Thursday, November 19, 2009

I'm a Weaner

I will try to be brief, but feel free to skip this if you're not a breastfeeding fan. An extended breastfeeding fan. This is my abbreviated chronicle of my weaning times.

I planned to wean Malachi between 12 and 13 months. The "thing to do" was to wean at a year, but I didn't want to cut him back too drastically, so by 12 months I had him down to 4x a day and figured I'd cut one out per week until he was 13 months and we were done. Except that the time came and he really wasn't fond of weaning, and neither was I. I didn't realize a person could just keep nursing. How ridiculous that sounds now! So I tried weaning him many times, and was unsuccessful many times. I even snuck nursing him when we were out of town one time, and when Alif walked in he said, "what are you doing?" He was asking out of surprise, not condemnation, but the fact is that I felt guilty about nursing my son for so much longer than was normal. I had another son when he was 20 months, and by around age 2 Malachi had just tapered off and wasn't nursing any more. His weaning went largely unnoticed by us both. Sorry I don't have a picture of him at weaning age - I was still using *film* and don't feel like trying to figure out scanning and all that.

Here's Graham right around his weaning time. He was two and a half. I had been nursing for over four years, and I was pretty much ready to not be nursing any more. Graham was (and is) such a creature of habit, and he was totally thrilled with the 10 seconds he got on each side when he awoke in the morning. Literally - I would count from one to ten on each side, and he'd pop off, happy. Well, you'd think there would be hardly anything left, but I was excruciatingly engorged after he weaned, and that was no fun, but he was fine with weaning, as far as I remember.Caris was almost three when I weaned her. I was going on a trip to Scotland and needed to not be nursing her, because there was no way I was going to pump for 8 days when she was almost three. Not gonna happen. But it was hard. I shed A LOT of tears. SHE shed a lot of tears. It makes me tearful even now, reading again about it and remembering how hard it was. Then I read the updates and it's so encouraging to see that it really did get easier.
And now here I am, being a weaner again. I cut Canaan back to twice a day about a month ago, because it was just too frustrating having him whining for mum-mums all day long and even sometimes at night. Well, that plan didn't go all that great because he just kept whining for it. A lot. A few nights ago he crawled into bed with Alif and I just after 12 and cried on and off the entire night. I just kept telling him no, and he kept crying. It was miserable. Alif called me from work the next morning to see how I was doing after such a long night and I said, "I'm done. I'm just done."

If he would happily nurse 1-2 times a day, I would love to nurse him at least until his Birthday in February, and wean him pretty quickly after that. I wanted to make it all the way to age three with him, and it's stupid to wean him now, in the midst of flu season, but this crying and whining is just too disruptive to our life. It's not fair to him, me or the rest of the family. So basically, I think I have only nursed him two times since then. He hasn't nursed at all in the last two days. Yesterday when I put him to bed, I had a little cry - it was the first entire day I hadn't nursed him. When Alif and I sat down at the end of the night I told him so, and asked if he was a little sad that I'm not nursing the baby any more. He knows me well and assured me that he isn't. I'd have crumpled for sure if he'd admitted that it is a little sad. LOL

Canaan has had a very, very hard time with the adjustment. The first day I didn't give him mum-mums after nap, there was almost a solid hour of crying no matter what I did. I promised to buy him a very big sucker from Target that he'd seen and he got excited about that exchange - until the middle of that first night, when he cried, "I don't want suckers actually, I want mum-mums!" Heartbreaking!!

I've pumped 3x to relieve the throbbing pressure, and the mum-mums are slowly adjusting. I'm both glad they're less sore and sad that they're starting to realize that there is no need for milk.

Oh precious boy, I love you! I am so sad that this is hard for you, but it is exciting seeing you growing into a big boy. Please don't ever stop being my cozy baby. My heart can't take it.


  1. Oh man, I got a little teary reading this! I looooove that you are such a nursing advocate- and that it's an important part of your and your kids lives! You really are a resource to me and many others- as is this post! Such a landmark time, that weaning. I'm so glad I have your example of not weening right at a year cause frankly, it ain't happenin over her. Lol

  2. Oh this makes me sad. Last night when I was rocking with Bean upstairs while she had her sippy of non-mammal milk I was so teary and realized how much I miss nursing her. She actually started to get that whole milk comma thing going on and everything. I haven't seen it in so long! Luckily I think because of the pregnancy I didn't have any fullness or anything like that when Bean weaned.

  3. ahh what a great post Emily, you are such a good mom!!!! hey now you can have a baby again and nurse some more =)

  4. Awww, what a sweet post! :)

  5. Thanks guys! I nursed him today for about 30 seconds and he was a new boy after! LOL

  6. I have been on the same roller coaster for about 2 months now. He will go 3 days without nursing and then act like he is just gonna die if I don't get them out right now! Hahahaha! So, I get them out. :)

  7. Look at them! All darling weaners!