i feel your pain mama.
my nursling turned three in april and at around the 2.5 mark i thought there was no way i could continue. i learned so much from the wise mamas here.
#1. when you are feeling touched out drink TONS of water. i knew you had to drink like a fish (well, not that fish..) while nursing but i had no idea that it could be so effective for keeping me sane. it doesn't feel good to be the stone someone is trying to get water from. maybe it's just a placebo - but there is such a thing as a placebo effect, right?.
#2. when you have an almost three year old who nurses around the clock (like ours - the every hour kind. every half hour kind.) you can say no. or, you can go bonkers. i so hear you on the pool nursing. my dd's famous for massaging the bench at the playground and muttering, "this looks like a lovely place to just nurse and nurse and nurse...". it took me awhile to get used to saying no after nursing whenever wherever for three years. we had a long talk about how i have to be in a pleasant mood and i have to have eaten and i have to have a big glass of water for my body to make milk. it's still a struggle occasionally, but i remind her every day that she needs both kinds of energy, from food that we eat and from mamas milk. (i say both so that she doesn't feel like i'm replacing nursing with food.) i've also been totally honest with her that i love nursing her, and i have since the moment she "popped out", but... i need breaks in between nursings. i have to be all uber cheerleadery but it actually started working when i say, "good job, baby, i can't wait to nurse you again before bedtime." and, i mean, it's kiiinnndaaa true. i try to say good job and thank her every time, so we end on a positive note. "let's save some milk until we get home. i'd prefer that. then we can get really comfortable and relax on the green chair/porch swing (don't actually have one but it sounds nice)/bunk bed..." works sometimes too. i nurse in public all the time, but when i'm tapped that one can buy me an hour or two.
#3. when she wants to nurse immediately after she has just finished nursing (isn't it so 'nice' to know you're not alone) i pull out my two seconds on each side card and then (and this is key...) i play that card. day time or nightime. i don't think we'd still be a nursing pair without it.
#4. i remember reading about a mama who said her dp was watching her resentfully nursing her son and he said to her, "don't nurse him if it's going to be like that". don't get me wrong, i have my moments, but it changed my life. i want her to have my milk but i don't want her to have to sort through my negativity to find goodness and health and beauty in nursing. so i try to be thankful for every sweet moment and pretend it's the last time i'll ever nurse her, this child, even though you can bet your bottom dollar she'll ask again in two hours, if not sooner.
#5. babyswap time with another mama. you get time alone and when you have both (or three) kids (maybe) yours will nurse less. it has worked wonders for me often, and sometimes it has backfired horribly.
#6. once there was a day when my nursling nursed twice. my super needy constant crazy nursling nursed two times. it will happen. her needs are actually evolving. nursing is still huge and mostly constant, but she's shifting away from me. not me. it. this. crazy. amazing. draining. miraculous. lucious. exausting. thing.
that can be so incredibly hard.
and so incredibly gorgeous.
and i can't believe i just wrote this novel and she hasn't woken up.
good luck mama.