When breastfeeding feels like being pecked to death by a pigeon

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My morning began like this:

6:22
The two year old snuggled next to me has been nursing for at least the last 20 minutes. She dozes off and I lay claim to what is naturally mine and swiftly pull my shirt back over my boob. Breathe a sigh of relief, because quite honestly, THIS SHIT IS GETTING OLD.

6:24
Kick, flop, thrash
“ONE MORE MINUTE, MAMA!”
“I thought you were sleeping. No more. It’s all gone.”
“It NOT ALL GONE!”

SLAP. Square. In. The. Face.

Now the question of how to properly discipline a two year old is a tough one to answer even in the light of day. This before we even get out of bed mess is for the birds. And there’s something in getting whacked about the face and head that instantly fills you with rage no matter who is responsible. So, half blind and completely PISSED, I lift her out from under the covers and plop her down at the end of the bed, with a horrified “OH MY GOD.” Then, I flop back on my pillow and throw the blankets over my head because slap or no slap, it’s too early for me to make a hasty exit to prove a point. I figure I’ll be able to emerge in a minute with a decent plan that doesn’t include setting her on the curb with a “FREE” sign around her neck.

The Jerry Springer guest at the end of the bed is quiet. A sure sign she agrees, THAT CHOICE SUCKED.

With a sniffle she quietly offers, “hug, mama.”

The sting in my cheek all but gone, I pull the covers off my head and sit forward to pull her to me. I snuggle her close and ask, “what do you have to say to mama?”

“Sawy.” A kiss for good measure.

“Thank you. We do not hit. It’s not okay. It hurts people’s bodies and it hurts people’s feelings.”

“Ok, mama.”

I’m thankful that one more or less solved itself, because between you and me, I had no real plan as I stewed under the blanket. Just pulled it tight against my ears and hoped for the best.

I nursed my son until he was two and a half. I don’t remember him assaulting me when I told him to wrap it up. Maybe I’ve blocked it out. I don’t remember the last time he nursed, nor do I remember any tears shed by either of us the first time I told him no and meant it for always. I’m sure I did, as my eyes are welling up writing this. But knowing I’d do it all again for another baby somewhere down the line made it feel a little less sad. Putting a bookmark in that chapter was easier than closing the book altogether.

So I imagined I’d be nursing this second child clear into whatever year she blissfully decided to stop. It would be lovely! Oh, the bond! The peaceful satisfaction in knowing she got all she needed and moved forward to the next beautiful chapter on her own terms.

The reality?
“MAMA! HUGGLE ME! I TIEWRED!” (Ok, huggle is the word she’s made up for breastfeeding and I’m pretty sure the cuteness of the term is the fumes that are keeping me going. I admit it.)
“I’d love to snuggle you if you’re tired.” (Because snuggling is COMPLETELY DIFFERENT.)
“NO! HUGGLE. ME.”
“Ughhhhhhh. You’re like a high school boyfriend. WHY CAN’T WE JUST SNUGGLE? I don’t feel like taking out my boobs.”
“HUGGGGGGGLLLLLLEEEE MEEEEEEEEE!”
“Ugh. Fine. Come. Let me peacefully nurture you. AND KEEP YOUR HANDS OUT OF MY BRA.”
A half hour later, she’s asleep tucked under my arm, legs across my lap. A warm sensation spreads over my thigh and I realize she totally just peed all over me. Jesus Christ. This must be what it’s like to date R. Kelly.

In roughly two and a half months, my daughter will be two and a half years old. The same age at which I weaned my son. In the interest of fairness and keeping the fodder for therapy at a minimum, I’ll go that much longer. And in the meantime, I may be throwing a few blankets over my head and hoping for the best.

How sweet it can be when the creature attached to your boob isn't capable of fish hooking you, poking you in the eye and kicking shit off the table ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

How sweet it can be when the creature attached to your boob isn’t capable of fish hooking you, poking you in the eye and kicking shit off the table ALL AT THE SAME TIME.

amateur comedian, professional bullshitter. will take pay in baked goods once already rich.

  • Tay

    Aili and I are down to bedtime and mornings only – and sometimes in the morning I just tell her no and pull out the chocolate milk. Depends on how early wake up is and how much I feel like trying to get sleep as she’s mawing at my boob, not really latched. The pecked to death by a pigeon is exactly what it feels like, especially when I have my period, DEAR GOD MAKE IT STOP. She doesn’t have “mommy nuks” to put her all the way to sleep anymore.Tonight it was less than 20 seconds per side and then she jumped into her bed. Last night she kinda forgot about it and went to bed right after her story. I don’t know. I just have to say no I guess. Which partly makes me sad but mostly makes me relieved. I will miss her saying “udder side mommy.” Haha other = udder.

    • OddlyWellAdjusted

      We’re down to just wake up/nap/bed but some nights if feel like I’m fighting off a rabid squirrel for 6 hours.

  • Teal Doggett

    “Putting a bookmark in that chapter was easier than closing the book all together”. I love this. and have felt it a lot. I often deceive myself that it is a bookmark when really that book is long gone, but only realize that later. But maybe that is how we get through all the little endings. As parents we automatically celebrate and mark many of the firsts in our kid’s lives- first steps, first word, first day of school- but usually don’t even know when it is the LAST time they are going to do something. And that brings a lump to my throat as I type this.
    Even so, bet you are going to celebrate big once those boobs belong to you again!

  • lara

    oh my gawd! i just found you and i’m dying. dying! thank you for capturing with great humor, truth, and tenderness my, sometimes, conflicting relationship with breastfeeding. i’ll be laughing my way to bed soon…if i’m not woken up for some nana first.

    • OddlyWellAdjusted

      Not feeling alone is half the battle! So glad you found me.

      I STILL haven’t fully weaned mine despite this time line I laid out. (She’s about 2 weeks past due.) But we’ve cut back and she’s consequently developed a chewing gum obsession. I think she needs a milk patch.