The Un-Wean

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It hasn’t been long since I wrote my previous post about how 3.5 year old MaiTai apparently wouldn’t be tandem nursing. Well, perhaps I spoke too soon.

The other day while I was nursing his baby brother Julep, MaiTai said, “He’s eating your nanoo.”

“Yes,” I said. “What do you think he’s thinking?”

He smiled and replied, “He’s thinking… it made him stop crying.”

“Do you think it makes him feel better?” I asked.

“Yeahhh. He likes it!”

“Do you remember nanoo-ing?”

“Yeahhh!”

I asked if it used to make him feel better, too.

“Yeahhh, I like it. I’m a big boy now, but I still drink your milk.”

Now technically, he’s only tried three times since Julep was born and his latch was so poor he didn’t even get any milk during the three seconds his mouth made contact in each instance. I didn’t count these ‘taste tests’ as official and figured they were nothing more than the trailing evidence of an expiring interest. So for him to say he “still” drinks my milk, especially after somewhat of a hiatus during pregnancy, made me think he wanted to believe he still actively nurses.

Some children take breaks between true nursing sessions — could be days, weeks, or even months. Would he be one of them?

The next day, he seemed to have nursing at the forefront of his mind. Every time Julep made a noise, whether cooing or crying, he said, “Mommy, he needs your nanoo! Give him nanoo, mommy!”

Later on I nursed Julep before their baths. MaiTai came over as he usually does, put his hands on my knees and said, “Mommy, I’m going to nanoo, too. Not now, but later after he’s done.”

Oh! So we’re doing this, huh? I didn’t want MaiTai to feel like Julep was a priority over him so I said he could try nursing together with Julep. He asked politely if I could take the nanoo out of my shirt, I did, and he went for it like a starved person who’d just returned from a long hike in the desert. Between gulps, he complimented my milk.

“Mommy. Your milk is really nice! It’s like warm strawberries. I really like it.”

Then he reached for my hand and squeezed it.

“Mommy, look! [Julep] is watching me nanoo!”

And he moved his hand to rest on Julep’s lightly heaving back.

I thought MaiTai would only attempt the same ‘taste-testing’ of late, but he was back in his former nursing groove. Five minutes passed… ten minutes… going on fifteen. Goodness! Both of my breasts let the milk flow freely like they wanted to feed a village.

I can’t explain what my heart was doing. Feeling bliss. Amazement. Confusion — how do I make my boundaries clear? And fear — when would the aversion kick in?

Oh. Now.

MaiTai’s latch grew tighter as the minutes passed. Instead of pushing the milk out, now he tried to suck it out like a straw. Ouch! So I cut the session short by telling him we should start getting ready for the bath. The after-effect was obvious to me, though. He was back to being the well-adjusted kid who’d kinda slipped away the past few weeks in the midst of our postpartum transition time.

So was this the first tandem session of many? Or the first, last, and only? A blessed answer either way. I’m so grateful to have (or have had) this mode of connection with my children, because it’s certainly not a given.

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