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Sunday, November 02, 2008

More thoughts on "Weaned"

More thoughts sparked by Mommy's comment on my Weaned post. (For a little background, you can read my 09/07 Why is Sammy still nursing post.)

I only intended to nurse Sammy up to 12m in the beginning, and not one day past that, but obviously changed my mind along the way. Due to my own food intolerances and all the things I had to cut out of my diet for a year and a half to even get pregnant, I was adamant not to give him (or any other baby of mine) any formula. It was as much a gut feeling as anything else, but it turned out to be the right decision for him, as he is allergic to both milk and now soy, too. (The hospital did give him some formula after birth for low blood sugar. This caused him to not want to nurse at all for the first 24+ hours, and projectile vomit the contents of his stomach about 12 hours later. That only reconfirmed my decision never to let him have formula.)

I have struggled with forcing him to wean from the time I was pg with Katie. The older he got, the more I struggled with it. It had nothing to do with the pressure and negative comments I got from both people close to me and people who should have kept their opinions to themselves. It was really all about my own unenjoyment of nursing at that point. I have a friend who says her favorite age to nurse a kid is 2-3. I can not relate to that at all. I loved nursing my babies. I never loved nursing my toddlers, except for the instant meltdown-calming effects. It did not physically bother me to nurse 1 year old Katie as much as it did 1 year old Sammy. (I think because her back teeth do not have as many enamel problems as his.) But by the time Katie turned 2, I was near ready for her to wean, too.

I did try to force Sammy to wean at some point in the last year. It must have been in the late April and May timeframe. He was only nursing at bedtime, nursing him has never been comfortable since he got molars (and he got them early!), and it just seemed like a good idea for my own sanity. (I later found out I was pregnant, and must have been having a natural aversion reaction to nursing.) It actually turned out to be a terrible idea. We had some semi-serious behavior issues pop up, related to what must have been him feeling rejected. I had to re-read Mothering Your Nursing Toddler, give him lots of extra love and attention in other ways, and just endure what little nursing he was doing for the sake of his healthy emotional development. Luckily, I didn't have to endure it for too long. Unlike the other time I nursed him while pregnant, this time he was old enough to understand that his nursing was hurting me, and big enough to realize that he didn't really need to nurse but a minute or two (or sometimes 10 seconds!) to get whatever emotional connection/comfort he was looking for. Then it was less than 3.5 months to the time he nursed for the very last time. I'm not even entirely sure when that was... (That was a loooong 3.5 months, though! Nursing while pregnant is not exactly fun.)

Sometimes I think I "stuck to my beliefs" out of sheer laziness. It was much easier to let them nurse to sleep than try to change our bedtime habits. Or let them nurse to calm down instead of trying to substitute some other, unfamiliar comfort. Other times it really was that IN THEORY I totally agreed with the child-led weaning philosophy. And even though the in practice part of it was very hard on me, I still persevered. And just waited for them to be finished. (Both with that session, and with nursing altogether.)

So, yes, it is definitely okay to feel "waivery." I felt it nearly every day for the past 1.5-2 years. I think as long as you are basing your decisions on what is logically the best choice for you and your nursling and the rest of your family - not your emotions of the moment - then that is the best you can do. For everyone involved.

7 comments:

Kerry said...

While I can say I "feel sad" that my baby is no longer a baby but now a raging out of control typical toddler...I am done with this nursing business too!

Zachary nurses for less than 8 seconds at a time when he asks to nurse during the daylight hours. He totally gave up night nursing and middle of the nights (in fact he stopped that cold turkey when I said that my nurseys were tired one night...and has slept through the night ever since then!) His one time of day that we still snuggle and nurse is first thing in the morning...and that is becoming shorter and shorter every day. He skipped it one morning a few weeks back :) I see our nursing relationship coming to a close...soon. And that makes me smile a whole lot more than it makes me sad.

Mommy to Ander and Wife to Box said...

Good post. I'm jealous of those who enjoy nursing their babies.

"It had nothing to do with the pressure and negative comments I got from both people close to me and people who should have kept their opinions to themselves." -mathochist

Aren't these often the SAME people? ;)

Mathochist said...

Kerry, yeah, it sounds like he is almost done. Hang in there! If you ever get to LLL, you might check out the "How Weaning Happens" book. (I think that was the name of it!)

Mommy, I guess you could take it that way, that they are the same people. What I meant by it was that the people who were NOT close to me ought to have kept their opinions to themselves! I actually value those close to me expressing their opinion -- as long as they realize their opinion is not likely to change my mind on something I have researched thoroughly and considered carefully!

What is it about nursing that you don't enjoy? I hope whatever it is, resolves itself soon for you.

Mommy to Ander and Wife to Box said...

I don't enjoy the being stuck sitting down for 45 minutes at a time and the initial pain of latching on. Oh, and the pooping while he nurses. Ick!

Fortunately, it's not stuff that makes me resent Loki, so we are toughing through.

Anonymous said...

Wow! These are some deep thoughts!

I first have to refelect a bit on my last week homeschooling my 7 year old and as we discussed creation we talked about How God created everything to take care of everything. Max was sharing his thoughts about beneficial bugs, rain water, sun light and of course had to share that even God made "cozy" to take care of babies.

At that moment I knew I was suceeeding at teaching him about creation and that we could close the book. Learning through life is a beautiful thing. I have said to more than a few friends that my son received an equvialent of 2 college courses in Child Development last year as we homeschooled with a brand new baby in the house.

For me nursing has had it's ups and downs and I will admit therir have been times that i am feeling touched out and ready for that paticular session to end. I would have to remind myself why did I choose this way of mothering to begin with?? Was it because...God made, to teach my child about completely giving ofyourself, obesity, bonding, to help with child spacing?? the reasons go on. Those were the dyas that I would pick up the phone and call a friend who was walking the same path and get some encouragement. It always helped to call a mama who was a few months ahead of me which would help me to remember that "Tomorrow brings a new day".

Max is now 7 and has not nursed for almost 2+ years. If you are doing the math...Yes he weaned when he was 5. I would have to say my favorite part is getting to watch him tend to his 1 year old baby sister anf guess what it is EXACTLY like I took care of him loving kindness, Empathetic, commpassionate and my favorit is quickly! He is so sensitive to her needs and wants and knows that the way he was tended to made him feel loved and respected! I know for a fact there were days that I wondereed will he ever wean? Willhe ever potty traing and even will he ever tie his shoes? All of them have happened and I had my fill and can honestly say I have loved it all. I am not saying there are not days that are physically or emotionally exhusting but what I am saying is I have been given the most important job in the world and that is to raise a child of God, instill a conscience within him. What a gift and the only way i can truly show God how greatful I am for this gift is to accept my vocation asa mother and do it to the best of my ability.

So at the end of the day your kitchen counters are cluttered, my toilets need scrubbed, laundry needs done, i did not make it to the gym..UGh I did not get any"thing" done today ...or did you? Did you hug your child when he fell down? Did you feed your child?Did you help your lil one get dressed today? Did you play with your children and tell them that you love them? Actually you got alot done today! It must make God so happy to see us taking care of these lil ones who need us so much! How Blessed we are to have been given this chance!! So as you feel stuck in a charir today as your infant nurses for close to an hour or your toddler asks to nurse for the 10th time since waking up and it is not even noon! Remind yourself that you are doing your part in cration..Taking care of the children whom God has entrusted to us! As you mother your child through breastfeeding today count yourself Blessed as you are the ONLY one who can do that for your child!!

BABIES ARE BORN TO BE BREASTFED!!

Mathochist said...

Mommy - He is 6w, right? I would think the pooping every time he eats will get better pretty soon, as his digestive system gets a little bigger. Both my kids were relatively fast nursers (25 min was long for them), so I can't relate to the 45 min thing. Has he been like that all along, or is it just now that he's going through the 6w growth spurt? Maybe you can get someone to help you learn how to nurse in your sling so you can do stuff around the house 1-handed while he's nursing? That's what I do when my kids are sick and need me to hold them but I absolutely have to get something done. You'll still need to support his weight a little with 1 arm. But the sling will keep him from falling or your arm from going numb from his weight.

Steph - thanks for the reminder on why I choose to parent my kids the way I do - to mirror God's love for them. And that what I think I need to get done may not always be what I really need to get done.

FloridaWife said...

Great post. I'm having all these thoughts NOW so it was good to see this.