Tuesday, February 3, 2009

To boob or not to boob

The Angel is 14 months old now.  She is no longer a baby, although I know she will always be my baby, and I've been thinking about weaning recently.

I know that a lot of people will think that I deserve an award for having breast-fed for so long.  But I also know that it is normal and natural for toddlers to nurse until they are at least 2.  It is apparently a cultural thing to wean them early.

But as much as I still mostly enjoy the tender sweetness of holding my baby to my breast, I also at times don't like having my clothes yanked and my chest clawed.  And how I wish the night-time feedings would end.  (That being said, the current 1 or 2 night-time feedings is MUCH better than what we were dealing with up to 3 short weeks ago. ''Tears and Tantrums'' ... it saved my sanity.)

It is such an intimate experience, breast-feeding.  

I never expected it to be so emotionally charged.  I remember the devastation and grief I felt in the early days when I thought that I did not have enough to feed her.  Although that reaction could just have been the hormones I was roller-coaster-riding on after she was born.  It was a short-lived issue anyway.  Soon enough I had sufficient milk to feed someone sitting clear across the room.  

Then there are those moments when she smiles up at me, without letting go of course, and my heart bursts. And most recently, the michelin-man legs and toes that end up in my face are just so yummy.  She is quite flexible.

I'm trying to encourage more ''loves and hugs and kisses''.  Less boob needed for those.  Same sweet smiles in return.  And there is always some kind of food or drink within easy reach.  She still seems to want the boob though.  I guess she just isn't ready.

I don't want to end up doing it out of anything other than love though.

I started off so gung-ho on letting her wean for herself... whenever that would be.  In keeping with my determination to be a Perfect Parent.  HAHAHA.  What a warped notion.  I failed to be that from day one!  Now, I'm praying that she won't still be nursing when she is two.  I wonder how many more of those parenthood-humility-moments I have in store.  Countless I'm sure.

Its a good thing this book doesn't run out of pages.


BlueBella said...

Oh what a lovely post Mama! You truly ARE a saint for nursing so long. . . but clearly your Angel isn't ready to break that bond yet.

On the other side, I see your conflict. Recently I've experienced a dramatic drop in milk production unless I take fenugreek as an herbal supplement. I don't have the strong attachment to nursing as you do, but it's still conflicting to let that phase of your baby's life go . . .as well as all the other changes it imples. I'm no sure I'm ready, either (at less than 4 months - haha) but the day I don't have to think about pumping at work and drag that damned pump in with me will be a blessing, I'm sure.

On the good side weaning means no more job for the boobs. You get them back. For the most part.

But the emotional attachment to breastfeeding is a big one. Whatever you decide will be the right thing - you're an AMAZING Mama and Angel is blessed to have you for her Mommy.

Janelle said...

I have enjoyed breast feeding my babies and it was always hard to take the next step. I have been fortunate that something has always come up to force the weaning process. With my first I was too sick to nurse and my doctor strongly advised that I not nurse so that he would not get sick, the second couldn't for heart reasons, the third went to the bottle when I went to work and my hubby was out of work, the fourth nursed for 18 months and then I graduated college and got a job once again and the fifth I nursed for as long as I could produce even though I was working fulltime.

I am preparing myself mentally right now because the heart meds they have put me on will mean that I will never be able to breastfeed this baby. It has been an emotionally devastating thing even though I know it is for the best.

I will tell you though, the best thing is to prepare yourself before hand. It is harder for you to let go of it, than it will be for her. Or at least that's what I've found. Good luck and you are doing a great job.

Green Girl in Wisconsin said...

I admire you for being so thoughtful about it! All 3 of mine weaned off pretty naturally--none of us had "hard" feelings and honestly? Mr. T and I kind of just forgot one day and that was that--he was around a year old. I think you're SO in touch that you'll know when the time is right!

Nan said...

Could you explain to her that boobies are only available first thing in the morning for a wake up snack, and last thing before bed? Or something? I kept the morning one for ages, so I wouldn't have to get up and make breakfast so early! You ARE perfect, by the way, and when Angel grows up I will be sure to tell her so!

eye in de sky said...

I'm 35 and still never completely weaned, OH GOD i luv boobies!
(hooray for Boobies)