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The Joys of Weaning

baby on sidewalkBee and I weaned a few weeks ago. (That’s kind of the grossest word, isn’t it? Weaning?) Shortly after her first birthday, I took a trip to Ethiopia and she stayed home with Ken, and get this – she thrived in my absence. 100% thrived, so much so that Ken asked if I could leave the country just a little more often. (Done.)

While I was gone, she was a perfect angel – never skipping naps and always sleeping through the night and eating all of her veggies and pretty much granting world peace to all. We attributed her change in behavior to the bottles she’d been receiving, and sure enough, she continued to sleep better without the comfort of nursing. So, we slowly introduced goat’s milk and although I’m continuing to pump at night so we can supplement, we’ve officially weaned from baby-to-boob contact. And you guys? It is fantastic.

I’d only heard sad things about weaning – about the passage of time and craziness of hormones. And yes, it was a bittersweet transition for us. But, it’s also been an amazingly positive experience for our family. Behold, in list form, all of the reasons I’m happy to have weaned our daughter:

1. Dresses! Seriously, I can wear dresses again. As a card-carrying pixie haired gal, dresses are kind of a uniform for me, and I’d be lying if I didn’t admit to being the tiniest bit resentful every time I had to choose function over form in the spirit of easy nursing access. It’s a trivial thing, but being able to choose what I wear during the day has been a really great change of pace around our home. Rompers and jumpsuits and dresses, oh my! I welcome all.

2. Independence. The fact that I’m not tethered to a baby who relies on me for a supplemental food source has been relieving in a way that I didn’t expect. Sure, nursing a baby every 3-4 hours isn’t a huge time commitment, but it did make scheduling a bit trickier. Heading to the coffee shop to meet a deadline on a whim was out of the cards if nap time was near, and I always found myself glancing at the clock when I was away running an errand, feeling the pressure of an impending nursing session.

3. Focus. There’s something to be said for gaining an interrupted chunk of time to work on projects. Because Ken watches Bee during the day, I was accustomed to getting a text when nursing time was on the horizon, and I’d have to stop, save my work, feed the baby and then re-group to play catch-up and regain focus. The interruptions – even infrequent as they were – made for a small hindrance in productivity.

4. Emotional attachment. Hands down, the most welcome change in our family since weaning has been the change in emotional attachment – for both Bee and me. Suddenly, I feel like her mother and not her dinner. I don’t know how much sense that makes, truly. But you guys – her cries sound different to me. They’re less urgent, less necessary. And I find that my mind doesn’t race quite as quickly, questioning when she was last nursed or if she’s feeling deprived and needs comforted. On the flip side, she seems more independent, open to adventure and exploration. She’s growing up, I suppose.

We all are.

Tell me, what were your experiences weaning your children? It’s been such a fascinating change for us – I’m so curious to hear if you experienced a similar transition? Feel free to share below!

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