Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Weaning happens

Most of you know about my ardent support of breastfeeding. And due to this, most know that Maddox has been breastfed on demand for over 2.5 years. I have been committed to nursing him until he was ready to wean himself. This, of course, has led many to wonder just how he would go off to college with his mother's boob in his mouth. Well, worry not! The wondrous transition has truly begun! I have had many comments in my arsenal to use in response to questions such as "when will you wean him?". Like, "I don't know, ask him" - when he obviously wasn't talking, "He is weaning" - since weaning begins with the introduction to solids, "I don't know, 30?" - when I just want to freak someone out. But the truth is that I have felt ready to move forward lately and have been gently (key there is gently) encouraging him to wean. We got him to give up the middle of the night nursings very easily about 2 months ago. Then this week, we got him to take daddy reading books before bed in replacement of nursing. I say "we" because this has very much been a family initiative... a very slow, very thoughtful, and very sensitive one. Aaron has stepped in to offer his chest, lap, and arms instead of mine. I have offered more hugs, kisses, and snuggles during the day. And Maddox, well he just stopped asking at night.
It is easy to joke right now. I am in a very positive mood about this at the moment. But in all reality, it is a very special and sad time. I remember the first time I witnessed a 2.5 year old nursing. It was at my first La Leche League meeting when M was 3 months old. I was flabbergasted!! I couldn't IMAGINE nursing a child that age. I never had the intention to... it just happened. It isn't his age that makes me ready to move on even now. It is just time. Every nursing couple has a time when it is just right to bring it to an end. I didn't set out to nurse for 2.5 years, but I wouldn't change it at all! Nothing in all of this world and all of this glorious life has seemed more right or more natural or even more rewarding than nursing my son until he was ready to be done. I know there are so many that will never "get it" and that is quite all right.
So, anyways, I was feeling very sad about this the other night and I wrote something that I will share here. I am happy that he still seems to be nursing before his nap. I don't think that will last long though since I am only at home with him during a nap about 2 days a week. So, in the next few weeks, our nursing will likely end completely, we will find another way to love and bond, and I will rest for a bit. And I am sure I will think fondly of the next chance I will have to nurse a child of mine.
I am sitting here in tears because this is the first night that my 29 month old son went to bed without asking to nurse. We have been nursing on demand and have had a wonderful nursing relationship. We had a lot of problems in the beginning, but ended up with a really rewarding experience.
Recently, I have felt ready to move on and wean, but it is still bittersweet. It is heart breaking to not have him at the breast and snuggling with me at night. He is such an amazing and independent little boy.
As much as I think I am ready to wean him, during moments like this I feel like I am not even close. What I am starting to realize is that it is not about me at all. This is a gift I have chosen to give my son, the gift of me. It is about him and what he needs and my role is to meet those needs in as loving a way as I can.
So, these are tears of sadness, for losing my baby, but tears of joy for finding the young man he is becoming.

1 comment:

McCool said...

Crystal - great post! Just when I think I am the only one out there nursing a toddler, I come across your blog (courtesy of you posting a comment on mine!). So glad - it can me a lonely road sometimes! Congrats to you all for such a great nursing experience!