The Toddler is demanding 'meemee', again. I'm trying to ignore it having calmly told him several times that he can have a cuddle/snack/bmw/vodka/pony instead, however he's now venomously shouting it in my face, you know, just in case I'm deaf as well as stubborn.'Meemee' is his obscure yet quaint self named word for boobs, which I suppose is somewhat more tolerable in public than Thing Two's screams for 'BOOBIES' though not as humorous. Obviously Thing Two doesn't do that now, what with her being seven and having weaned at 2y9m. The Toddler is 41.5 months old now and would still breastfeed 24/7 if access was allowed. There's so much that is misunderstood about extended breastfeeding. On an average day he will feed in bed upon waking (yes we still co-sleep too, such a shame I can't weave...what with my abundance of lentils) for up to an hour depending on the time and how long I'm attempting to delay getting out of bed. He'll then mostly be distracted when asking during the day with offers of snacks instead, or his favourate....icepops. Sometimes in the afternoon we'll have a long snuggle on the sofa and he'll feed then it's again at bedtime. He's been frightfully close to night weaning several times now with us agreeing before bed on no meemee's during the night, only cuddles. Often this will work. If he demands I persist with the 'no' yet should his anger turn to distress, I give in. It's not that I'm a soft touch it's just I have to consider the rest of the household who're trying to sleep and the fact that regardless of why, if he needs the security of a sleepy feed rather than simply wanting it, it's my job as a mother to meet that need. Besides, sometimes it really is anything for a quiet life. Generally he's quite good at the count to five rule and at most it's down to 1-2 night feeds at most. Although I'll readily admit at times the idea of night weaning the little sleep assassin is awfully tempting yet the fact remains, he's simply not ready and I respect that. It's not just about the physical nutrition, it's the emotional nutrition too. When they are ready, it's relatively effortless and trauma free. That's how I want it to be, that's how weaning should be.
Until recently he's had a good run at night, then he became ill, again. It all goes back to the start when he's ill as he reverts to feeding constantly once more. The milkbar becomes open all hours. However, as any parent will know it's awful seeing your child suffer and feeling so helpless being unable to alleviate their pain and misery. One thing I can do is let him nurse on demand at these times. It gives him the comfort he craves, keeps up his fluid levels and helps his immune system. For you see, when The Toddler gets ill, he gets really ill. He caught Thing Twos cough and cold, it sounds average enough yet whenever he gets ill like that, he goes downhill...quickly. The year before last he must have had about 4 or 5 trips to A&E with a need for nebuliser and steroids. Ghastly, frightening times. So it's a blessing to keep him close, even if it means staying awake throughout the night in a state of torment and paranoia, attempting to administer ventolin without him waking whilst constantly counting his breaths per minute just waiting for that moment when you know he has to be seen by a doctor. It's like being on a knife edge not knowing whether he'll perk up or slip quickly downhill. Thankfully this time, he turned a corner and started to perk up with just ventolin and plenty of breastfeeds. I genuinely dread to think how we'd cope if he wasn't sleeping right next to me. However, it does mean we're back to square one again, with the night feeds, again. Yet as I lie in the still of the night I learn to cherish these moments, because they won't last forever. He needs this, he needs me. I am his. I couldn't withhold something he evidently needs from me even if my life depended on it.
Did I think I'd still be breastfeeding him at 3.5? No. Do I love it? rarely. Do I hate it? sometimes (especially when the painters are in) Time is ticking, maybe once he turns four if he hasn't self weaned I may give weaning a gentle push.
However often it feels like history is repeating as just like with Thing Two sometimes I'll say no and he won't accept it, the anger turns to distress and I give in which in turn makes the initial no seem pointless. It's like I made him cry, for nothing. Still sometimes, it's good to separate want from need and act accordingly.
Am I looking forward to the eventual weaning? Absolutely! Will I miss it? Undeniably (sometimes!)