Nursing is so much more than just feeding my son so he’s full. He nurses for a multitude of reasons other than hunger—as breast fed babies tend to do. Play time, comfort, warmth, safety, boredom, cuddles; he’s scared, overwhelmed, desire to be close to me, I could go on. Since he nurses for all those reasons, he’s attached to me All. The. Time. Even during the night because we bed share.
Those newborn days, where he would latch for literally HOURS at a time, I cherish those and always will. I miss him being a little squishy cuddle bug. Now he’s a mobile crazy nurser who likes to bang his toys while he nurses or try to roll like an alligator while eating his dinner. For the past 6 months there has been a baby on me in some shape or form, nursing or not and there are times where it’s just over whelming and I’m over it.
While I love the cuddles and I truthfully love nursing, let’s be real here. Occasionally, I loathe it.
Sometimes I just want my body (and my boobs!) back. I get scratched, hit, kicked; he wiggles like crazy and my personal “favorite” the bucking bronco with my nipple still in his mouth. Not pleasant. He’s particularly good at the fish hook with my lips. This always reminds me to cut his finger nails because those suckers are knives on the lips! The length of time I’ve nursed (over six months now—with a long way to go) has made me so touched out to the point of not wanting to wear clothes some days. There are times I don’t even want my husband to touch me.
There have been countless nights, more than I would like to admit, that I realized I hadn’t given him a kiss all day. I didn’t hug him when he came home from work or before he left. If he came to hug or kiss me bye I would ask him not to touch me. “I just don’t want to be touched, I’m not in the mood” was always my go to response and it was the truth.
As I mentioned before, we bed share—it’s just easier. My son is an intense night nurser. He doesn’t take pacifiers, he used to, but quickly learned no milk comes out of these weird plastic things, and spits them out. I am his pacifier. This makes his demand for me higher because I have what solves 90% of his problems. Boobs. This also makes it hard for my husband to help me. I don’t mind being his pacifier, it helps keep my milk supply where it should be. But sometimes at night is when I am most touched out.
I sleep without a shirt or in a nursing bra that is always unclipped so really there is no point to wearing it in the first place. The position I lay in so he can reach is not very comfortable but I manage. He’s six months and still wakes several times at night to nurse. I wake up with him latched on to me I would say a good 80% of the time. Malachai has to be touching me in some way to fall asleep. If he stirs and reaches out and he can’t feel me, he panics and starts to cry until he feels me. Sometimes it’s as simple as him putting his hand on my arm, but other nights he’s not satisfied until there is boob-age involved. While this is frustrating sometimes, I have to remind myself in my frustration that he’s doing it because he trusts me that I will be there when he feels scared or alone. I am his comfort in this big scary world he doesn’t fully understand yet.
Some nights are worse than others, but I’ve noticed when he nursed a ton the night before, I am more touched out the rest of the day and need more me time to feel sane. I don’t mean me time like you take a shower but the baby is playing with toys on the bathroom floor. I mean real me time. Like taking a shower all by yourself (Gasp!!) until the water runs cold while someone else has baby duty. Where all baby responsibility is someone else’s just for a little while. Where the baby isn’t even in the room and you can actually hear yourself think. Or not even in the same building for an hour or two. That kind of me time.
Let me tell ya, nursing is so demanding but it’s so beautiful at the same time. I love it too much to stop. There are good days and there are bad days as with anything in life. I feel a sense of responsibility to continue because it’s my duty to take care of him and this is the way I’ve chosen to take care of him.
Loving to nurse doesn’t mean you have to love literally every second of it. That’s unrealistic. If you don’t want to nurse another second or you are just so over nursing sometimes, or being touched makes your skin crawl, it is okay to feel this way. Motherhood is full of emotions—including negative ones.
Those days when I am exceptionally touched out make me feel like a bad wife and a bad mother because I don’t want my son or my husband to touch me. Even in the simplest of ways like holding hands. Feeling like this does not mean you are a bad mother, it just means you’re a mother who sometimes just wants a break and wants her body to herself for a little while. And that is okay.
It is okay to take care of yourself. You need to. And if you’re touched out, that’s okay too. Take care of yourself. Take a little bit of time to reset so you can continue. Because you can do it!