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Nursing aversion

It can make you feel like a bad mum, but its more common than you think

My experience with nursing aversion

I was pregnant. With my second. My son was still nursing. I had images in my mind of being like superwoman, breastfeeding through pregnancy and then continuing with both children until my son was ready to wean on his own. But alas, this was not the case. I remember every night in the last trimester of pregnancy holding my son in bed, gritting my teeth and allowing him to nurse, hating every minute. I didn't know what else to do. I had tried the 'cold turkey' approach and this was not for me.

My feelings of anxiety were outweighed by my feelings of guilt when seeing my sons distraught face when I tried to tell him "no". I decided that pregnancy was just sending my hormones wild, and once baby was here, all would be fine and I could go back to my original ideology.

A few months later, my daughter arrived. I remember it all like it was only yesterday. The first day we arrived back from hospital, I was so excited to see my son. He looked so grown up compared to our newborn and his little face was a mixture of both excitement and anxiousness whilst gazing at his new sister. He wanted to cuddle her, hold her hand, stroke her face, touch her hair. He was so gentle and beautiful in his manner towards her and my heart exploded. When he met her for the first time, she was in her moses basket (I think the only time she ever actually used it!), but then she woke and started to cry, she needed feeding. This was the moment I had been anxious about. She latched on, and of course my son wanted to as well. Ok, this isn't so bad? I remember thinking. But the one thing that really struck out in my mind was how big his head was by way of comparison. My daughter fell asleep but my son wanted to continue nursing.

After a week or so, it came to a point where he wanted to feed far more than my newborn. My nights were spent alternating between my newborn and my two year old and I was exhausted. My feelings of anxiety started to manifest again, and I became resentful. I wasn't resentful of feeding my daughter, but I was resentful of the fact that my son was insistent upon feeding all the time. It started to affect our relationship. He would throw such serious tantrums if I tried to feed my daughter and wouldn't allow him to latch on. He had never thrown a single tantrum before in his life. Not one. The jealousy was bubbling up inside of him, and I knew it. It hurt me so much to know that he was hurting, but breastfeeding him was destroying our relationship. I never imagined it coming to this, we had always been so close. No one else would ever do in any situation, but suddenly he was seeking comfort in other ways from daddy and granny, and only using me for constant nursing.

I found this hard and there were moments where I feared that our connection would never be what it was.

My mother is one of the biggest inspirations in my life. She inspired my attachment parenting lifestyle and was a huge support on my breastfeeding journey. She said something that stuck with me and I even have to remind myself in other situations to date, "you are the adult, he is the child. Right now he needs you, more than you realise. He is feeding now because that is his way of coming to terms with his new sister and dealing with his emotions". And that was that. She was right. I suddenly felt very selfish BUT it did not change how I felt. I started to become focused on my weaning techniques. Asking him for a hug instead of nursing, putting time limits on his nursing and diversion tactics. It took several months after she was born, I am unsure of exact timescales but eventually he had his last feed. I look back now, full of sadness to think that after such a wonderful breastfeeding journey with him that it ended like this, but the feelings of guilt have passed. He is my pride and joy, my special firstborn and the one who taught me so much about motherhood, attachment parenting and breastfeeding, and for that, I owe him everything.

Now we still co sleep, I often still carry him in a carrier and he lies with us and holds my daughters hand whilst she feeds. Our bond was not affected.

Feelings of aversion to breastfeeding do not make you a bad parent. And they are more common than you think. Don't be afraid to discuss it. Holding it all in was the worst thing I could do.



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