Sunday, May 20, 2012

I thought about weaning.....

When I was pregnant with Andrew, I knew I would breastfeed, but I wasn't sure for how long. So, I set goals for myself. Make it to a year. Make it to eighteen months. Reassess situations, moods, feelings, pregnant or not.....I didn't have a timeline for weaning but I wanted nursing to continue as long as we were both happy with it. Then my son was born. Within an hour of birth he latched, perfectly. Two days later my milk came in. I didn't want to even think about weaning.

But then...

I thought about weaning at 3.5 months we battled supply issues due to stress, mommy having bad food poisoning/dehydration and Andrew having rotavirus. Weaning him onto formula popped into my head more than once, but as quickly as it popped in, it also popped out! No, we could do this.

I thought about weaning him at 17 months I got mastitis. Ouch. After all, he was nearly a year and a half. But the best way to get rid of mastitis is to nurse, nurse, we did.

I thought about weaning him at 18 months my husband and I went on a cruise. We were gone for nine days and I was positive it would happen while we were gone. I pumped religiously while on the ship, donating my "stash" to a momma friend who lived in the city our ship returned to, who was adopting soon. My son nursed within an hour of us being reunited.

I thought about weaning at 2 years. Nursing a busy toddler is hard. There is a physical aspect of it, the gymnurstics, the demand, the constant need to nurse. I was also beginning to get the weird looks and rude comments about nursing an older baby. For my own sanity, Andrew and I came up with rules about nursing. If mommy said to wait, we would wait. There was going to be no doing flips while attached to my breast. Pinching and hair pulling had to stop. Andrew was happy and compliant with the "rules". So we kept nursing.

I thought about weaning at 2.5 years. It was December and the holidays were hectic. I figured if they were hectic for me, they must be hectic for little man too. So we kept nursing and I decided to reassess after the New Year.

I thought about weaning on January 12th, 2012. I woke up that morning and wondered "Hmmm, where on earth is my period? It should start soon." Actually, it should've started eight days prior to that. After taking a test in the bathroom (which immediately came back positive), the first thing I did after getting over my initial shock was see my son, two years and six months and four days old and wonder how we'd survive pregnancy, nursing relationship in tact. One day at a time I said, one day at a time.

I thought about weaning on February 7th, 2012. While in the shower, I passed out and fell out of the shower and onto the bathroom floor. I hadn't been able to keep down food in days. I threw up everything, including water. While at the ER receiving fluids and a U/S to check on the baby, I told my husband I might have to wean Andrew.

I thought about weaning on February 9th, 201, when I realized my son had weaned. The last time he nursed was before his nap on Monday. We had kissed, snuggled and he had fallen asleep nursing. It was now Thursday evening and he hadn't asked for it. And he never did again, except to be silly.

I posted the following on my FB status:

"There is a part of my life, a defining part of motherhood that has ended. My son has weaned, two days shy of 32 months. When I nursed him on Monday, we did our usual "I love yous", kisses and snuggles...I didn't realize it would be our last time. In light of everything going on, it is probably best that my body not take any more demand at the moment. But there is still a twinge of sadness with it all, as well as a sweetness and fondness of the memories I have from nursing Andrew. 

I praise God for giving me the ability to nourish and comfort my child, regardless of how our society feels about it or views it. 

Psalms: 22:9 - "Yet you are he who took me from the womb; you made me trust you at my mother’s breasts." 
Psalm 131:2 - "But I have stilled and quieted my soul; like a weaned child with its mother, like a weaned child is my soul within me." 

It's now mid-May. Andrew will be three in a few weeks and I know he remembers nursing, because he tells me he does. He asks me to nurse his animals and tells me that's how I will feed the baby, which is arriving in late August/early September. He tells me he got milk from "neh-nehs" and that it was yummy. I hope he always remembers the comfort he felt during nursing.

I haven't thought much about weaning since then. My appetite has returned and I'm trying to gain back the 30lbs I lost during the beginning of my pregnancy. My husband is busy in training for his new job, I'm spending my days with my family and friends, knowing the fall brings many changes. Thankfully weaning won't be one of them, since we've crossed that bridge, gracefully and gently.

What I have thought about is how grateful I am. To God for providing me with the ability to nourish a child at my breast. To my parents who encouraged me. To my friends who supported me. To my husband, who thought I was crazy at first but defended me and now sees the benefits of "full term nursing". I'm just thankful and blessed.

  Thank you for visiting the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (and many thanks to Joni Rae of Tales of a Kitchen Witch for designing our lovely button):

(This list will be live and updated by afternoon May 21 with all the carnival links.)


  1. Kym- What a beautiful post. How blessed you and your children are. Thank you for sharing your story, and for those lovely psalms!

  2. Wow, what a beautiful story of weaning! I love how you frame it as a series of choices to continue going. I looked at it that way with my own nursling, too. Wishing you well with your pregnancy, birth, and nursing a new little one! <3

  3. Oh, what a great way to set up your post, I love it! I so, so relate, too -- there were so many times with each of my kids where I wondered if weaning was near. I, too, did not know when my last nursing session with my eldest was, and it was so so bittersweet when I realized it. Weaning in the midst of pregnancy is really hard for mamas, I think! It was so for me anyway! Thanks for the beautiful post.

  4. Kym this post is absolutely gorgeous. We all think about weaning from time to time, it's natural. It's good to check in and assess where we're at (and where our nurslings are) - breastfeeding is a relationship that affects both mama and child. Thank you for sharing your journey!