If you're an avid reader of my blog then you more than likely know that I am an advocate for extended breastfeeding. I fully support and admire mothers who breastfeed as long as desired and completely understand that for each mother, that is indeed a different time line.
From day one my goal has always been to have my daughter on my milk for a year and actually I never really envisioned nursing past six months. Believe me, I never thought I'd be here (but I also never judged others); however until you're actually in that position and until you start experiencing things for yourself, you really don't know how you'll be. Six months came and the idea of discontinuing nursing was a thing of the past. I've proudly nursed my child pretty much 90% of the time for the last thirteen months of her precious life.
So now that I've made my year(+) mark where does that leave me? I've been asked repeatedly about when I was going to begin weaning and I knew that it would eventually make its way here, but I always knew that I'd make the process slow and gentle.
So, yesterday I was weaning and today I'm....
Well, I don't really know.
As of Saturday I had decided it was time to begin the process and here is why...
While I hate to share too much personal information, there is a chance that we may or may not be TTC now or soon; my one and only reason for beginning to wean. For starters, even though I have a regular cycle I am aware that there is a chance I may not even be ovulating. Then there is the risk that can come with breastfeeding while pregnant - something that some doctors recommend and others don't. Honestly I believe in a normal pregnancy that continuing breastfeeding is 100% safe (as most doctors will say) but there is this part of me that is worried I'd blame myself if something happened. Lastly, I spent all nine months of my pregnancy sick (like literally, I threw up well over 70 times) and the idea of being sick
breastfeeding just doesn't seem too pleasing.
So...that's led me to here.
As of this past Saturday I had decided that it was time to give it a go. I had no idea how weaning truly worked and really didn't quite know what to do other than what I've heard from others and eventually read on my own. For a few days I was under this impression that I just needed to nip it in the bud. Like, I suppose I thought it only took a few weeks.
But wait a minute, what about slow and gentle?
What about taking the time to make this an easy transition for us? Yesterday I had a realization that I was succumbing to pressure to just make this quick and "get it over with." Pressure on myself in hopes of getting pregnant and pressure from others saying that, "I just need to do it."
The truth of the matter is that I really don't want to wean. If I wasn't planning on expanding my family soon, I would not even attempt it yet. No I wouldn't breastfeed my child until preschool, but hey more power to those that do. I just know we wouldn't be weaning yet.
My hopes and prayers in the last several months have always been that eventually
A) my child would self wean OR
B) I would become pregnant which would likely change my milk flavor and supply which would then lead my child to self wean.
So far, neither of has happened.
As of today, I'm forgetting about the pressure or timeline of weaning. I'm taking it slow and gentle. I'm letting both baby and I figure this out together. If this is our last month or so of breastfeeding, I'm going to cherish it. If it's our last three months of breastfeeding, then I'm going to be proud of the extra time we had. I'm not going to succumb to the pressure of "having" to do it, because really I don't
to (now granted, if I do discover I'm not ovulating then that's a little different).
Right now my goal is to just slowly wean us to no daytime feeds and then we'll see what happens with the nighttime. Heck so many mamas have children that they only nurse once a day (before bed usually), maybe that'll be us.
Who the heck knows
. I just plan on working with baby to make this a gentle process where I'll begin the weaning and she'll hopefully finish it by deciding when she's done. I guess on some level, I'm truly still hoping she weans herself.
I'm so proud of myself for sticking out the many trials, tears and exhaustion involved with breastfeeding. I'm proud for not succumbing to the pressure of society that makes us feel like breastfeeding past
blah blah blah
months isn't normal or "necessary." Many people do not understand the emotional process of breastfeeding and weaning, many people don't realize the sadness that comes along with the weaning process. It is indeed a process and in my opinion, it is going to be harder than those twenty six hours of natural birth I endured to get that little breastfeeding champ here. Some women are excited about it because of the freedom that it entails (and there is nothing wrong with that) and then some like me, are never really ready for it.
I know that one day our journey will indeed end. And damn, will I ever miss it.
But that will be a separate post for another day. And I know that no matter how proud I am of our journey that I'll always hope we had gone a little bit longer.
So, am I weaning? Yea, I guess you can say that.
But really, who the heck knows.
And P.S. I can already tell you that with future babies, this mama is going to shoot for longer. So everyone needs to just accept it now.
Lord help me when it's my last child...
So what was your weaning process like?
Thanks for reading and look forward to a much more detailed post
on the emotional process of weaning later on! Sasha