I don’t usually do disclaimers but know how sensitive breast feeding is with many Mamas. I never want people to feel excluded from my blog so let me get this out on the table right away and you can decide if you would like to proceed with this post: 1. I support a woman’s choice to feed her baby however she wants. I have ZERO problem with choosing to feed formula over breast milk. 2. I’m a product of the modern miracle of formula and without it I would not be here today (my mother was not able to breast feed). 3. I hate the Breast is Best campaign and how it makes women feel. 4. Breast feeding was important to me for many reasons and I’m so thankful that I was able to do it for this long.
In this post I discuss my complex emotions over weaning, my fear that my child might not be properly nourished if I wean at 1-year and the pride I personally feel in having nursed for a full year after needing scientific help to both conceive and deliver my child. I love and respect all women who keep these tiny tummies full in whatever way necessary. It’s hard fucking work no matter how you spin it. We need to remember that and celebrate regardless. xoxo
I’ve started this post at least a dozen times. My inability to finish a post about weaning is a pretty good indicator of where my emotions stand on it. Let’s go through some pros and cons, shall we?
Pros to Weaning:
- I get my body back.
- I get my time back. Currently I try not to be away from Sabine for more than 3-4 hours at a time. More than that and I become uncomfortable and have to duck in a gross public bathroom and pump.
- Starting my business in August will be WAY easier and much less stressful on Sabine if she is weaned.
- No. More. Pump.
- No more public nursing. I don’t mind this at all, but have a few friends who do and I am so tired of feeling uncomfortable when I whip out a boob to feed my child who refuses to be covered up.
Cons to Weaning:
- No more snuggly nursing time.
- How on earth do I soothe a sad baby without the milk maker?
- Extended nursing is GOOD for the child and I think that drinking cows milk is a little creepy.
- I get my body back. Yes, this is a pro and a con. No more nursing means no more ignoring the fact that I don’t cycle and we don’t have sex. No more nursing means the parade of doctors begins again. Ugh.
- It is terribly convenient to just pack my boobs when we go out! Weaning means more planning.
But how exactly do I go about weaning without causing drama and strife. I want weaning to be a mutual decision. I want Sabine to feel confident enough in herself that she is ready to give nursing up. I don’t want a Cry It Out-type weaning approach. (I am well aware I might end up eating those words… much like my delicious, delicious sleep training words!) That said, Sabine is SO boob-oriented that I fear she won’t be “happy” to wean until she is 5 and, no offense to the long term breast feeders out there, nursing way into toddlerhood is not for me.
I consider trying to cut back our nursings to morning and night only, and maybe one afternoon feed for the first few months. I’m not sure how my supply will respond to this, though. Currently Sabine still nurses every 2-3 hours when awake and sometimes she asks for her milk maker every hour or so. During days with hourly nursings the milk is less about a hungry tummy and much more about feeling safe, secure and “checking in” with Mama. I love these checkins, but wish she would adopt a new way!
Of course, no post on weaning would be complete without a little discussion on all the nay-sayers when it comes to extended breast feeding. I am ashamed to say that a lot of my desire to wean stems from society and all the comments, glances and “discussions” that will ensue as Sabine gets older. I’ve already had friends and family ask how long I plan to “do that” and then make comments about how weird it is to nurse past one. I feel really uncomfortable when these topics come up and almost guilty, which is RIDICULOUS and completely against my usual personality.
How do/did you feel about weaning? Any tips for Sabine and I? Do you think it is realistic that we can successfully cut back to morning and night nursing only? What do you think about extended breast feeding and how do you handle the people who, um, are rather rude about it?