It's 7am and Desmond is tossing and turning because I refuse to nurse him. He hasn't been eating much food lately. Instead, he asks to nurse. Theoretically I'm fine with this. He nurses on demand just like Chloe. In reality, that's not even remotely true.
I find that the more time goes on, the more I'm restricting him and secretly wishing he would wean. It all comes down to comfort - for me. It's unfortunate that teething is so irritating to my skin. The amount of time I spend nursing really doesn't give me much opportunity to apply lanolin or rinse off the flesh eating saliva. The second Chloe is done with a marathon session, there comes Desmond asking to nurse. And what's worse, he hits hard if I don't immediately comply.
I understand his frustration. Chloe gets to nurse any time for as long as she wants. Before she was here, he got to nurse that way too. When Chloe cries she gets to nurse; so why can't he nurse every time he cries? Why can't he nurse every time he's hungry? Or frustrated? Or hurt? Or thirsty? He should be able to! Why, in practice, do I fail to nurse him on demand? What is so wrong with nursing him at 7am?!
Nursing hurts and in my mind Desmond can nurse OR eat food. He can eat food when he's hungry, true. But eating food doesn't help when he's hurt or tired or scared or anxious or, or, or... Haven't I said again and again that nursing toddlers is more for comfort than anything else? So why restrict him at all? That would be on par with not allowing Chloe to nurse for hours at night because her gums hurt. I wouldn't do that.
My nipples are raw. My mouth is dry. I get little sleep. All of this is temporary. More sleep will come to me some day. My nipples will heal. But the time to provide love and comfort to my nurslings through breastfeeding is passing quickly. What will I regret more? That I put up with nipple pain and sleepiness or that I said no?