When I started working last year and even up to this day I started to go back to my usual blogging routine, Claud has been nursing nonstop when ever she could get a hold of me. I often mention to my husband how I notice this pattern . "She nurses like a newborn!", I said in dismay since there are so many things that I still need to do when I get home.
I really thought that breastfeeding would become easier after she reached one year. Most blogs and books I've read and even lactation experts tell me that I shouldn't feel the same pressure to breastfeed as I was when I was Claud's main source of nutrition. After all, she is eating enough solids and a variety of dishes at that. She's not losing weight and active as expected.. But things well, their no different.
"I think we should consider giving her formula."
These words came out of my mouth one morning when Claud refused to let me go (by that I mean, my breasts). She would cry and tears would stream down her face, refusing my pumped milk when offered. She only wants one thing (well, two, actually). My breasts. I was a putty upon seeing the pitiful face with cute puppy-dog eyes. So resigned to the fact that my third day to work, I was late.
I know, I know. I read them all, too. These signs should not make me want to quit breastfeeding... or quit working either. There are a number of ways I can train Claud to only feed at certain times a day specially when my milk is no longer her primary nutritional source.
A big part of me don't want to admit that Claud nurses incessantly when I'm home is because she misses me. I've read time and time again that breastfeeding provides a form of communication between the mother and child. Angela Gabre's article in The Stranger further states this point. And I quote, "breast milk is a private conversation between mother and child. While my daughter lacks words, breast-feeding makes it possible for her to tell me exactly what she needs. The messages we are sending each other are literally made of ourselves, and they tell us about what is going on in our lives at that very moment."
I cried reading this article because it brought me back to the day I decided that all she will have is my milk armed with all the knowledge and support that I gathered before and after giving birth. I'm lucky because there weren't many struggles in my path during our first year of nursing. I cried because I felt ashamed for even thinking my daughter deserves less than the milk that was designed for her. I cried because I am not sorry for being a working mom. I sincerely believe God provided me with a potential to earn extra income and still be able to breastfeed Claud until she weans herself.
Conflicting crazy emotions that has got me riled up that past weeks. Do I really give up? After all the things I have conquered the past years of challenges and this seem far less of struggle. But a struggle nonetheless! And to give up after what I've conquered and the fact that anytime Claud could decide she doesn't need me and I have no choice but to let go.
Nursing a Toddler has its share of difficulties. When your child starts to form a personality and starts to assert herself, you are left with no course but to start the discipline process. It's so hard because they can be really good at twisting you around their fingers.
So what have I been doing to cope? Here are a few things.
1. Feed Solid Food Frequently
At 1 year and half to 2 years, the picky eater starts to come out and so I do mutiple feeding schedules. Whenever she would express her desire to nurse, I would offer a snack or a treat. This allows me an hour to work.
2. TRY and TRY harder to set them on a nursing schedule
This is difficult. Their big brown eyes are our downfall and they are pretty strong and pushy if they really want to feed. Stand firm and offer only your breasts at times most convenient for both of you. Mine is morning after breakfast, before morning nap, after lunch and evenings before bedtime.
At 1 year, our children can already understand what we say. This is also a difficult part because they will insist on breastfeeding. They pull off your shirt, climb on you and really get to it. Stand firm and talk to them over and over again. Communication is now not limited only through your breasts. Speak slowly, firm and tell them why they can't nurse. Should you promise anything, follow through with that promise. I can't stress enough that you have to be firm, not necessarily shout at them.
4. To Discipline Begins Now
All the above mentioned boils down to start teach your child. To discipline them that they can't always get their way. Denying your breasts doesn't make you a bad mother. It only means that they must follow the rules as it is for their own good.
4. Be Patient
Minsan lang sila bata is definitely a valid excuse for you to give in. Enjoy the moment and make the most out of it.
Claud is now 1 year and 10 months. She's still nursing like a 3 month old. She's got the strongest personality and she can really push me around. Slowly, we are both learning from each other and as much as she asserts herself, I let her know that mommy will always be the last say. It's a hard process. There isn't a lot of literatures out there to guide to breastfeeding toddlers. We are the few ones who have this kind of struggle in our nursing journey. That alone, we should consider ourselves blessed.
Most of the advice I'm giving out are from Breastfeeding Pinays Facebook Group. But before sharing them to you, I want to test them out first and so far they are working. It's a process so it's not going to happen overnight. Expect lots and lots of tars and conflicting emotions. Be ready to cry and feel helpless. Don't worry. You're not alone in this journey. If you're experiencing the same and this post is not enough for you, feel free to message ,e and let's talk about your situation. I will try my best to help you figure this out and not give up!