Monday, August 25, 2003

Some Thoughts on Extended Nursing from a Pregnant Mama

Some Thoughts on Extended Nursing from a Pregnant Mama
Stacey Greenberg

I recently had lunch with a friend who is newly pregnant. I have a one year old and am 12 weeks pregnant. I love talking about pregnancy and birth so I was really excited to see my friend and talk to her about her journey into motherhood. I felt like an old pro giving her advice, answering questions, and calming her fears. When I casually mentioned that I was still nursing Satchel, her eyes popped open, her jaw dropped, and she said, “Can you do that?” I burst out laughing and she clarified, “I mean, I thought you couldn’t get pregnant if you were nursing.” (I explained that nursing can delay the return of your moon cycle, but that once it is back, you are officially fertile.)

One day I was gazing at my son as he nursed, thinking to myself how beautiful and perfect he was and how I loved nursing and never wanted to stop. (Well, not never, but I knew that extended nursing was the way to go.) The next day, inexplicably, my son started biting me at every nursing session. A few days later, I realized I was pregnant. My nipples were incredibly sensitive and the biting was sending me over the edge. I polled other mamas and tried every trick in the secret mama book, but I couldn’t get the biting to stop. I really didn’t want to wean Satchel, but I was in pain, and nursing was anything but enjoyable. I decided to ride it out, and he did eventually stop biting. The soreness has gotten a little better, and I’m glad that I didn’t give up when the going got rough. I can honestly say that nursing is enjoyable again. I can’t imagine stopping now.

A lot of people ask me if I am going to wean Satchel since I am pregnant. I don’t know if it is laziness, fear, or just a gut feeling, but I don’t have any plans to wean him. I’m having a hard time imagining myself tandem nursing, but I am certainly willing to give it a try. Satchel still really enjoys nursing, and he lets me know very clearly when he wants to nurse. I can’t say no. I don’t want to. I do have moments of wishing he would just lose interest, but I’m not actively going to stop him from nursing. A lot of people speculate that he will wean himself when my milk changes near the third trimester. Maybe he will, maybe he won’t. Either way is fine with me. Well the blissful, not yet showing, 12 week pregnant me, anyway*!

(This essay was originally written for “Wrinkle.”)

*I had a miscarriage at 15 weeks, so I don’t know if the third trimester theory is true, but Satchel and I are still happily nursing.

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