My boobs have had the adventure of a lifetime: breast feeding. That’s what they are there for, right? Not just fabulous ornaments to entice our partners and add a nice silhouette to your fashion ensemble. No, these boobs have been working hard-day in and out, all night and whenever little man had interest. My philosophy has been to follow his cues, feed him on demand and have no restriction to access… I have been a “D” machine (his loving little name for nursing).
And now I am weaning.
I have poured over the internet for the “best” ways to wean, read numerous articles from other moms and various “experts.” Guess what? THIS IS NOT A SCIENCE. Like all choices in parenting, there is no right answer, no proper way to transition from full-access to denial of le breast.
So, as usual the best method is to follow one’s own instinct and heart about the matter and see how it goes.
My original intention was to nurse Archer, on demand until two. He is nearly 21 months and I feel successful and proud of my efforts…..and SOOOO ready to stop.
I don’t want to emotionally traumatize the little guy and am doing it slowly, as is comfortable. He eats, a lot, and has gradually decreased his interest but not completely. We started implementing distraction during the day and evening. “Look at this book” or “play with this toy” or “eat some yogurt”.. you get the picture. I’ve been nursing him when he wakes up, before he takes a nap (or really, more like trying to get him to take a nap) and before bed. Occasionally I have nursed in the middle of the night- he sleeps with me or his dad rather than in a crib-which has been very convenient until this moment of transition. I find it super helpful for other people to be involved in this process. John taking him to sleep with him, my older girls distracting him, grandparents and very soon some overnights away. I will say, that when its just me and little dude its a bit more challenging and there are little “D!” tantrums and tears. Hopefully this will subside-soon. I’m doing my very best to console him, distract him and let him know that today there will be “D” before nap time, and before bed. But the menu is changing and within weeks, “D” will no longer be served.
There is an emotional element of losing this aspect of our relationship-lil’ Archer and me. He not only obtains immune support and nourishment, he derives great pleasure and comfort from nursing. And here I go taking that away…. so the way I am attempting to transition this aspect is by showing him that we can cuddle almost anytime. Rather than nursing that extra bit in the middle of the night, last night for example, I placed the skin of my cheek on his face where my breast would be and held him. This seems to work fairly well. Its not necessary for the breast to be in his mouth to receive the skin contact and emotional connection (shocking, I know).
I’m not a big fan of conventional milk. I’m a primal/paleo lady and occasionally eat dairy in the form of goat cheese etc. but the idea of giving him milk in a sippy cup is not my ideal way to transition. Calcium and fats, vitamin D and protein are better taken in whole foods, herbs and sunshine, and good ol’ fashioned animal bits. Luckily, he has no taste for milk and absolutely loves all of the rest (except he does have a penchant for the sugary milk at the bottom of his dad’s cereal bowl–thanks, John! haha).
He nurses less when his belly is full…. so I keep him stocked up on proteins and fats, berries and fruits and lots and lots of H2O. He’s a big boy and requires a lot of food to fuel that growing little body!
So, as I head toward the end of this beautiful, primal, connected, patience-trying, at times exhausting experience I’m pretty proud of what I have accomplished. 21 months of being physically available and emotionally present. Giving my entire self to this little beautiful creature to ensure his health and happiness (and increased IQ). I struggled through the bullshit of everyone suggesting that I stop at various junctures of the process, add formula-blah blah blah. I pumped and nursed, pumped and stored, pumped and pumped and took fenugreek capsules, placenta capsules, drank lactogenic herbs, ate lactogenic foods, took supplements, nursed in public, made my own hooter hider (yay), connected with and received support from other nursing mom’s when I was unsure or worn down, defended my choice to nurse as long as I have, endured scrutiny (ridiculous, by the way) … I did it all!
And now I am almost done. So, thank you breasts for all your fabulous accomplishments! Here’s to hoping you are still ornamental!