For the first time in over four years I am not pregnant or nursing a baby! Weaning a nursing baby is a lot easier said than done, in most cases. And it is only this time around that I am truly understanding the emotions that can come with weaning.
I had almost a year of postpartum depression with Calvin, so when he weaned at 17 months (the day I found out I was pregnant with Max) I was relieved. Fast-forward to this time around with Max and I am a mess. My entire experience with raising Max has been so different from raising Calvin. I enjoyed Max and every milestone he went through (minus teething, that always sucks) and dreaded him getting bigger. I think since I had such a sad experience with Calvin I made up for it the second time around and cherished every moment that much more, knowing how quickly they grow up.
With each boy I had the typical one year goal of breastfeeding and after the initial hurdles I realized I was one of the lucky ones who had a pretty smooth and and positive journey with breastfeeding. At Max's one year mark, in typical Gina fashion, I went the route I did with Calvin and nursed only in the morning and right before he went to bed at night (7pm). I have been dreading the day when nursing was over for us because unlike his big brother Max is a total momma's boy. He simply adores me and it is such an incredible feeling. I know that breastfeeding is not the only way we can or will bond but it was something that made him stop, sit, and snuggle with me. While nursing, he forgot about everything else in the world. In my mind weaning was going to tear something away from me: the good memories. There have been a lot of tears (mostly from me), but I think since I am not pregnant I feel a huge loss. These boys are continuing to grow up and gain their independence from me and while that does not mean they do not need me they both no longer need me for something that only I can give them.
Thanks to my never ending oversupply, there is also pain with weaning. I could still probably nurse a village so there are both physical and emotional consequences to weaning him. On the flip-side, ever since we weaned Max from nursing in the middle of the night a few months ago he has been sleeping 12 hours straight at night!! Go Max!
To any mom out there who plans to wean soon. has weaned, or will in the future I now know what it is like. In the past I would question why it was so hard for some moms to wean but I see now that it was because I was only taking the child into consideration. Our kids will forget about nursing and will move on quickly, but I think that it is so important to acknowledge that it is a relationship between two people.
As moms it is easy to address our kids emotions and to comfort them at the neglect of our own. I am so blessed and thankful to have been able to nurse both my boys and it will take me a little bit to feel 100% myself with hormones and some loss. But I am hopeful that once everything regulates I will love feeling a little bit more like myself again. Nursing pads, nursing bras, and leaking can get old and I look forward to the day when I no longer get a let down feeling in the freezer department. Who would have known that the mom who wanted to ditch breastfeeding so badly in the very beginning would end up missing it and all that it entails?
Genesis 21:8 "And the child grew and was weaned. And Abraham made a great feast on the day that Isaac was weaned."
***If you would like to share your breastfeeding or bottle-feeding journey with other moms on the blog, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.