Breastfeeding in general and certainly weaning is a topic that feels very personal to me and while it's been in the forefront of my thoughts for a few months I haven't written much about it. I worry about opening the door to judgement (which I've gotten plenty of in my daily life, blissfully this community has been nothing but supportive). I also worry that other women will think I am judging them if they've made different choices than I have. Whether you never breastfed your baby at all or you did it for a week or are still doing it at two years, it's your body and your baby. I firmly believe that what is right and healthy for each family is different and those individual choices demand equal respect.
early may 2011
I did and do choose to breastfeed. It didn't come easily to me and since Little Smith was born a month early, it didn't come easily to him either. We worked hard for months and months to get it down to a science. Looking back though, it was a deep bonding experience and evolved into a special ritual for us.
I've certainly received some negative comments about breastfeeding past the one year mark, but it feels natural to me. I don't know when I would have chosen to wean Little Smith if it was all up to me but the reality is that at sixteen months (plus a bit), he is slowly but surely weaning himself.
I know that there are those who don't think children chose to wean. I am certainly not an expert, but I can see that this kid is willfully electing to cut down on nursing and would be happy to give it up entirely if I never offered.
I do offer. For the last couple months I have offered frequently and been refused all but morning and evening. I've tried going to a quiet space and he just has no interest and clamors to get off or sits there with his face pressed against my boob hanging out and waiting for me to free him... that is some serious rejection. Now he's cutting back at night and even getting faster in the morning and my body isn't producing much milk.
Most people would wonder why I keep trying at all. It seems to be the best possible outcome that we breastfed for over a year and now have gradually weaned without tears... from him. But there are tears for me. It isn't just about him growing up or some strange need to keep nursing him, it's knowing that this particular bond that has been so much a part of our daily life is going to end forever. It's so final.
I know that Little Smith will soon be fully weaned. We might string things out for another couple of months but it's coming, faster than I really wanted or was ready for. I am already finding new ways to comfort him and put him to sleep at night. It's been a very gradual and natural transition, but change is always a struggle for me. I'm pleased that my son seems to tackle change with far more grace than his mama.