So, here I am over halfway through my third and definitely last pregnancy, and I am still nursing my two year old. I also nursed my daughter while pregnant with my son but she was much younger, only 13 months when I got pregnant with him, and she weaned at the beginning of my second trimester. Breastfeeding this long into pregnancy is all new to me.
Breastfeeding this far into pregnancy, here is what I have experienced:
It's been painful. Nursing in the first trimester was painful with both of my kids but nursing in the second trimester is not like anything I have experienced. My research tells me it's hormones making it so painful. There have been times I have had to limit how long my son feeds due to the pain.
I have experienced nursing aversion. I never had this with my daughter and I never experienced it with my son, until the second trimester and the onslaught of the pain I mention above. There have been times it has felt so uncomfortable and made my skin crawl.
Admitting that makes me sad. I have always loved breastfeeding (well except for the first weeks when I was learning) and some days it has been hard and downright depressing that I cannot enjoy it as much anymore.
I have no idea what my milk supply is anymore. It seriously does not seem like I have much if any milk left but my son still wants to nurse. I think there must be something but it is definitely low. I never experience engorgement no matter how long I go without nursing.
I have wondered if I should wean and sometimes wish my son would wean. I am sure you may be wondering, if it is so painful and not enjoyable, why don't I just wean? The answer is mainly that I want to let my son wean when he is ready. I do not want to force it.
So I've kept going not knowing what is around the corner. I wonder if my son will wean before my pregnancy is over, or if I will hit a point where I push it. I thought I was close recently due the pain and nursing aversion, but most of that has subsided at this point. Reasons I'd like to continue breastfeeding him include wanting him to wean when he is ready, because it is still a source of comfort to him, I have heard that tandem nursing helps the new siblings bond, and it is still a great tool I can use whenever needed to help him calm down, get to sleep, etc.
But, I'm not enjoying it as much as I used to and that does make me sad. I hope we can make it through this and whatever the best outcome may be will work itself out. My son also recently went through a bought of teething with his two year molars coming in (that's a whole other post, it was torture!) and nursing was a source of comfort to him. I am not sure how we would have gotten through it without breastfeeding.
I am also not even sure how I would wean if I was ready. Nursing is still a huge part of our bedtime routine, and while he went through this recent teething he became more attached than ever. I have seen the comments whenever extended nursing is mentioned; comments suggesting the mother is doing it for herself, or the mother is selfish. Anyone who believes nursing mothers continue breastfeeding toddlers because they are selfish may be out of their minds. In my case I am doing it for my son, because he still needs it. Definitely not for me. Ha.
My goal nursing my son was to make it two. The age recommended by many including the World Health Organization. Now that we have made it I am proud and I know he will wean when he is ready. I know this is a short span of time in his long life. It's not always easy breastfeeding while pregnant but I know it will work out. I am not sure what will happen next, will I end up tandem nursing or will he wean, but I will be sure to share what I learn along the way!