Monday, February 10, 2014

A Tale of Two Weaners

I always said, even before I was pregnant, that I would breastfeed for a year or until my baby got teeth. My son has four teeth, turns one this month and we are still breastfeeding. Now, we were lucky enough that the two top teeth didn't erupt until last week, so it's not like I have been nursing a piranha for six months, but we have had our share of love bites and teaching moments. As the year mark started to sneak up on us, I realized that I wasn't particularly ready to stop. He was losing interest, slowly but surely, but this mama wanted to keep nursing for another year. Then, nature helped make our decision.

A few weeks ago, I was sick (with some respiratory crud that I am fairly certain got brought home from daycare) and at the same time was getting my first period in nineteen months. Nineteen glorious months. Those lovely things, combined with work stress, caused my supply to plummet. I also realized that C was creating less of a demand on my supply making it dwindle. I came to peace with our mutual decision. I decided to take a middle ground: Keep nursing when he wants it but taper off pumping at work and provide mostly whole organic cow milk while we are apart. 

With that decision came all sorts of fears and questions...
  • Will he still want to nurse when I'm there?
  • What if he doesn't want the cow milk?
  • Will he be able to sleep without nursing first?
  • What if he doesn't really want to stop?
  • ...and more...
We are a week in to this transition and all is going well. He nurses when he wants and I've dropped pumping sessions at work down to once per 12 hour shift. The great thing is that even though I'm not busting out of my top at work, I am still full in the morning and evening when he wants to nurse. Boobies are so smart.

photo by Tara Star Photography
I got a wide range of comments from friends and family when I shared our decision, ranging from congratulations on getting my body back to myself, commendation for making it so far and condolences that it was ending so soon. I'm still not sure what to make of all of it. On one hand, I am very proud that I managed to exclusively breastfeed my son for as long as I have. Yes, it's nice to be able to leave him with his dad or grandma for longer periods now that he is not so dependent on me, but I already miss him not being so dependent on me. I am glad that he is growing up and becoming more independent but I want him to stay my baby forever. One thing I'm not sure how to take are the condolences. I am happy to say that I provided my son with the best nutrition I could for as long as he wanted it...and he's not done yet! We will keep going as long as he wants to nurse.

Weaning can be difficult, but so far, we are having a smooth transition and I hope it continues. I secretly (or not so secretly) hope that if he is completely weaned by the time baby #2 gets here that he comes back to the breast so I can tandem feed!

What are your breastfeeding goals? Are they different now than they were when you started? Now that you're maybe closer to the goal that you set?

                                                                   Til next time, mamas.

photo by Tara Star Photogtaphy
Keep Calm and Nurse On

1 comment:

  1. My goal with Kyla is two years. With Mason it was suppose to be one and one. Which turned into 18 months which turned in 2 which turned into 22 months. I was more than ready by 18 months but weaning is SO hard when they want nothing to do with it :(