Health and Wellness · Parenting

Nursing: why the struggle is real

I love that I can nurse Zelie. I haven’t really had any problems with nursing. She latches great and definitely gets enough to eat (have you seen her baby thighs?)

But is it a sacrifice. A really, really tough sacrifice.

Everyone’s nursing situation is very different but I want to share with you mine.

I wake up in the morning to Zelie babbling and happily playing in her crib. We smile and giggle for a couple minutes, then I pick her up to change her diaper. The moment I lay her down she loses it. Oh, I guess it’s been a few hours since you’ve eaten. So I nurse her.

Mornings are pretty decent. She’s fairly chipper and I try to get most of my cleaning done during this time. About an hour before lunch time Zelie gets pretty clingy and fussy. So I nurse her.

Sometimes she’ll fall asleep, other times we’ll have to try again after lunch. So I nurse her.

This nap time I try to use for self-care. Prayer. Reading. Writing. Knitting. Etc.

Then Zelie wakes up and it’s playtime until Peter gets home. I will try to do some housework if she is happy or fold laundry and listen to a podcast while she plays. Then 3:00 hits. The arsenic hour in the Hilpisch Household. Clingy clingy fussy fussy baby. I’m getting crawled on. Yelled at. Everything just reverts back to newborn stage for this dreadful hour. I let her cry and try to snuggle with her (and try to keep folding laundry if I can) and try to tolerate it until I’m just. done. So I nurse her.

Sometimes she’ll sleep for a half hour. Sometimes she won’t. Either way, then she’s fine and happy! Shortly after Peter gets home from work. They play and giggle. I get a bit of alone time. Check the mail. Use the bathroom. Eat something. Then Peter will play some accordion and Zelie will stand at his chair and just watch, or play with some toys at his feet. It is so precious. I try to make dinner. It gets a little chaotic because Zelie want to be with me while I’m in the kitchen and it turns into a lot of fussing. And Pete will pick her up and play in the living room, then she’ll crawl back and it repeats.

Dinner is good. It’s not as happy as lunch. Zelie will try new foods and we’ll eat but it’s evening and everyone is tired. Then one of us will take the baby and the other will clean up.

Then it’s a hygge style evening. Pajamas and slippers on. Tea, blankets and couches. Books being read. Blocks being stacked. knitting. Maybe watching something. Calm essential oils being diffused. It’s peaceful and cozy for the most part. Then the baby’s I’m-tired-freak-out-cluster-feeding starts. Ah cluster feeding. A lot of newborns do it, or babies that are stressed will too. It just eating more frequently, but it’s hard on moms. It makes me feel over-touched and just plain overwhelmed. So it’s a rough couple hours because I just want quiet time to wind down with some tea and a book or my knitting. And Zelie wants quiet time to wind down snuggling and eating with mama.

Then between 8 and 9 she’s finally, finally asleep. These last couple week though, when I do that last nursing session before bed, I’ll fall asleep in the chair. And if I don’t fall asleep in the chair, I lay Zelie down in her crib, shut the nursery door, and curl up on the couch and fall asleep. Peter’s still wide awake for the most part and I’m just beat.

Then at night Zelie is up about 4 times. Sometimes more, sometimes less. I’m at the point where I’m mad that she’s awake again. And when I sit down with her to nurse in the recliner, even when I try as hard as I can, I typically fall asleep and wake up a half hour later with a sore neck. Peter is helping as much as he possibly can, but some things only the mom with boobs can fix. I can’t just stop nursing cold turkey. That would hurt both Zelie and me.

So today I am looking at sleep “training” and weaning. I’m fine with nursing her during the day. It’s peaceful for the most part, but the cluster feeding and not sleeping at night needs to go before I lose. my. shit. and I am almost there.

I know many don’t ever nurse. Some only make it a couple months before drying up or going back to work or just not liking it. Others naturally wean at a year. Some even go until 2 or 3 years old. Then there are some like me who like nursing and are doing fine with it and do some form of attachment parenting, but at the same time are losing their patience and their minds. My form of attachment parenting is trying to meet the baby’s wants and needs, but keeping in mind mine as well.

So hang in there mamas. We’re all struggling hard, especially in this shortest month of the year that also feels like the  l o n g e s t. Know of my prayers for you, and keep my family in your prayers too.

2 thoughts on “Nursing: why the struggle is real

  1. Currently expecting my first and this was so good to read – a true glimpse into the reality of the demands of nursing, even when you like doing it/are good at it. Hoping I have some of your success despite the struggles!


  2. So much solidarity!!!!! Last week, our formerly great-sleeper decided to do the whole “wake up to nurse 4-6 times a night” thing, and it was rough, and I felt so touched-out. We cosleep which, for the first several months of his life (he’s 8 months now) resulted in more sleep for me, but now that he’s bigger and more active in bed (and has teeth!), if he’s nursing, I’m awake and exhausted. So a few days ago I grabbed a book about baby sleep from the library and am trying to implement some stuff with my husband (he now puts Peter to bed-and that one little thing has actually been helping a bit!). But you’re so right-even without talking about the nighttime nursing, it can be a struggle! In the beginning we had some latch issues and stuff but once an IBCLC helped me through that, it’s been smooth sailing-just so, so exhausting sometimes. And when naptime doesn’t happen (he’s been resisting naps lately, which I’m working on fixing) I’m pretty sure I almost go insane haha.
    Oh, and that hygge evening sounds awesome!!!


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