"Weaning has never been easy for the weanor or the weenee, but it is necessary for the survival of both." - from Raising Self-Reliant Children in a Self-Indulgent World, by H. Stephen Glenn and Jane Nelson.
Yep, I'm the Weanor.
A few weeks ago, when Luke turned 13 months old, I decided to test the waters and see if Luke was ready to wean off the breast. (Sorry if that word makes some of you cringe, but that is what they are called, and what they are used for. Deal.) I had him down to one nursing session a day - our evening snuggle-nurse. For those of you who have breastfed, you know what a huge bond that creates with your child. And this was my LAST (at least that WE are planning - God may have something different in store for us.).
Before I continue with that, let me take you back to when I weaned my daughters. Bella was about 11 months old. She was NOT a cuddler. She was a mover and a shaker, and she just did not want to lay still and eat. She liked sitting in my lap to read books, but laying her down was way too boring for her or something, so she weaned herself. It was a complete non-issue. I hardly got to enjoy our last nursing session, because I didn't know the last was the last!
With Laney, things were a little bit different. She was 9 months old. I was pregnant. I had read that some women nursed while pregnant, and I thought about giving that a go since there was still 3 months left until she would turn a year old. Well, my doctor advised against it because my body needed the calcium for the baby I was creating. Knowing how much I lack a calcium-rich diet, I figured I owed it to that new life to leave the calcium to the baby, since Laney could get calcium from other foods. By the time I made my decision to wean, she was 10 months old. So, that was the end. I don't remember feeling much one way or the other about it, except that I was bummed to wean a bit early. Luckily, she had no problem switching to cow's milk, and we were once again able to stay away from formula.
Fast forward to now. My youngest - my BABY! He's the oldest weanee of the bunch, since we are going through this process as he is 13 1/2 months old. That night a few weeks ago when I first tried to go without nursing him for our evening "meal", he was fairly content rocking with me while I sang to him, but then his little bitty hand stuck out, and signed "milk". He was very sweet about it, but I thought, "Nope, Cathy. Remain strong. Stick to it." Then, he did it again. My heart melted. He was very sweetly asking for milk. How could I say no? So, we continued.
He hasn't been so into the nursing sessions these past few days - just drinking a bit and then falling asleep. So tonight we tried going without nursing again. We rocked. I sang. We cuddled. He looked at me with his adorable eyes. He sucked on his paci. He rubbed on Monkey, his lovey. But - he did NOT sign milk. He was okay with it. He didn't even cry when I laid him down and said goodnight.
What a big boy! I'm so proud of him. As much as I am happy to have my body back to being my own, I'm mourning that part of my life. I loved nursing my babies. And now it's over. :( For the past 5 years and 8 months (except for about 6 months between weaning Bella and conceiving Laney), I have been either pregnant or breastfeeding. That's a huge thing to say goodbye to. I guess it's time to move on.
On a positive side, I can have a glass of wine with dinner again and wear bras without trap doors!
Anyone want to attend my burning of the nursing bras party? They've had a good run.