Sorry for the long winded, rambling post ... I'm incredibly emotional right now (and not solely because of this issue, but other crummy family stuff).
I just had my second baby girl in July and she just turned 12 weeks today. Okay, wait ... I should probably start with my first baby girl, Adeline's story. We were regulars here on LLL's forums back then. I had a massive oversupply and overactive let down, as well as horrible thrush that lasted for months and she had severe reflux. My poor baby was so traumatized by the force and quantity of milk that she eventually began to scream if I put her to my breast and frequently went on nursing strikes. It was a heartbreaking time for both of us, we would both be in tears on a daily basis. I felt like a failure for not being able to comfort my baby ... instead my own body was creating a nightmare for her tiny self. Despite all of that, when the milk flow was normal she would LOVE nursing. Adeline would nurse for hours on end, and as much as some moms shudder at being "stuck" nursing for 3 to 4 hours at a time, I loved it. After I got my milk supply under control at around 6-7 months, she began to really adore nursing all the time ... comfort nursing was her thing. And night nursing all night long. She didn't go to sleep without nursing to sleep even a *single* time until she was four and a half years old. Yep, after all that nightmare we still nursed through my second pregnancy and she kept nursing until a few days after baby came (but that's another long post, LOL).
So, here we are with my second precious baby girl, Eliza. We had a good start ... and then my milk came in. She was okay at first, struggled with it and swallowed tons of air, but she managed. However, over the weeks she became more and more fussy at the breast, refusing completely many times (rooting to nurse, then screaming when I put her in position to nurse ... or starting to suck and then screaming when the milk came down). From the beginning she would nurse for a max of maybe 5 minutes ... many times even less, before popping off. Eliza never seems to relax nursing, rarely ends with comfort nursing (instead she nurses, gagging and choking, for a few minutes while flailing her arms, eyes wide open and then pops off all flustered and upset). And she rarely nurses to sleep. This is so different from my first ... even with all the problems Adeline and I had she always, always nursed to sleep. And she would always nurse while sleepy and through the night (sleepy nursing and eventually reverse feeding was what helped us survive those nursing strike periods).
I am trying to be mature and rational about all this. But it's really breaking my heart. Eliza has now started to suck her hand in a mad frenzy for comfort. I know I should just be happy that she *can* be comforted ... but is it selfish for me to want to be the one to comfort her? Now, even when my breast is nearly "empty," if I try to comfort her with nursing she refuses and instead looks for her hand or just cries in fussiness. I'm still working on lowering my supply, but am I too late? Are we destined to never have a sweet, nurturing breastfeeding experience like I had with my first baby girl? I feel like a failure and I feel like I can't even comfort my 12 week old baby. Tonight I tried nursing her laying down in bed, there was no forceful let down or tons of milk, and yet she flailed her arms and legs and tried getting away after just half a minute ... and then acted incredibly fussy until she found her hand to suck on. I was just so emotionally upset that I had her daddy hold her ... she sucked on her hand in his arms until she fell asleep. She's still asleep on his chest now, when normally I would have her sleeping next to me ... but I feel like she doesn't need me. (and I realize how childish this sounds, believe me, I do)
My husband just shakes his head at me and tells me I should be happy that she is content. And I *am* happy that she can comfort herself ... but I am also heartbroken that I am unable to provide that comfort, and at the possible loss of another beautiful breastfeeding relationship (and she is most likely our last baby if my husband has his way).
So, I guess my questions are ... am I crazy, immature and selfish for feeling this way? And do you think she'll ever enjoy comfort nursing so we can have that beautiful, nurturing nursing relationship ... or will she just nurse when she *has* to for food and be done with breastfeeding as soon as she is able?