I have a 3 year old who is still an active and very attached nurser no where near ready to give it up. I am very comfortable nursing her. My husband and I are both very happy to meet our daughter's needs to the best of our ability to include nursing - at this point in her life still an integral part of her well-being. Whether she is tired, sick, upset, overwhelmed, or just wants to snuggle, nursing has always been her safe and cozy place, a place where she feels connected and can recharge. Now that she is three however we are debating the timing of a second child and this leads me to many, many questions and I worry about what the effects may be on my daughter.
I have done some reading on the subject and am aware that my milk supply may diminish, breastfeeding may become painful and uncomfortable, and that tandem nursing, even with the best of intentions, is not always easy. I know my husband and I theoretically are ready to have another but I am not sure how that decision may affect her. My questions regarding this subject are:
How did you know you were ready for another despite your still dependent and frequently nursing toddler? How did becoming pregnant while nursing affect your relationship with you nursling? How did your nursling handle the changes? I know she will adjust to whatever the future holds and that children are more resilient than what we sometimes think, especially if we make an effort at explaining transitions as they arise, but I wonder whether now is the right time or whether it is better to wait until we see a clear sign of her not depending on the nursing as much, whenever that may be. Any advice would be much appreciated :)
I found myself pregnant when DD was 14 months, so totally not ready to be done nursing. she didn't care about my supply drying up, she just kept on nursing. it was uncomfortable nursing while I was pregnant, but DD has a tongue tie that was never clipped, so nursing was never comfortable. nursing through pregnancy and tandem nursing aren't easy, but for some it' s worth the difficulty, and I don't regret choosing to (except on bad days). and if you wait until your older child has child-led-weaned, your kids may be pretty far apart in age.
part-time and through infancy. planning a
Thanks for your comment. I do worry about the spacing between siblings and think that 4 years is what would be ideal for our family. I also know that the majority of kids end up weaning between 3 and 4 so I guess if she was to wean herself during the pregnancy, even if she wouldn't chose that route without me being pregnant, it will be ok. I think I worry too much ... It's great to hear that all went well for you. Of course there will be good days and bad but taking one day at a time is the way to go, I guess. I have no way of knowing how she will react so I think we'll just go for it and deal with any problems along the way. Thanks for your reassuring reply :)
My children are 3+ years and 9 months and we tandem nursed until a few days ago.
How did you know you were ready for another despite your still dependent and frequently nursing toddler?
I knew I didn't want too big of an age difference. Also, my husband was born in 1959, so we didn't really feel we could afford to wait too much longer. I figured that as long as I was committed to nursing through pregnancy and CLWing that it would work out ok and that even if my milk went away and/or she self-weaned because of that she had had more than two full years of breastfeeding.
How did becoming pregnant while nursing affect your relationship with you nursling?
Pregnancy actually didn't affect our relationship very much at all. I did start to give her cows milk for the first time when my supply decreased. And I night weaned her to cope with 1st trimester nausea, but I had been trying to do that for months; pregnancy made it easier.
Once her sister was actually born, however, she was no longer always my first priority. Suddenly her desires (and less often her needs) couldn't be met instantly if they conflicted with her sister's needs... but this would have been true even if she hadn't still been breastfeeding. The one bf-ing related issue though was that I started placing limits on nursing during the daytime because she wanted to nurse MORE than the baby and I couldn't BF that much and maintain my sanity.
How did your nursling handle the changes?
With a lot of tantrums and infantile behavior :) Her sister is 9 months old now and she just weaned (with help) and seems to be ok with it. She became much happier when I started putting consistent limits on her nursing. She also really enjoys her sister, way more than I expected her to when I became pregnant. She plays with her constantly and begs for me to have a 3rd child (not happening). She's honestly had more trouble dealing with the fact that babies need naps more than her sister's bf-ing. We also had some nice moments early on when I still nursed them at the same time.
Tandem nursing can be hard, but it's definitely doable.
Thanks so much for the feedback. Much appreciated! I guess there is no way to know how all the changes with effect my little one but the one thing I do know is that I would love to have another little one, another little person to love, a sibling for my daughter. Any challenges we may face along the way can be worked out and thinking big picture it will be worth it. :) Thanks!
hi lil-ladybug...you already have gotten some really good feedback, but I just wanted to let you know that if you find yourself nursing while pregnant, you will know when it is time to wean...I have nursed during pregnancy twice, but both times, I just knew when it was time to wean...and both of my kids that were weaned were about 2.5 yrs old and had no plans to wean, but as the pregnancy progressed, I just could not do it...I tried to replace the nursing with more time with Dad and reading books...it was tough for about a week...at first I felt a bit guilty, but everything worked out fine. I can tell you are a loving mother, and 3 or 4 years apart is good spacing for many ...so I hope it all works out whatever you decide.