Sunday, January 14, 2007

He's still my baby

I'm really savoring these days, as they might be the last days that Simon is my "baby." We're hoping to get pregnant this month. While Simon won't know immediately that he's no longer the "baby" in our family, I will, so I'm really enjoying Simon, age 2-1/3, as my sweet little one for a few more days.

Our breastfeeding relationship, which continues to be a huge part of how we relate to each other, is what I know will change the most. Nursing Anna during Simon's pregnancy was just short of torture for me, to the point that I vowed to never do it again. Once Simon was born, though, the tandem nursing of Anna and Simon together wasn't such a terrible thing and I am thankful for the benefits I reaped from that investment in Anna.

During each cycle, my luteal phase presents real difficulties for me in nursing Simon. After I ovulate, breastfeeding starts to get uncomfortable, progressing to downright painful and annoying as my period approaches. My experience of nursing through a pregnancy was basically that pre-period feeling for the duration of the pregnancy. I had many moments of resentment toward Anna, as well as many escapist techniques to help myself through the sensations that were so abrasive to me. Indeed, I found a way to get through the pregnancy and let Anna continue to nurse, but it was all for her. I did not cherish those nursing sessions one little bit. Sadly, Anna was younger than Simon is now when Simon arrived -- the majority of her 2nd year was spent with a declining milk supply and an often-frustrated mother.
Thankfully, after Simon was born, I started to like nursing Anna again, so my memory of our breastfeeding relationship will always be positive. Her weaning was timely; we were both ready to move on to new ways of interacting and relating to each other. She still seeks closeness with me, and I still make the time to sit and offer her individual affection and attention. I worry, though, that Simon might wean halfway through my next pregnancy, when the milk dries up. While this very fact is one reason I waited as long as I have to get pregnant again (Simon will be over 3 when this baby is born, whether we conceive this cycle or not), I am concerned that his last nursings might be accompanied by my impatience or visible discomfort.

Of course, it is just as likely that Simon will continue to enjoy his "un" through the birth of his younger sibling, and benefit from a second round of colostrum as Anna has.

Today, I'm savoring everything about Simon's babyhood: his intoxicating scent, how delighted he gets when he climbs into bed with me to nurse (he says "oh boy!" with so much excitement!), how he talks about nursing ("I drink this un now, this un in morning"), the way he searches for a part of my skin he can touch and pat while he's nursing.

I learned the hard way during Simon's pregnancy how detrimental it can be if I overlook the fact that the baby inside of me needs as much care as the ones on the outside, the ones who are already born. My intent to take good care of the baby inside might sometimes mean Simon gets the short end of the stick. If he doesn't night wean soon, we may have to encourage him to, so that I can get my sleep. His 45-minute nursing sessions, which happen a few times each week, won't really be practical anymore as my discomfort increases. Within a few months, I won't be able to sleep on my back anymore, which might upset Simon on the nights he wants to put his head on my chest. He won't accept anything else on those nights, and admonishes me "No sideways! I want to see un!" if I try to roll over before he's asleep and will let me move his head to the pillow beside me.

For a few more days, Simon will be my baby. He's been such a wonderful baby, and I know he will be a fabulous big brother when that time comes.

1 comment:

  1. that was sooo sweet. this is my first visit here but i noticed you haven't posted in a while. i'm wondering how things are going. are you pregnant?