When Breastfeeding Feels Like Being Pecked to Death by a Pigeon

Sara Goldstein essays

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My morning began like this:

 am. 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 am. 
Kick, flop, thrash 
 “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 in order 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 (and final) 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 are 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.)
 “Ughhhhhhh. You're like a high school boyfriend. WHY CAN'T WE JUST SNUGGLE? I don't feel like taking out my boobs.”
”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.

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About the Author

Sara Goldstein

Wife of a rockstar, mother to his proteges. Vying for the title of World's Okayest mom. Keeping mama-ing real since 2005. Keep up with Sara on her blog .

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