I’ve been seeing a lot of posts about weaning around the blogosphere lately and it has me thinking about my own breastfeeding relationships with my children.
I loved nursing Molly, despite a somewhat rocky start (she had a shallow latch). But once we got the swing of things, it was great! She was a huge fan of the boob, needing it not just for food but for comfort and sleep as well. Baby tired? Boob. Baby bump her head? Boob. Baby sick? Boob. There were the moments of annoyance of course, where she would pull off and on, kick me and pick at me but nothing insurmountable. I nursed her until she was 16 months. The weaning process was gradual, starting when I went back to work three days a week when she was a year old. I found out I was pregnant the week before I started work and not only was I not interested in tandem nursing, but I wanted a bit of a break before committing to it for a other year and a half or more, so I’m happy things started winding down when they did.
Things are a bit different with Oliver. Yes, I still love nursing for the ease and convenience but the first few months with him were very difficult as we struggled with both my fast flow and his reflux. He would cry in frustration and in pain. As a result, Oliver isn’t as attached as much as Molly was. He no longer has the reflux issues and my flow finally regulated but he doesn’t seek my breast for comfort and only half the time will he nurse to sleep. At four months he started refusing the right breast altogether. I tried and tried for another few to get him to nurse and would pump to keep my supply up on that side, but finally gave up just before Christmas. I’m lopsided now but at least there’s no upset anymore. And then there’s the dairy. Part of his reflux and gas problem was a dairy intolerance, so on Canada Day I began a dairy free diet, as much as possible. And dammit, it worked. It’s like knowing you lose weight by ditching all the yummy but bad for you foods. Not fair! But my sanity and my little boys happiness was worth it! I noticed a difference right away.
I think the key difference between breastfeeding Molly and Oliver is my feelings on it. Oliver was 10 months yesterday, which means that between him and Molly, I’ve been nursing for 26 months. I’m ready to be done. If we stopped tomorrow I’d be sad but happy to have my boobs back. Because of our rocky start I don’t seem to have the emotional attachment like I did with Molly. However, my beliefs regarding nursing keep me from initiating the weaning process myself:
I still believe in nursing on demand.
I still believe in night feedings at this age, even when people say babies ‘shouldn’t’ need it (who’s to say if my baby is hungry other than my baby).
I still believe it’s the best nutrition for him for another few months at least.
I still believe it’s the best choice for us.
And because of those beliefs I’m hoping for a similar weaning process that Molly had. Gradual and completely his decision. Don’t offer, don’t refuse, that will be my motto soon.