Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Our weaning story

The last time we nursed...Well, I wasn't sure at the time that it would be our last nursing session but I guess at this point I should have treated each session like our last. Then again, I've heard other moms recall their last nursing session being so sad and emotional, I'm sorta glad I didn't know at the time. But I do remember that day I was extra appreciative of our moments together. When she'd ask (I haven't offered since she turned one) I'd allow it without hesitation, and I made an extra effort to slow down and just be with her. I took note of "the look" she'd give me. The one she always gave me while she nursed. I guess her options of things to look at were pretty limited cause usually she chose to stare at me.
She did this time too. And I set my smart phone aside and stated back at her.

She smiled at me while still latched, this was my favorite thing to get her to do while she ate--see if I could make her laugh and giggle while she was still eating. She had a talent of doing both.

She stuck her fingers in my mouth and I pretended to bite them off, and she laughed even harder. This was our little game we played over the last 17 months. I'd see if I could get her to laugh hard enough to where she lost her latch, and she'd keep checking her hand to see her fingers still in tact, them shove them back in my mouth to give me another shot.

My challenge was to make her laugh as hard as she could but also hope she didn't bite me back.

I nursed her A LOT this day. I was off work an whenever I sat down, that's just what she wanted to do.

I held her while she napped and she nursed off and on for two hours. I didn't complain about it. I guess subconsciously I knew this was the end.

The next morning she woke up extra early, so I grabbed her and we slept a few extra hours in the guest bed. Of course she nursed the whole time. This was going to be the most difficult session to cut.

The following morning I woke up before her and my husband offered to take her to school. She woke up just as I was leaving and I tried to sneak out but she got a glimpse of me. I heard her crying from the car. I called and my husband said she was fine but I knew she wasn't accustomed to starting her day that way. Without me, her morning snack.

When I picked her up from school that evening her teachers told me she was pretty moody for a few hours in the morning. I knew why. And she was asking to be nursed then, but we had to go, and I tried to distract her until we got home. By the time we did it was time for dinner then bath, than bed. And she didn't ask again, and I didn't offer.

The next morning I had to leave for work before 4:30, so I was of course long gone before she woke up. During my break I was careful not to sit down when I visited her and my husband. I knew if I did she'd ask to nurse. But I didn't and she didn't.

When I returned from work she was napping, and I knew when she woke up would be the ultimate challenge. We had already gone a day and a half without nursing and if we were going to stop, I knew I needed to ride this out.

I heard her wake up from her nap and felt an anxious feeling. This was the first time I'd be seeing her wake up since our weaning process really took off. If we could get through this, we'd be over a huge hurdle. She cried and cried, tried to pull down my shirt and kept smacking my chest. It would have been so easy and harmless to give in but I had to get past this.

I took her outside and she calmed down. I brought some of her favorite yogurt snacks with us and after a few minutes she was distracted.

The next day got a little easier, she still asked but was quickly distracted. We had gone three days without nursing. I wondered if we had hit our new stride, if my milk would have dried up by then, or if she had possibly forgotten how to latch. This was the longest in her life she had gone without nursing. Previously it had been maybe 12 hours or so. I felt bad that evening when she kept asking to eat, so I gave her some ice cream to ease my guilt. And she seemed to be happy for the substitution.

Snacks and cuddles were my new way to console her when that's what she wanted.

At church, we for the first time went an entire sacrament meeting without us heading to the nursing lounge. This was thanks partly to a woman behind us who kept playing with her, and a bag full of snacks. Next month she can start nursery, and that'll be a whole new exciting experience.

Monday I was off work, and it would be our first day together all day without nursing. I had a plan to get her out of the house because if she was entertained she didn't ask to breastfeed. That morning she woke up at 6:30. Since I had just gone to bed at 5 that morning, I wasn't ready to get up so I finally gave in and nursed her back to sleep, deciding if I nursed her at all, it would only be early mornings, if she doesn't go back to sleep on her own first.

She didn't nurse the rest of the day, and at night she's fine being hugged and kissed goodnight.

Now we're finding our new groove. Aside from a couple of mornings where we've fallen off the wagon, it hasn't been terrible. It's bittersweet seeing my little girl grow up. But I know we're embarking on a new adventures and we'll find new ways to bond. Then soon enough I'll have another nursling to start all over with.



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