Re: Would you give up nursing if...
If nursing caused a strain on my marriage that was so great that it meant the marriage would fall apart is I didn't wean, and weaning was ABSOLUTELY GUARANTEED to fix the problem, I would consider it provided that a) the baby was well over a year old and b) was eating a healthy and diverse solid food diet.
But it sounds to me like nursing is NOT the root issue here. It's a stalking horse for some other problem- like your DH feeling neglected, or feeling as if your parenting choices are a way of criticizing the way he raised his older child... IDK what the real issue is, but I think that it's great that you're in counseling to try to get to the bottom of it.
He's wrong. Here are some abstracts and articles that may change his mind:
My DH believes that nursing past the age of one is detrimental to both myself and DD.
a) he doesn't believe that breastmilk has any nutritional value past the age of one ("it's just a drink").
-Fat and Energy Contents of Expressed Human Breast Milk in Prolonged Lactation. Please note the conclusions: "Human milk expressed by mothers who have been lactating for >1 year has significantly increased fat and energy contents, compared with milk expressed by women who have been lactating for shorter periods. During prolonged lactation, the fat energy contribution of breast milk to the infant diet might be significant."
-Extend Breastfeeding's Benefits. Enumerates the multiple benefits of breastfeeding for both mom and baby.
Unraveling Breast Milk. On the chemistry of breastmilk, and why the substances in BM make it so much more than "just a drink".
Breastfeeding Cuts Moms' Heart Risk. Basically, the longer you nurse, the less likely you are to end up with heart disease. There are a lot more articles out there on how breastfeeding prevents other diseases, like diabetes and breast cancer.
When to Wean. Discusses the natural- as opposed to cultural- age of weaning.
It doesn't make it impossible. But when he talks about babysitting, what is his goal? Does he want to leave the baby with someone for an overnight or for several days? If so, breastfeeding might make that a bit more challenging, but it shouldn't rule it out!
b) he thinks that it makes it impossible for others to babysit DD since she likes the boob for comfort and she can't go to sleep without it.
And why would weaning alter this? IMHO, nursing toddlers are more independent than their weaned peers. They may check in at the breast when they are feeling anxious, but nursing generally calms their fears immediately. Imagine trying to handle a toddler without the breast to fall back on- they have the same anxieties, but there's nothing you can offer that will soothe them 100% of the time.
c) he also feels that DD is very "clingy" and needy because I still nurse her
Do you have your cycle back yet? If so, it's very unlikely that breastfeeding is impacting your sex drive. If you don't have your cycle back, at over a year breastfeeding might still be impacting it a bit. Most breastfeeding moms get their periods back around 15 months, so even if yours hasn't returned yet, it's probably coming very soon.
d) he feels that it greatly interferes with our sex life because I have a low drive
I think it's a lot more likely that your low drive is caused by the exhaustion of combining working and parenting. And he's not suggesting that you quit either of those.
Breastfeeding improves your health. Less risk of obesity, breast cancer, osteoporosis, heart disease... Lack of sleep can impact your ability to function, but the moment you get a good night's sleep you're back on track. Weaning isn't guaranteed to make your baby sleep through. Many weaned babies/toddlers/children continue to night-wake long after weaning.
e) he says that the fact that I cosleep with DD so that DD can nurse at night makes me tired and depressed, which impacts our life in general, as well as my health
That being said, is your daughter's night-nursing really impacting you as badly as your DH thinks? If so, there are things you can do to reduce it which are AP- and breastfeeding-compatible.
Uh... What???! How does nursing make someone feel important? It's not like someone is handing out medals or writing women up in the local paper because they breastfeed. And moms KNOW that they are always going to be important to their kids because they are their kids' moms. We don't have to "prove" it to ourselves by nursing them.
f) he says that I keep nursing DD to feel important
Yeah, because nursing- one of the healthiest things you can do for yourself and your baby- is just like destroying your lungs by smoking and giving yourself a huge gut from drinking beer.
g) finally, he believes that I'll always have an excuse to keep nursing DD (i.e. teething, illness, comfort), much like he'll always have an excuse to keep smoking or drinking beer.
You're not always going to "have an excuse" to keep nursing your DD. Does he think she'll be nursing when she goes to high school?
It's really sad that your DH views this as an either/or situation. In my view, he's getting hot and bothered and issuing threats and ultimatums for an entirely foolish reason. A real either/or situation would be infidelity, or abuse, or complete emotional and sexual withdrawal. Breastfeeding? Not so much.
We're in counselling right now, and obviously there are many other issues at hand, but my DH put it this way: which is better, nursing DD until she decides to wean or having her father there in her life? I guess it's sort of a either/or situation for DH, and I think he feels so strongly about this that he think it'll destroy our marriage.
Coolest thing my big girl said recently: "How can you tell the world is moving when you are standing on it?"
Coolest thing my little girl sang recently: "I love dat one-two pupples!"