When Ivy turned one, I couldn't imagine weaning. The idea seemed a little crazy, actually. Despite feeling like I was saying good-bye to my (tiny, brand-new) baby when that first birthday rolled around, I couldn't imagine not nursing. At least, not for a good, long time.
Fast-forward seven months, and I am starting to lose my mind.
Since hitting that year-and-a-half mark and crossing into real, undeniable toddlerhood, Ivy has wanted to nurse all the time and for every imaginable reason. She will ask to nurse when she's hungry; her word for it right now is "mook," and sometimes "muck." (It started out as "mil" which I found more euphonious and almost didn't mind hearing on repeat, rapid-fire, dozens of times a day.) But she also wants to nurse when she's sad, hurt, angry, bored, tired, or happy, or when you've just announced that it's time to change diapers/get dressed/sit in her car seat. This last one is the worst. She had zero interest in nursing five seconds ago, but bring up clothes or transportation and she just has to have milk right now!
All of this, I felt like I could deal with. None of it was my favorite thing in the world, but I was able to shrug and tell myself, Well, she's getting bigger and more independent. It makes sense that Ivy would want to control her environment as much as possible, and a big part of that environment is nursing. But then illness, a growth spurt, the 18-month sleep regression, and insane, horror-movie teething (six teeth at once! gallons of drool! blood blisters!) all hit within a two-week period. Breastfeeding was the only thing that got us through moderately unscathed—but now here I am with an almost 20-month-old child who wants to spend long stretches of every day physically attached to my body.
What started out so sweet and cuddly and "how will I ever give this up?"-dreamy now leaves me feeling trapped and resentful. Especially when the pinching, scratching, hand-in-the-mouth, underarm-fat-twiddling (holy shit sonofabitch that hurts!), foot-to-the-throat nursing starts. I redirect her when she starts to hurt me, but she is persistent. And no matter how recently I cut her fingernails, they're always an inch long and razor sharp.
The one thing that keeps me going—and it really is just one thing, because I am so over this breastfeeding nonsense right now—is the certainty that when Ivy is 20, I will not wish I had held her less when she was a toddler.
Just because I hate breastfeeding right now doesn't mean I'm going to wean Ivy. She's not ready for that, and, if I'm honest with myself, I'm not either. Ivy is growing every day, and our relationship is changing with her. Breastfeeding is a reminder of our connection, easing that transition out of babyhood.