My Toddler Said to Me “Baby Come Out, Me Drink Mummy’s Neh Neh!”
Dear baby V,
Mummy has been meaning to chronicle our breastfeeding journey since forever, and this draft has been collecting dust since you were 8 months old.
Now that baby B2 is growing in my belly (or as you’d point out, “Baby in mummy’s stomach!”), what you said to me the other day, reminded me of our good old times.
Daddy and I were showering you, and you suddenly remarked with a cheeky, knowing gleam in your eyes, “Baby come out, me drink mummy’s neh neh!”
I was stunned – Not because you used the words “neh neh”, which I have never used with you; but because of your surprise declaration.
Since the night you decided not to nurse to sleep, I couldn’t get that image and feeling out of my head – the feeling of rejection.
I don’t know if it’s because you understood when mummy told you “Please be gentle, it’s painful.” when we nurse. Or that my actions or behaviour led you to know that I was fighting nursing aversion.
It was a very hard time for mummy, and it reached a stage where I actually feared nursing and was half hoping you would reject me whenever it was time to breastfeed. But nothing could beat the pain in my heart, when you did eventually take the lead to end our nursing relationship, because mummy knew that from day one, I would not have the courage to stop or force you to wean….. I just can’t. Despite our tumultuous and rocky journey, throwing in the towel was always on my mind, especially when we were still nursing at 21 months.
Pumping at work was stressful, and most of the time, mummy had to plan meetings, appointments and events around the pump times. Staying out late on weekdays was almost zilch.
Friends mocked me and looked at me in disbelief when they found out that I was nursing a toddler. But I held on because it had been a tough fight, and no one else would ever understand.
But when the end drew close, I was hanging on a thin line and tried so hard to hold on…
Mummy wants you to know, that it is not because of B2 that you’re being denied of mummy’s milk. Or maybe because my supply was dipping or that the milk tasted “off”, like they say usually happens during pregnancy.
And over the recent weeks, you occasionally showed interest in nursing again…. exclaiming “Neh neh!” or asking “Me drink neh neh?”
To which, mummy could only reply, “When baby comes out, Vera drink neh neh together with baby, okay?”
And you never once bolted in frustration, but always replied with a smiling “Yes.”
Little did I expect to hear those words coming right back from you when you were showering.
Mummy is honestly scared, excited, eager and worried all at the same time.
Scared because of my forever fear of supply issues, just like when we had to supplement your feeds with formula right from the start. And now, whenever you are unwell, all those crazy thoughts of “What if’s” and “I should have’s” start infest my mind threatening to consume me…
Excited because those special memories of our times together are still etched in your memory too. And that you still want mummy’s milk makes me feel…. wanted and important again. I know it’s silly to think this way, because breastfeeding is only a subset of motherhood.
Eager because tandem nursing seems like such a challenging step and a phenomenon that is out of reach. But yet, I feel a little more supercharged because you have been such a wonderful nursling – and for all the hiccups in our nursing relationship, mummy has always been the broken link.
Worried because I don’t know how you would feel about having to share mummy, and mummy’s milk if you do accept it again. Having another sibling is a huge milestone for you in multiple ways, and we hope both of you take to each other happily.
Baby V, remember that you’ll always be mummy’s forever baby. And mummy has always been so thankful that you’ve been such a good nursling despite mummy’s mountain of breastfeeding woes from blocked ducts to mastitis to countless blebs. Needles were my best friends. Although our sessions can take as long as an hour, I should never be in the position to hope for a perfect equation especially when mummy was the weaker player in this game.
Thank you for not being fussy with feeds, be it latched, expressed or frozen breastmilk. And when there isn’t enough, you readily accept formula as well as fresh milk and UHT milk.
Just as I’ve promised you, I will welcome you with open arms the day you decide to snuggle back into my chest and lay next to me, drinking your fill again. This time, we will have another party in the equation and just as before, I can only hope for the best and expect the worse.
Loving you since the day you were born,