Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Weaning

The youngest is weaning or perhaps weaned. She hasn't nursed in a day or two and we both seem pretty comfortable with it. It's been quite a while in coming -- slowly, slowly she stopped asking in the morning, in mid-afternoon, and then started biting me at naptime and bedtime after a few minutes to signal that she was done. She hasn't nursed a lot in a long time. She's 18 months old. Though I think nursing even longer is often best, I'm also all for following a child's lead on the subject, at least up to a point, but I do like to think it is generally a mutual decision.

I wasn't quite as happy when the now three year old weaned at 14 months, but I was pregnant and I didn't really want to tandem nurse, so I was going to have to let it happen eventually.

Generally these days, I don't think about myself as much of a Nipple Nazi, but I also don't get and never have understood people who set a specific weaning deadline for themselves and their kids. Why nurse for exactly a year or six months or whatever? Why not see how things go? I am pondering this especially these days as I see updates from an acquaintance on Facebook. First she was counting down the weeks until weaning was complete. Now she's sighing about how much easier it used to be to get her baby to sleep at night when she was nursing. Why wean then? Why not enjoy that time when getting the baby to sleep by nursing? Take the easy way.

After having weaned five children and 96 months of nursing under my belt, I know there are certain pleasures associated with not nursing, but in my experience kids stop on their own so soon. They don't keep it up forever. Every baby I thought I'd be nursing to sleep forever goes to bed all on their own now. They grow so fast and become independent so soon. The best snuggles disappear.

Don't force the snuggles and nursing smiles to vanish just because of an arbitrary deadline.

By the way, I'm not talking about you. Or you going back to work and pumping all the time. Or the person over there with constant illnesses. I'm talking about moms who are home with their babies and just feel like nursing is only for the one and younger set.

5 comments:

Lenise said...

I have to admit I was ready for Daniel to wean at 18 mos, but he didn't, so we didn't (until they put me on methotrexate >:P). The other 2 weaned earlier (probably b/c I was pregnant), so I wasn't really anticipating it. (Daniel wasn't thrilled that I went all cold turkey on him, but I took the meds b4 I thought through the implications, so I couldn't do much of anything else!)

Becky said...

I found that setting very, very short term goals was the best way to make it through the first month or so of nursing. When your boobs hurt and you haven't slept in days and baby is having a growth spurt, etc, etc, thinking "I'm just going to nursing through this nursing session" or "I'm just going to nurse until the end of the day," etc was the only way to look at it. Without prior experience and without knowing how much better it gets, thinking of continuing for 6 months or a year was just too overwhelming.

But, I would agree with your basic point. I don't really understand it once you've gotten over that hump and nursing has become this rewarding experience for both of you. I was ok with Charlie weaning around 14 months since I was also pregnant and dealing with similar concerns as you were but I was also sad when Megan chose cheerios over booby at 16 months.

Sarah said...

Well for Jake (my eldest) it was "I'll nurse for at least a few months." We lasted almost a year and a half and he basically weaned after my husband and I left him with Grandma for a weekend. And that's how it also worked for Nate. In both cases they were almost done, the weekend away just ended it for them.

As for the twins, well at 15 months Max was diagnosed with CF and it was easier just to end it and not try to deal with digestive enzymes and nursing. They wee both almost done so it was no big deal.

Patricia Tryon said...

Very well said, Jordana. This is a practical application of two ideas that I think are tremendously important in child rearing (and that I failed at, in so many ways):

1) HOW one parents in specific matters depends so much on WHOM one parents - one size fits one, and that one is constantly in the process of becoming another size!;

2) in parenting, the days can be long, but the years are so very short. I am almost sure this is nonsensical to many who are in the "days are long" period, but believe me that they are followed by long years to regret what one might have done differently and to try to make peace with that.

Musings of a Housewife said...

I totally agree, of course.
Hope all went well today with the surgery.

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