Friday, June 22, 2007

The Weaning Post

When my mind and body started doing screwy things over the last couple of months, the brain trust that I consult about most issues (made up of my mom, sister, aunt, a couple of cousins and a few select girlfriends) came to a consensus that the breastfeeding hormones were at odds with the regular hormones and it was resulting in chaos, especially certain times of the month. All of a sudden tons of friends were telling me stories of strange issues they had from long-term breastfeeding. This theory kind of correlated with something my beloved OB/Gyn mentioned at my last annual exam and I kind of went with it.

Problem was, at the time, Mr. Bunch was firmly ensconced in his 4-5 times a day nursing habit. What's worse is that he'd recently begun toddling around and would come grab my shirt whenever the urge struck him (so like a man!). To make matters more difficult (so like a man!) he likes neither cow's milk nor pacifiers. Spoiled baby!! I didn't think there would be any way to get him off the boob!

My beloved pediatrician, with whom I generally disagree about breastfeeding matters, advised me to cut him off cold-turkey. "You'll have a couple of difficult days," he predicted, "and then it will be over." Easy for him to say, not getting to live through those agonizing days. Cold-turkey would not work for us.

Still, I knew the time had come. Although I always, always get sad as my babies leave behind a stage of their babyhood, I also realized that this was best not just for him, but for me and the other 3 people who depend on my (quickly-diminishing) sanity daily. As I turned it over in my mind, I realized that I just can't feel guilty about nursing my 3rd baby exclusively for over 15 months. Therefore, new routines were put in place, Dad took over Brady's bed time, and I broke out the bottles so he could still have something to suck. To my amazement, he did great. He still grabbed my shirt once or twice, but was easily pacified with a bottle of water, a snack, and a snuggle. His 5 times a day turned into just one: first thing in the morning, just before falling back to sleep for a short while.

I can so totally live with this. I get my fix and he gets his. All nursing takes place within the confines of my home, which means I get to go back to wearing my lovely non-nursing bras all day and no longer get funny looks from strangers as I try to wrestle a giant breast-feeding toddler while yelling at my other kids and trying to maintain some semblance of modesty.

Still I'm starting to get signals that this, too, will end soon. Not only have my hormonal issues not completely gone away, but Brady skipped our regular morning appointment today. And never seemed to miss it. Of course, I'm so happy this is his decision instead of something I force him to do for my sake. But I'm still sad, wondering if I've missed our last time in my early-morning grogginess. I hope not. I hope I get one more morning with my little Bunch, to snuggle and nurture and kiss his feet while he looks up at me with smiles in his sleepy eyes. I hope he give me at least one more time to soak it all in for the last time and sadly say good-bye to one of the most fulfilling, lovely parts of motherhood.

Edited to add: Brady indulged me Saturday morning and we had a great time. I don't know if that was the last time. If it was, it was a good one!


Lissa Ballard said...

Oh T... I do know what you mean. I had to cut it all short 16 months into nursing Dalton very abruptly. I did have to spend my last time with him a little longer than normal, a little more huggy kissy with his little feet, and a few extra snuggles... I think he actually never made it to his crib that night.

I hope you get your last snuggle with Mr. Bunch before you have to leave this stage behind. He's so absolutely adorable, I can imagine how you'll miss this phase. If you can, sneak in a little snuggle from his Aunties around the world!


Anonymous said...

I know everyone has a different viewpoint on nursing and I think one does what feels right for her. I never felt the need to nurse, therefore both my children were bottle fed. I knew I had to go back to work immediately after my son which made the decision to not nurse an easy one.

I don't feel, because I bottle fed, that I missed any of the same things you mentioned...the snuggling, the feet, the hugs and the closeness. I know that when the time came to get rid of the bottle that I had just as difficult a time as any nursing mother.

What I'm trying to say is, although I didn't breast feed, I can still feel your emotional pain and I do hope you have that one last snuggle!

Tara O'Rourke said...

I so hope you get your last snuggle!! Seth snuggled with me for quite a long time after I quit nursing him. And at almost 5 he's still rather "fresh" with my chest at times. He was being quite nosy the other day while I was nursing Emily. LOL!! HUGS friend

tspwlv said...

Lissa - Thanks. He hooked me up yesterday and we had a great time!

Jaq - I agree that moms and babies need to figure out what works for them. For us, nursing was a no-brainer: it came easily, I didn't have to work and my kids took to it well. I understand it doesn't work as well for others. The only goal is happy and healthy baby and there are many ways to get there.

Tara - Boys will be boys!

Nik Just Nik said...

T I am so glad this went well for you.. I hope it helps to get those damn hormones under control... Please give that little man a big hug from me for making it so easy on Mummy...

Dont worry about those morning hugs.. you get them back just in a different way..