The Beginning of the End...of BreastfeedingEmily Malone
Just after Cullen’s first birthday, I started to think about weaning. We’ve had a great year of breastfeeding. I surprised myself by really enjoying it, and I was lucky that we had very few issues or hiccups. When Cullen was a young baby, I thought about how long I’d breastfeed, and sort of set one year as an arbitrary goal in my mind. I had no idea at the time what one year would look or feel like. But now that it’s here, it feels right.
Cullen is bigger – he’s busy, he’s distracted, he’s eating a TON of solid food. And as sad as it feels to write this, the days of him snuggling up in my arms and burrowing into my chest are long gone. Now it feels like more of a drive-by feeding. He’ll sit and nurse for three minutes, and then he’s hopping off my lap to go chase the dogs or rearrange the magnets.I started weaning a few weeks ago, easing in by dropping one feeding every week or so. We started with the mid-day feeds – first the one before the nap, followed by the one after. Neither dropped feeding was met with much resistance. The post-nap feed was a little harder to drop, since this tends to be a cranky time of night. But I’m ramping up the snacks, offering cups of milk, and doing a lot of snuggling to make up for it. If he lets me.
Now we’re down to just twice a day – first thing in the morning, and right before bedtime. I’m not really sure where to go from here. I can’t really decide which one I want to drop next. Although this morning, I got him up, changed his diaper, headed downstairs and fed him breakfast, and took care of the dogs, not realizing that I had completely forgotten about our morning feeding. He’s in a great mood when he wakes up, not whiny or cranky . He’d rather play! It wasn’t until I went to get dressed and noticed my very large lopsided chest that I realized I’d forgotten something.
The other feedings were easy to drop. They have freed up my day, and it’s nice to finally wear turtlenecks and regular bras again! These other two feel harder, for me. I don’t think Cullen could care less, but mom is having a harder time letting go. These days I cherish every feeding, knowing the end is near. My phone is put away. I sing, I stroke his cheeks, and I stare into his giant blue eyes.
I thought weaning would be a really difficult, emotional process for both of us. And while I definitely feel a bit weepy thinking about our journey ending, I know it’s time. For both of us.