of waiting
- I'm not feeling frantic about my age, and we plan to have only one more child, so there's no immediate rush.
- DS gets a significant amount of calories from breastfeeding. His eating habits otherwise are fairly picky. Not unusually so for a 3-year-old, but of the carbs-and-fruit variety. If he weaned, I'd feel more pressure to be sure he was getting the food he needs.
- DS goes to preschool and gets mild illnesses frequently. All he'll do during his recuperation is breastfeed, and I know the antibodies help him recover. So in some ways, I feel like weaning him would take away both his food and his medicine! This seems like a bad decision to make.
- DS really, really, really loves nursing. It comforts him. He enjoys it a lot. He asks for it constantly. It's one of his favorite things. I feel mean even thinking of taking that away from him.
Is it better to do a gradual approach to this? Let him know in advance that the nummies are going to lose their milk but that that's OK, and it will come back when the baby comes? Will he be able to understand this, or will this just cause resentment for the younger sibling?
In some ways, I feel like it would be easier if he were younger, because at this age and as sensitive as he is, he almost certainly will be upset by the change, and he might even remember it as he gets older.
I'm wondering if we should read some children's books on weaning and talk over the whole idea with DS and wait until he seems open to the idea of a change in nursing before we start. But then I feel impatient and itchy to start TTC. I don't know!
Anyone else go through this with wisdom to share? I realize to anyone who doesn't nurse a toddler that it must sound like I'm making a big deal out of nothing, so I'm glad I can come here for some advice and support. Thank you!