A weird breastfeeding hangover

I mentioned in my last post that for the first time in a long time my ovaries don’t do that familiar lurch when I see a newborn. This is probably largely because, at the moment, I’m feeling incredibly touched out. When I’m with my three year old there aren’t many moments when she isn’t touching, or asking to touch me.

We stopped breastfeeding three months ago but she’s still as obsessed with my boobs as ever. It’s like a weird breastfeeding hangover. She’s not quite ready to give them up completely – still needs to get  her fix somewhere without going cold turkey.

Sometimes it’s cute. And, just like with breastfeeding, sometimes it’s handy. She always wants to climb onto my knee, snuggle in and poke a hand down my top when she’s tired. It’s like her comfort blanket I suppose. It’s useful to be able to give her that instant relief, especially if she’s screaming at the top of her lungs through exhausted tears. 

But sometimes it’s annoying.

I’m woken, without fail, between 4.30am and 6am by her tweaking one of my nipples. She’ll sleepily walk out of her bed and climb into mine, snuggle in beside me and instantly go searching for a boob to pat before she drops off again. Often I’m fast asleep and only become aware she’s there when I can feel her little hand on my chest. It’s not always comfortable, lying there while she sleeps patting a boob, trying not to roll over in case she realises I’ve taken her “comfort blanket” away from her and she wakes up (and wakes up the rest of the house too).

I’ve asked around and it’s very normal, apparently. There are loads of stories of kids using their mum’s boobs as mini comfort blankets. You just need to do one quick Google to see a load of threads on various parenting forums on the subject. Plus, when I asked about it on my Instagram Stories I was inundated with replies from other mums whose kids do the same thing.

And, you know, on the most part I don’t mind. Given the choice of forcing her off me or letting her have that comfort I’ll go with the comfort every time because, in my opinion, it’s one of my jobs as a mum. So this post isn’t to moan or ask for advice how to stop a habit that’s just a phase and will inevitably end at some point. More a post to mark something that is happening All. The. Time at the moment. And to let you know that if it’s happening in your house too, then you’re not alone!

I recently read something describing a mum as a child’s “anchor”. And I guess, in many ways, that’s what I am for Effie. When she’s tired, under the weather or just in need of some reassurance she’ll always seek me out – and seek out her favourite position with one hand down my top. It has a weirdly instant calming effect. But then, I’m the one who, as a kid, used to be calmed by twiddling people’s ears while I sucked my thumb, so it’s clear to see where she gets the strange quirks from.

Now she’s three she’s able to articulate in some sense why she likes it, and how it makes her feel. She told me “I like it Mummy, it makes me feel warm and happy.” Which is kind of lovely, really (even when it gets annoying). And for those who think it’s harbouring unhealthy attachment habits, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again – Effie is the most outgoing child I know. She’s confident, has never cried when I’ve left her at pre-school and has never really gone through separation anxiety. Make of that what you will.

So while this phase lasts, I’ve decided to embrace it – even if that means occasionally doing so through gritted teeth. After all, it can’t last forever, right?… Right?!

Tell me, do you have a boob-obsessed tot in your house too? Solidarity.

 

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