Tuesday, May 29, 2012

On weaning

My 20 month old Baby Girl and I have been done breastfeeding for a few weeks now.

I haven't really wanted to talk about it.

I'm not sure why exactly.  I really do feel okay about the decision and about the way it happened.  I really don't think my beautiful readers friends will judge me or criticize me for weaning her. I just haven't been ready to put myself out there about this because I am afraid it will draw controversy, and for me nothing about this was political.  Every ounce of it was personal, and it was between me and my daughter and no one else.

I want to say I'm proud for making it to 19 months, for going as long as I did, but honestly I think that's going a little far. I don't think my choices are any more admirable or honorable than anyone else's, and if I get to this point again I can't say I'll necessarily do things the same way again.  The best I can say is that it is what I did, and I have no regrets, and Baby Girl and I turned out just fine.

In truth, I never really intended to nurse as long as I did.  Everyone told me to nurse on demand for the first year, and so I did.  And then we hit a year, and I said "Okay, now what do I do?"

And everyone kind of looked at me and said "Well, whatever do you mean?"

You either keep going, or you stop.


BG loved breastfeeding. It was pretty much her favorite activity. And well into her second year, she was tugging at my shirt at least 10 times a day.  When she learned to sign, her little cupped hand was asking for milk almost every time I looked at her.  Dang it, whose idea was it to teach her that sign anyway?

If I'm being honest, which is my intention, there were times I couldn't stand it. I resented it a little.  If I have any regrets at all, it's that I let myself continue to nurse in a way that made me annoyed at my baby for longer than I should have.  Because when they say "for as long as it's working for both mom and baby," well, the mom is an important part of that.

But at the same time, I still did love nursing her.  Maybe not quite  as often as she enjoyed it, but it was something that for me was worth continuing.

And then, when I was ready to night wean, I did.  It wasn't easy.  Several times I tried, and declared that I couldn't.  Looking back, I just don't think I was really ready or interested because boy, when I was ready, I just did it.

And then, when I couldn't stand being mommy on demand, I started telling her "not right now."  For a while, that was met with tantrums.  Then not.  She still asked from time to time, and you can't blame a girl for trying, but I'd just tell her no, and she'd move on.

And then one day she woke up in the morning and when she said "milk," I said "neh, let's just cuddle."  And she seemed okay with that, so we did.

And then one night at bedtime, I said "let's not do that tonight."  And we read an extra book.  And she didn't cry.  And then we were done.

Am I sad about it?  A little.  But at the same time, I was ready.  Really ready.  Is she sad about it?  Not so much that I can tell.  She still nestles her head in my chest.  She still gropes me when we're out sometimes. (Umm, does anyone know how to get her to stop doing that?)  She's a little clingier than she was.  

But she's still my little girl, and she's still her sweet happy charming self.  No one has been damaged, nothing has been lost.  Every moment we've had together still exists and is still as perfect as it was.

It's just time for the next thing.


  1. Wow, I am really impressed that you went as long as you did. I think that it is wonderful. I am also really impressed that you weaned when you were ready to because you are so right . . . the needs of the mom are just as important!

  2. I so needed to hear this. We are going through this process right now. We are down to one feed just before bedtime. I need to make that final decision myself. When it's not working for me anymore, then it's time.

    You trusted your instinct, and BG will continue to thrive and be her charming self. Hugs. I am glad you made the right decision for you.

  3. Oh honey. It's ok, but I know. I stopped at 16 months because I was mad. Not at all how I wished it had been.

  4. Hi, doll. I was happy to see this post show up in my reader because Jackson just weaned May 12. The last time he nursed was to sleep on May 11, at 2 years & 9 months. Sounds like a very similar experience to how you guys stopped.

    It's been almost 3 weeks, and the groping is still happening. My friend who also breastfed said that it actually doesn't stop for a very long time, so brace yourself. (Or invest in high-neck shirts!)

    And the clinginess? My word! Jax has ramped that up, too.

    Hugs, my friend. I'm going through the same thing with you. xoxo

  5. Good for you! I am proud of you.
    I had to throw in the towel at the 2 week mark to start steroids and I was crushed.
    I'm glad that you did this on your terms!

  6. It sounds like you did it all perfectly! I am proud of you.