Around 6 weeks I started to feel very nauseous all the time. I had this with Lennon as well. Except with Lennon I was able to sleep off a lot of the discomfort and casually nibble all day, preserving my energy. This time, I had a toddler with a veracious appetite and total love for my milk constantly sucking at me. Moving from one country to another didn't help with her sense of discomfort and she knew that I was changing as well, therefore she was demanding and needing loads more time at the breast than we had been doing for months. Timing couldn't have seemed more against me. The most difficult part during the nausea was making it through the night. I had possibly eaten and kept down enough food throughout the day to feel at least settled before bed, but then all night long she wanted to nurse. I would wake at 4am starving and gagging on pure hunger. The two of them had drained me through the night.
Eventually, we moved into our new home and were able to move Lennon into her own bed, which she still thinks is silly. My nausea slowed down and things seemed to be getting a little easier. The nursing, of course, was still going on full force day and night. But I felt better that we were working towards getting her to sleep through the night without nursing. Like everything child related, we managed to get her sleeping well just in time to travel back to Canada and completely disrupt any sense of routine we had worked towards for the last 6 weeks. She was reborn as an all night nurser in just 4 nights in bed with me.
For the last week we have been trying a new sleep plan of changing her nursing association. Lennon pretty much thinks that she needs to nurse to be able to sleep. A big part of this comes from her long running love of nursing lying in bed with me. Who wouldn't fall asleep like this? The problem is that I know another little person who will want to do this constantly too. And then what? I fear I will lay in bed awake, flipping from side to side trying to get these two little boobie monsters to sleep for any decent amount of time. So we are trying to teach Lennon that we nurse in chairs, or on the couch, or standing up, or on the floor, but that we are no longer nursing lying down in bed. She still falls asleep in my arms, but I make the decision either catch her before she is asleep and place her down to sleep, or by allowing her to subtly awaken as I place her in her bed, aware that she is not sleeping firmly pressed into mama's body. This has been slow and agonizing as I expected it to be but I have hope that in a couple of months we will see some positive change, and that is better than nothing.
There are still these moments, at 20 weeks pregnant, that I feel I have to wean her. I just can't take the grabbing, and screaming, and stuffing of hands down my top and general assumption that they are all hers for the taking all the time. Once my frustration wears down and typically I get a bit of food in my belly and think more clearly, I realize just what breastfeeding means to Lennon. It is her safety, her food, her quiet space, and her recharge. It is in essence everything she needs to survive. The rest of what she has could come or go and she would be fine but she will fight for her need to breastfeed because still, at 23 months, it is a survival tactic. It could be years before this fades away and she becomes an independent version of herself. Forcing her to stop could be harmful to her sense of security and independence. She should want it for herself as much as I want it for her.
I always said that I would nurse Lennon as long as the relationship worked for both of us. I am beginning to realize that isn't quite true. If it were, I would have probably stopped nursing her in the first four months, easily the most difficult time in our breastfeeding journey. I said many times to James that I hated breastfeeding. I hadn't yet learnt the joy in it. Yet I found myself persevering because I knew that even if I didn't think I could do it, I could, and most importantly, my child needed it. She needed me to accept the things I could not change and work had to change the things I could. I am her mother and she is not a challenge for me to overcome but a person I must accept. At 23 months, we are working hard to establish boundaries so that we can both happily continue to breastfeed. For now though, we are still breastfeeding and knowing that this may be the most difficult chunk of our relationship yet, but I wasn't raised to be a quitter and I won't raise my daughter to be one either. We strive hard for balance in all aspects and sometimes the balance comes from releasing your ego and non-serving emotions and surrendering to the present and how amazing it is.