This was a messageboard conversation. A mother of a 16 month old who co-sleeps and still breastfeeds a lot is feeling the classic attachment mama burnout.
Without judging whether she was right or wrong to get into the position of being burned-out AP mother, what advice would you give her? (I'm sure at least one of my regular commenters will have something to say!!!)
This is what I said so far (criticism welcome)
If you want a longer gap between day-time feeds, and less of an assumption that breastfeeding is the default I'm-bored activity, try pushing the envelope so you are away a little longer than 3-4 hours in the daytime but the child isn't distressed. Beginn to find more interesting things to do than breastfeeding a lot in the day time - it might take a lot of some favourite food to be more attractive than the breast (chocolate mini milks?! Lots of good calcium in there!)
And then for the night time, if you are wanting to escape from being the only parent who will do at night time, I would think first in terms of giving a huge feed about an hour before bed time, and then disappearing to a cafe around the corner with a book so that your Dh can help your child go to bed. I'd recommend him lying down with the baby, and reading lots of favourite stories and then singing lots and lots of lullabies, giving as many cuddles as needed. No pressure on the little one to fall asleep, but just Daddy being there to help. And if it goes wrong, you can be called home to help, and try it another day! It would be a lot of work for your Dh to start with, but needn't be distressing for your child.
Same with the mornings - do whatever normal feeding happens at night and then any morning when you wake before your child, you just slip away, leaving water and biscuits or something even nicer to eat, and Daddy snuggled next to the baby, and see how Daddy does. Are there any foods which your child would take in preference to milk? Chocolate buttons? (this is at breakfast time, after all, you can always clean their teeth afterwards) And something to help them get out of dozy dozy mode really fast (a favourite DVD on a portable DVD player, maybe?)
All of this requires a lot of creativity on your husband's part. It might be that daytime naps would be a better place for him to start learning how to help your child to sleep rather than the night - get together with your husband and brainstorm like mad about things which are really comforting which aren't your breasts.
And Attachment Mama burn-out is really really classic. The big thing is to learn how to absent yourself so the Daddy can learn how to do some comforting and soothing.
I think the I-am-the-only-parent-who-can-comfort trap is particularly dangerous for SAHMs with WOHDs, because the breasts become the be-all and end-all so easily. It's much easier for those of us whose circumstances have meant that other care givers (the father, or a grandmother, or whoever) have been an accepted part of the comfort-giving landscape from the start.
Does anyone have any other wisdom about ways in which other care-givers learned to offer comfort without the magic breasts (while I still think that breastfeeding is the best possible start for a child, and that it should continue as long as both the mother and child are happy, I do think it's important to develop those other comfort options, and it can be harder for the wearer of the magic breasts to think of those options, since the magic breasts are always there in times of stress)