My baby has just hit the big one. From what I understand, this is when most mothers wean their children from breastfeeding. This is my third child that has had breast milk but I have never had to wean a child.
Eli, my first, was a horrible nurser. It was a terrible thing when every two hours he would become hungry. I would tense up, start to cry, Dave would look at me like I was nuts. For the first two weeks of his life, this was how each day went, every two hours. I went to a lactation specialist, she suggested I pump to get my nipples back in good repair and just bottle-feed him the milk. So I did. I didn't stop. I pumped for 9 months, having enough milk stored in freezers to probably feed him until he was 3. I did this because: a - I felt guilty. Why couldn't I do something so simple as nursing? Breast is best? b - I could. I was a fantastic pumper. I could pump anywhere, I pumped lots of good stuff. I didn't have any other children running around. Would I do it again? Probably not, but I am glad I did it for him then.
Caroline, my second was a natural nurser. Good from the get go. She nursed through 17 ear infections, my milk running dry during my medical trauma of 2004 and right up until we had tubes put in her ears August 30 2004 and the next day quit cold turkey. I felt totally rejected! Didn't she know that I pumped while I was in the hospital, even when I was only getting maybe 3 drops out at a time? I had given it my all and SHE decides when we are done? I let myself know that this would be the beginning of many rejections.
Joey thinks I'm the Host with the Most. He's been a great nurser since day one and continues to prefer nursing to chocolate milk, water, juice - pretty much any liquid that is in a container that isn't attached to my body. At his one year check up yesterday we got the news - Joey is not so big. Not that we didn't know that, it is just that he is not getting much bigger than his 9 month appointment. I should clarify - HE IS THRIVING, HITTING ALL HIS MILESTONES, HIS MUSCLE TONE is FINE, all is good except that he is a bit not as big as a large percentage of others his age.
My doctor asked if I was still breastfeeding. Yes. Does he take anything from a bottle or sippy yet? Not so much. Is he eating solids better (he has a history of not eating solids well)? Yes, much better. Let's calorie pack him - let him eat cake, eat ice cream, eat butter for all the doc cares. Then, let's not worry about it and we'll recheck him at 15 months. He reassured me that a lot of 9 - 12 months old babes that breastfeed don't get the calories that bottle fed babies do (even if the bottle is full of breastmilk).
I feel a bit at a lost. I had already decided that I would continue to nurse him for a few more months, because although it wasn't soft serve oozing from my body, it was packed full of goodness and vitamins. Frankly, if a friend told me this story, I would probably encourage her to quit nursing. I have some major conflicts running in my head about the whole thing. Now, I wonder if tough love is in order. Should I just cold turkey him and force him to a life without nursing? I'm not sure how to do this. Maybe this is a good time to visit Hawaii all by myself. Any weaning suggestions? Or should I stay with the original plan - nurse a few more months, fatten the kid up with outside sources? We'll see. He may decide tomorrow that he is finished with me.
My thoughts have gone in too many directions, which is not unusual. As mothers I think we have that feeling of what is best for our kids, you just know that your children need certain things from you. That intuition thing. And for me, it is to stay the course, for the time being. I love nursing. Luckily, our doc thinks this is a good plan of action also. I love that one on one closeness. I love knowing my body can provide nutrients for my babies. I would encourage anyone to do it. But I also think that if it doesn't work or if a mother doesn't want to, then don't worry about it. The options are just as good. I know you can have just as much closeness and gratification with a bottle. I guess in my roundabout way I am trying to say is that I can't believe it has been a year of nursing, averaging every 3 hours for 366 days. I'm grateful for this time spent with Joe, I'm grateful I am able to do it. I think I will be very sad when it is all over. Bless these boobs.