I found several entries on LLI.org today from mother's whose children near Eliana's age had also striked on nursing. Most were able to return to it while a couple gave up and weaned. It was extremely encouraging to read that these women had the exact same emotions that I am currently experiencing. "Mothering through nursing" is the only way I know to mother. When she is sad she nurses, when she's tired but upset about something she'll nurse to sleep, when she's not feeling well she nurses, etc. It has been how we cope with stresses and life being crazy. It was a constant for her and also for me. The tips I've read/received the most are to spend time at home topless so they are at easy access and to try nursing while the child is asleep or half asleep. I spent much of yesterday topless and she didn't even want to look at them so I said forget it on that one (at least for now). Last night I went in and got her out of her crib after she'd been asleep for a few hours. I sat on the floor (no chair in her little room) and offered her to nurse and even being half asleep she still arched her back and shoved me away. I put her head back on my shoulder and she cuddled up and went back to sleep. I hoped I could bring her into our bed for the night so I could try night nursing several times but she was not thrilled at all about being in our bed so that didn't work either. I put her back in her crib and she slept through the night like usual.
Well, after reading about other mother's experiences on the La Leche League site today I decided to not give up yet and to keep trying. I borrowed an old rocking chair from my parents (that we used to rock my lil sis to sleep 16 years ago) and put it in Eliana's bedroom. I did our night time routine; dinner, pj's, vitamin (haven't been brushing her mouth this week because of the cold sores and new molars), and then I went into her room with her and rocked her in the chair. She cuddled on my shoulder and was super sleepy. Once it seemed she was mostly asleep I tried putting the nipple shield on my finger and seeing if she would allow it into her mouth. She pursed her lips closed tight or would cover her head with her blanky or arm. What to do, what to do! I kept praying (and have been all week), "please Lord, whatever is blocking her from nursing, please remove it. Please help her associate nursing with comfort and love again". Eventually she did allow the shield on my finger in her mouth but all she did but bite hard. She basically had her jaw clenched down on it. I allowed this as I see it as an improvement that it at least got past her lips! I should probably celebrate this little victory but I'm so anxious for her to just 'go all the way', so to speak. I tried to put the shield on me and get it in her mouth but she got very upset at this and sat up awake. I ended up just putting her back in her crib.
I have not decided if I should try again tonight or not.
I feel that her mouth may still in pain so that also comes in to play as a reason for still not wanting to nurse. The insides of her cheeks are still healing from her biting them with her huge new molars (she now has 4), and I'm not 100% sure that the sores are gone. When I try to look in her mouth she flips out and gets upset.
I found a blog a mother had written in 1996 about her 20 month old son's 40 day nursing strike and that gave me hope that even after such a long period of time a child can still go back to it. I don't know that I have the patience to be pumping and waiting for that long, but at least I know I'm on the right track and that in the big picture 5 days isn't that long. I feel in my heart that she isn't done nursing and I really don't want to be either, however I also don't want to drag this on forever. For mothers who have dealt with this I know you empathize with me and can identity with feeling grief and almost like a member of the family has died. More than anything right now I just want her to latch on and eat like a champ, but even 2 minutes would be great! I feel sad, rejected, lonely, angry, anxious, disoriented, frustrated, exhausted, etc. etc. etc.
If only she knew how much pain she was causing her mommy!
On the plus side (this being about the only thing I can think of) my husband was able to put her to bed two nights in a row. I've decided that if/when she does go back to nursing I may still like to pump sometimes so that he can put her to sleep. Although I have a feeling that if/when she does nurse again, I'll never want to pump!
I also am getting about 2 oz more of milk each day that I pump. Day 1 I think I only got 5oz or something like that. Yesterday I was up to 14 1/2 oz. So at least I know my supply is hanging on and there is milk available for her.
The other dilemma is wanting to try to get pregnant again.......we have a dr. apt for after Christmas. It's very likely that my dr won't prescribe the needed medications if I'm nursing. So, now it's like, "should I just take this as a good time to wean her?" But in my gut I feel like I'd rather wait another 4-6 months and have her nurse.