Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Weaning: the good, the bad and the sad.

At Asher's nine month appointment, I talked to his doctor about weaning. I was gung-ho ready to get this weaning show on the road. She said first things first, drop down to only nursing for the three main meals of the day. She warned me that the night feeding would likely be the hardest to drop and to do so when we were prepared for some rough nights. I walked out thinking, I got this. We are going to be weaning champions by our first year well baby visit.

Then came reality. Asher had a bit of a cold at the time, so I didn't try right away to drop feedings. My plan of action, once he was well, was to drop the mid-morning and mid-afternoon feedings first. One a week, or so.

For the most part that went smoothly after his marathon sinus infection. I usually nursed him to sleep, so it took some screaming sleep training to have a successful naptime. Which was ok, we need him to learn to put himself to sleep.

So, here we are. Breakfast, lunch, dinner and bedtime breastfeeding. It's been a hard adjustment so far. I can't quite escape the feeling of, Oh crap he didn't nurse at such and such time; my supply is going to go down. Just yesterday I had the panic of dropping supply at least ten times. I can't quite get it into my head that this is what is supposed to happen. We are weaning, Kira. Get with the program.

But, I'm sad about it. It's not as convenient to force water or watered-down-juice in a sippy to my child. It's not as easy to figure out what in my pantry will make an acceptable nutritious snack. And, no more nursing feels like my baby isn't a baby anymore. I didn't realize how much I love, love, love that time with him. It being easy was just a nice bonus. (And I do realize how very blessed I am to have had a pretty smooth breastfeeding experience. I know many friends who had many bumps along the road. And they rocked it like rockstars, challenges and all!)

I feel pressure to wean him. I feel like I'm getting vibes like, Um are you going to be doing this until he's learning multiplication? Of course, this could all be in my head. I'm just getting asked a lot about when he will be completely weaned. And my answer is, I don't know. At first that stressed me out. But now I see that it's ok. It's up to me and Asher when we will be completely finished nursing. Breastfeeding is definitely the best thing for him and I'm very proud to have been able to keep it up this long. It's one of the most awesome things I've ever done.

I really want to let Asher take the lead from here. That's what feels most natural to me. He's already cutting his night feedings short and falling asleep cuddled up with me instead of nursing. (Ok so this has only happened the last few nights, but still.) I think it's his way of saying, It's ok, Momma. When we stop this breastfeeding thing, I'm still going to snuggle with you. I promise, see?

All of this to say, weaning will mean more freedom (good). It will mean sharing more of the bedtime and feeding responsiblity with Rusty (good). But, I really have no idea how to go about it the 'right' way. Like all things breastfeeding and motherhood, there are no real rules. You just gotta feel your way through it (good and bad). I am going to miss it (sad).

She who said she'd never breastfeed. She who then surprisingly found determination to get this breastfeeding thing to work after a rocky start. She who now loves every minute of nursing her son. She who is sad, so sad, to see this phase go. She who is going to follow her son's lead from here on out, and try not to worry or overthink it. And she's going to treasure every minute along the way.

p.s. For the curious minds. Yes, he has teeth. No, he doesn't bite me. (I get asked that a lot.)

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