Last week Otter and I said goodbye to nursing. He was two months past his second birthday.
The decision to wean was not made lightly. He had been growing more independent for quite some time, blossoming the way breastfed babies do. Then suddenly he began to regress, demanding more and more milk, becoming less willing to eat solid foods and becoming violent and angry when I wouldn’t let him nurse. I started feeling as though keeping him on the breast was doing him more harm than good, a feeling that started inside me, and grew. One day he and I had a huge fight about nursing, and we decided, together, that it was time to stop. I told him, in one week, we say bye bye to Mama milk.
That week we snuggled a lot more, we nursed for longer periods, even though we stayed on our three times a day schedule, mornings, naptimes, and bedtime. When weaning day came, we woke up and I invited him to have as long a nurse as he wanted, because it was our bye bye to Mama milk nurse. It was a wonderful nurse. We nursed for a long time. We smiled at each other, patted each other’s cheeks, played with our hair, smiled. He would sit up and talk from time to time, and then settle back in to nurse some more. We snuggled close, took our time, really said goodbye.
Then we got up, got dressed, and went out to Target to get Otter his very first “Big Boy” toy. He picked out a plasmaglider, this very cool self propelled glider. He was very proud of it, rode it through the store, the checkout line, and under my very paranoid eye, even out to the car. He has ridden it around the house constantly ever since. He is thrilled with it, because sister even likes it, a sure sign that it is, in fact, a Big Boy toy.
This week has been surprisingly easy for my boy. We have had a few times when he has asked for milk, and then gotten sad when I have reminded him that we said goodbye to it, but for the most part he has not missed it. He has been co-sleeping again to make up for the lost closeness, and has been less willing to be away from me during the day. He has been needier. However, it seems the milk was more a comfort thing for him, than it was a source of food, as he doesn’t miss the nutrient as much as he does the snuggles.
As for me, I have found it very hard. I have not only said goodbye to nursing Otter, I have said goodbye to nursing. I have said goodbye to babyhood. I am no longer the mother of infants. All those silent moments of communication, spent staring deeply into my baby’s eyes while they greedily drink away, every swallow bringing satisfaction, knowing I am personally responsible for making them healthy and strong. All the soft, fuzzy head snuggled against my arm moments. All the hushed nursery moments. All the first balloons, and baby chortles. At thirty three years of age, that magical part of my life is behind me. Otter was my last baby.
I am on to the hustle and bustle of noisier children, busy children with questions and activities, and the certainty the Mommy doesn’t hold the world in her hand and certainly doesn’t always know what she is doing. I am on to PTO meetings and playdates, boyfriends and girlfriends, allowances and driving permits. I am on to children who don’t have time to snuggle me, and won’t want to spend an hour on Saturday morning cuddled in bed with me, just talking and playing with my hair.
Otter took well to weaning. Me, not so much.