The End is Near…About Weaning

LM2 is one!!!!

I can’t believe it. He’s starting to walk. He’s eating on his own. He’s laughing at me when he does something he’s not supposed to – ie- throw crackers and milk on the floor and watch me clean it up.

Since we’ve reached the 1-year mark, it means bye-bye breastfeeding for me. Anyone who knows me knows that I have a love/hate relationship with breastfeeding. I believe in its nutritional value, and I mostly believe in its cuddle/comfort value for baby. But it’s kind of a stinky process. Let’s be honest. Breastfeeding is when your child is stuck on your nipples several times throughout the day. And when he’s not down there often enough, you start to get engorged, which is super painful. It’s a mixed bag.

The term “mixed bag” seems the most appropriate term for many things in life nowadays. Everything is wonderful and challenging, joyful and hard, frustrating and a blessing.

As I approach the start of the weaning process with this perfect little new man in our lives, I am so excited to gain a piece of myself back. Dropping our feedings means I don’t need to tote a breast pump, ice, and a cooler. I always feel like the drunk toting her own mixers in a restaurant (cuz I feel like I need to bring that little cooler everywhere!!!) Weaning means I don’t have to slip away and whip my boobs out at any given time if I’m with LM2 (even if I have great boobs that are worth sharing (I’m half kidding)).

But it also means our baby is growing. He’s not quite a baby anymore. He’s not interested in nursing and is ready! He’s looking for cups and food and the refrigerator!!! (Which is so cute and horrifying, because he keeps grabbing stuff on the lower shelf, like, a tub of sour cream, yikes!) And it means those quiet, private times we had together are going to change. We’ll find new ways to be close and cuddly without the presence of my knockers.

Things change.

And whenever a change presents itself in my life, I get a little scared, a little teary (ok, maybe a lot teary), and a little uncomfortable (yeah, I probably meant to write “a lot uncomfortable”).

I know there is a hormonal component at play here, too. At least, I love using that as an excuse: “Oh, Honey, it’s my HORMONES!!!” is a more common phrase in my home than I’d like to admit. But it is true that my body will change and react to the weaning process. My body chemistry is shifting. Some engorgement is inevitable. The fear of mastitis is always on the mind. And there is a piece of grief that rears its ugly head in the middle of all this. Here’s why: without sounding too full of myself, I’ll admit that part of me feels like I’ve been this life-source for LM2, as I once was for LM1, and now that time is simply…..OVER. And whenever anything is over, we grieve. Even if just a little bit.

I think what I learned from my process with LM1 is that we (baby and me) need to take our time with weaning. I like to drop one feeding once a week, at least. And together, LM2 and I will decide where we stand and what we need. I can feel that he’s ready. He’s more ready than I am. So, I need to do what’s best and let the process unfold. (Sidenote: Reading Emma Donaghue’s Room this past week was NOT the best idea on my part– even if it was completely unintentional.  I did not know there would be any discussion of breastfeeding in there. (It was a wonderful book, though!!!))

So, I’m sure the process will go as its meant to be. Apologies to those who see me crying randomly– it’s likely not you, it’s me!

If you’re a mommy working on weaning, here is a really super article that felt well-informed and helpful to me. And, as always, feel free to share your own experiences! I love to hear how you weaned, how the process went for you, and what’s new in your world.

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