My baby is now 17.5 months old and for the majority of that time, I have been his primary source of sustenance and soothing. He never took a bottle. I tried different formulas and I pumped, but he just couldn’t get used to drinking from an artificial nipple. He screamed bloody murder when anyone tried to foist a bottle on him. (By the way, I have a very gently used top of the line breast pump if anyone wants it.) Forget the rubbery sippy cups, he just chewed on those. If any liquid accidentally got into his mouth he would just let it spill out onto the floor, the same goes for a regular cup and a straw…until recently.
I’m happy announce that my baby can drink from a cup and sip through a straw! But lets back up to the weaning part.
I was very conflicted about the prospect of weaning. I love the closeness and the ability to comfort him. Still, it was really getting to be difficult for a variety of reasons.
The little guy does not like having anything covering his head so I often ended up flashing people when I nursed him. Plus, he recently began massaging the breast he wasn’t drinking from. Not just a little nuzzle, but full on up the shirt under the bra nipple massage action. This is actually very normal behavior, but it made me very uncomfortable. So I would take his hand out of my shirt, he would sneak it back. It felt like I was at once nursing and trying to keep him from going to second base. This was particularly fun while nursing in public.
I tried to cut back little by little, but I’ve always nursed on-demand. When I started to deny him, he would scream…for hours or as long as I was in his vicinity. When I left the room he was fine…little stinker.
Eventually we decided the best bet was to send him to grandma’s house for a few days, and that did the trick. A hop, skip and a weekend later, he was weaned, and I was on the couch using a bag of frozen tortellini to sooth my engorged breasts. Did I mention it's really not a good idea to stop breastfeeding cold turkey? Thankfully, a little Sudafed and some cabbage leaves (seriously) dried up my milk supply.
This is an important step, but I must admit it’s bitter sweet for me. On the one hand, I have my body back, and my toddler has become more affectionate. He offers more hugs and kisses, and he will now snuggle with me without trying to nurse (which he never did before). On the other hand, I miss the profound connection, and comfort we both got during the nursing process. He is my 3rd and final baby. I will never again give birth or nurse another child. I’m mourning the passing of this stage of life.
That said, it’s exciting to see how he’s growing and changing, and I look forward to watching his on-going progress.
On a side note, other day I got on the scale and saw that I was up 5 pounds. I hadn’t changed my eating or exercise habits. How did this happen? Oh, wait. I’m not burning calories by breastfeeding.