Friday, May 25, 2012

Weaning During Pregnancy

Oh how rough it has been nursing Rita!  Everything that I read assured me that the third trimester would be easier, but it has become exponentially harder.

So last Thursday night I threw in the towel.  I told Tyler that it wasn't worth it for both me and Rita to be miserable.  On Friday morning when my sweet little Rita climbed in bed and began signing for milk (as usual) I quickly offered to get her some yogurt.  I tried to use yogurt, her most favorite food next to cheese, as the "supplement" to nursing.  After Thursday, I did not consent to nursing her.  I couldn't take it anymore.  Since about six or eight weeks pregnant I have had this strange feeling of repulsion when she nurses, horrid pain that makes me want to remove my nursing anatomy among other strange and extremely strong emotions.  Never have I felt so primal before.  Of course, there have been stretches of time (3-5 days) where suddenly all is well, but it has most consistently been so very difficult.

On Tuesday night, we started our bedtime routine and Rita was in the crankiest mood and totally anti-sleep.  She would ask for Tyler if I was rocking her and vice versa.  She was begging to have books read to her.  When we would hold the book she would throw it on the floor or refuse to hear the story once we started reading - it was a torrent of emotions coming from a 20 pound toddler.  None of these behaviors were in her character.

As I rocked her in my lap she wailed and wailed, pushing herself away from lying on my chest.  It was then I realized why her nap schedule has gone out the window, why she is suddenly attached to the sippy-cup that most resembles a breast, among other "sudden" clingy behaviors.  I had forced Rita to wean because it hurt me and because it frustrated me and because it was hard for me.  Yes, I had considered her feelings, but ultimately I am an adult who is able to express myself in writing and speech.  Rita is able to sign and speaks well, but she is not able to have a conversation with me about why she feels like she should be able to keep nursing.  I can't explain to her that she is nursing too strongly.  I can't explain that my milk is gone but only temporarily.  I can tell her and yes she may understand some, but we can't openly communicate about whether to wean or not to wean.

So after talking it over with Tyler, amidst Rita's wailing, flipping, kicking and flailing, we decided to continue nursing.  Now I know the grass isn't greener on the other side.  Now I know even after five days of not nursing, my Rita still knows how to latch on.  

The same emotions and problems that have accompanied this pregnancy from the beginning are still there, but I'm willing to try again every day.  Making the sacrifice to nurse my sweet girl is a hard one, but I pray that I will be refined and molded into a better mother.

Have you nursed through pregnancy?  Did you experience the soreness, tenderness and extreme emotions?  Do you find yourself considering nursing through pregnancy as well as tandem nursing?  

Today's post makes the 100th post on jambalaya (formerly Cajun Newlyweds)!  


  1. Oh, the sacrifices we make for our babies! But I'm realizing that that's what motherhood is all about :)

    I definitely admire you for pushing through. I haven't breastfed yet, but being pregnant I can only imagine how emotional it can be. Sometimes I don't want to be touched, much less nurse a toddler.

    If you haven't read it already, The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding book has a section on tandem nursing

  2. Yes Jen - all about sacrifice/love and it = holiness!

    Thanks girl - it is probably one of the toughest decisions I've made.

    I haven't read that - is that terrible or what? I think I'll go request on my library card now. Thanks for this recommendation. :)

  3. Dear Sue, These are hard days and hard decisions. The beauty of the ideal may take back seat to actual particulars, like this baby, this breast, this emotion. I know that you will pray about these things and God will give you peace... but it is hard.

    I nursed through pregnancy and found that, for me, the rest it gave me was greater than the discomfort- physical and emotional. It was a bittersweet time- I treasured spending those last months and days with an only child.

    Nursing two can be a great challenge- Tyler may need to help as he can, taking Rita away for a bit, or helping you two or three get situated. Try to have a nursing station ready with a phone, kleenex, water, snacks, book, special toys, boppy, etc. It gets easier as the newborn gets less floppy and can manage his head a little. And remember, baby Jonah has never nursed and he may have his own troubles on top of everything. He may need time to figure things out too.

    It can be very sweet to give the two babies time to bond together in a real way at such a young age. A little communion between the two. Some mothers, however, resent the elder nursing and continue battle these negative emotions after the birth. If this is the case, it will be a time of further prayer and reflection.

    Keep in mind that it is (ideally) not good to introduce major changes into the older sibling's life either a month (or so) before or after the new baby comes. Changes like no more diapers, no more nursing, no more naps... etc. Having a new baby is a big enough change for a little person.

    You'll be in my prayers as God refines your heart and tests your ability. And yes, he will mold you from these experiences- no mater which decision you make or when you decide to wean, these waters of the love of motherhood are like baptism, where our selfishness and reserve die under the water and we rise in new life and holiness, like Jonah in the belly of the whale under the sea rising to preach the gospel.


So glad to hear from you! All conversation is welcomed, within good reason and kind intentions.