And yet here we are.
I did nightwean her out of desperation for some sleep a few months ago. That was hard, but we managed.
Then, I guess about a month ago, breastfeeding was suddenly too hard. And I mean suddenly. Its not painful, or draining. Its an aversion. Its like her suck changed overnight, and I could actually FEEL her sucking. That might sound weird but breastfeeding has never felt like that to me. And I can't STAND it! I dropped her feeds to one a day, and one to go to bed at night. That worked for a few weeks, but then it got worse. I stopped being able to handle breastfeeding at ALL. So I cut her back to one feed to go to sleep at night, and for a few weeks thats been OK. Some nights I can hang on until she's asleep, other nights I have to detach her after only a minute because I just can't grit my teeth through it.
Tonight she barely got 30 seconds.
It has been REALLY rough on Butterfly. She is such a booby monster! If she had her way she would feed every hour around the clock. At 2 years and 8 months old!
Its extremely hard to try to explain to her at night. She bursts into tears when I stop the feed, and tries desperately to convince me to keep going... "but my need Mummy milk cos my don't feel very well!" "but my is hungry!" "how bout we dust try one booboo?"
It breaks my heart.
People who don't breastfeed, or wean their infants, have no idea what I'm on about. "Well its about time anyway. She's probably gotten all of the nutrients she can out of it anyway!". Ummm... no. Breastmilk is as good for a child on the day they wean as the day they are born.
I feel like, despite my good intentions and my grand plans, my body has decided for me that enough is enough. In my mind I can recall nature documentaries where mother elephants start walking off on their offspring when its time to wean. So nature does not always let the child choose.
This makes me feel a little better, but I'm still very sad about it. I've put so much time and energy and effort into breastfeeding Butterfly for almost 3 years, I never wanted it to end like this! The tears and the grief on her part are difficult to deal with. All I can do is try to explain to her that I would feed her if I could and hope she understands. Something that has always been so bonding, relaxing and wonderful is suddenly causing misery. This sucks!
I've breastfed Butterfly through a c section recovery, with added cracked and bleeding nipples.
I've breastfed Butterfly through periods of intense hormonal feeding pain.
I've breastfed Butterfly through recovery for a life threatening ectopic pregnancy.
I've breastfed Butterfly through periods of hormonal aversion.
This is just... different. There's no curling my toes and suffering through it this time.
Its time to let go.
And I just might cry...