A Breastfeeding Confession

As a breastfeeding advocate and future IBCLC, I have a surprising confession:

I don't like breastfeeding right now.

My 15 month old is getting his molars. His latch is painful and he flips out anytime I try to adjust. He's fussy and nursing around the clock.  I feel like I have a newborn all over again. He bangs on my chest or head butts me when he wants milk. I'm touched out.

Something that is not said much is that breastfeeding isn't always perfect, fun, or even enjoyable. The breastfeeding relationship is just that, a relationship. As with a marriage, partnership, or friendship, there will be peaks and valleys. There is give and take, even if it seems like it's mostly me giving for the past few weeks. And just as with other types of relationships, it will get better.

I am working on setting boundaries with him: I show him the milk sign (which he knows, but I suspect he forgets) and remind him of gentle hands. If he nurses more than twice in an hour during the day, I offer him a snack or water instead of my milk.

I suppose I could wean him, but I don't want to. He's still getting so many nutrients and immunological benefits from my milk. He's still learning and growing. So much is changing for him and it seems to be happening very quickly.  I'm glad to still be a source of comfort and to be able to comfort him with by nursing him.

So for now, I will try to remind myself that we are likely in the twilight of our nursing relationship. I will take a deep breath and remind myself that this too shall pass. I will trace his eyebrows and stroke his cheeks, memorize his eyelashes and dimpled fingers. I will try to enjoy him, but not force myself to enjoy the moment. Right now I don't like breastfeeding, and that's okay.