Welcome to the Carnival of Weaning: Weaning - Your Stories
This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Code Name: Mama and Aha! Parenting. Our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles about the end of the breastfeeding relationship.
One of the things that surprised me about being a gentle parent was that my kid still hits, pinches, and pokes me. She screams, and tries to call me names. Since we don't call her any names, her vocabulary for such things has been pretty limited until quite recently. Usually just "AAAAAAAARGH!" which I admit is something I frequently say to keep from calling her a name. The normal developmental stages of a child will always include a long period where they are working out how to express their frustration, sadness, and anger, and because their vocabulary is limited, it starts with physical expressions. Alfie Kohn reminds parents to treat their kids like they would treat a stranger, but if strangers treated me this way, I would kick them out of my house and call the cops.
It had always been my intention to breastfeed until my kids were at least 2. To get through the stage where they are most likely to either want to eat everything in sight, or not eating anything. One of the major benefits of extended breastfeeding in my mind is that you don't have to worry about caloric intake while your child is still figuring out how to get the food from their plate into their stomach. Moira was one of those ravenous children, frequently eating as much or more then we did at a single meal.
But she also didn't sleep through the night. Even after night weaning she was still waking up three or four times a night at 18 months. And when she woke, it would take over an hour for her to go back to sleep. And because I have insomnia, I frequently couldn't go back to sleep no matter how tired I was. At about the same time as we night weaned, Moira started insisting on only nursing on one side. With her feet in my face.
Lack of sleep has always made my anxiety disorder kick in. I started feeling on edge constantly. Every time she touched me, I flinched. It didn't matter that she only wanted to nurse for a few seconds and then run off to play, or eat something. I felt bruised, physically and emotionally. I was crying by the time Walker got home most nights. I knew that one of two things were going to happen, I could wean, or I could break down. So we weaned.
It was actually easier then I expected it to be. She was really interested in food, so offering something else every time she asked to nurse worked pretty well. The next thing I did was to create a nursing chair, which completely (with the exception of a couple of falls) cut out nursing in public. I also really pushed the other things we could do together, reading books, snuggling, and playing together. Then we started spending more of our day out of the house. By the time she was 22 months, she was only nursing once or twice a day, and sometimes not at all. This happened to coincide with my annual weekend with friends, so I just left her at home. When I got back, I think she asked to nurse once or twice more, but that was it. She was happy to accept the fact that they were gone.
We talked a lot about when she nursed while I was pregnant with Davis. At that point she didn't remember it much at all. She did remember that she has "Drank all the nommies up," and that they were gone. She told me a few times, "They were so good, I drank them all up at once! Yum!" After the baby was born, she was really interested in the mechanics of what he was doing and asked to try it again, which I agreed to. The first two times, she didn't get anything, but the third time, she actually figured out how she was supposed to suck, and got a little bit of milk. She was immensely pleased, and asked a couple more times, but always while I was busy, so it never happened again, and she hasn't mentioned it in almost 4 months.
I'm sad that things had to end before she was ready, but I'm glad I did it. Weaning enabled me to stop the panic attacks, the encroaching depression, the anger and resentment I was starting to feel towards her. And she didn't really seem to care, once we got to the end. I know I wouldn't have been a very good mother to her if we had kept going.
Thank you for visiting the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (and many thanks to Joni Rae of Tales of a Kitchen Witch for designing our lovely button):
- On Breastfeeding, Weaning, and One Mother’s Identity — Jessica at Natural Parents Network has been nursing one or more of her children since 1993 - breastfeeding is wrapped up in her concept of mothering and herself. She shares her thoughts on weaning.
- two tales of weaning — Aspen at Aspen Mama writes about their countdown to wean.
- Wean Me Gently — Tam at Please Send Parenting Books shares a beautiful weaning ceremony.
- You say potato, I say bleeeuuuuch... — Anelie at Mindcradle had read the books and knew just how to introduce her baby son to solids—unfortunately, he had other ideas.
- A Post Called Weaning — (Not) Maud at Awfully Chipper writes about how weaning her son took longer than she expected.
- On Weaning, Pregnancy and Emotion — Shannon at The Artful Mama talks about her mixed emotions as she allows her son, Little Man, to guide her through his weaning process.
- half of her life — Staci at Springpatch Jam looks back on her nursing relationship with her first born.
- Is it just this After Forty Mom or is it harder to wean when its your last? — Amanda of After Forty Mom shares her emotional journey towards the impending self-weaning of her toddler daughter.
- Nursing Limits — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she has weaned her toddler down to minimal nursing and her guilt about the decision to do so.
- Weaning Video Series #1: Preparation for the Weaning Process — Why is weaning such a taboo topic? Dionna at Code Name: Mama got mamas from across the blogosphere to start talking about weaning - on video. Come check out the first video in a series of five that she'll be posting this week.
- Weaning due to anxiety — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about how she had to wean to preserve her mental health.
- When Will I Wean? A Guest Post — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama hosts a guest post from a mama who contemplates when her breastfeeding relationship will end.
- On His Own Terms — Momeeezen shares her heartbreak from when her son weaned much earlier than she anticipated.
- Our Weaning Story - Sudden, Surprised, and Embracing a New Season — Weaning doesn't always go how we imagine. That Mama Gretchen shares the story of her daughter's sudden weaning and how she has embraced this new season of motherhood.
- A Tale of Two Weanings — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares the similarities and differences of how her nursing relationships with her now six-year-old and four-year-old daughters came to a close.
- She Doesn't Remember — Alicia at Lactation Narration finds that her 6 year old no longer remembers nursing, only one year after weaning.
- It's The End of the World As We Know It — A story about the end of a tandem nursing relationship on Never Mind The Rain: A toddler moves on to a new phase in her life before mom is fully ready.
- A Natural End To Our Breastfeeding Relationship — With two self-weaning children, Jennifer at Our Muddy Boots does not know when the end will come, but that it will be natural and without regrets.
- Child-Led weaning: It's Not Extreme; It's Biological — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children explains why child-led weaning is based on biology rather than social constraints.
- 6 Years of Natural Weaning in 5 Steps — Jess at miniMum shares how and why she let her first child stop when he was good and ready.
- Is This Weaning?: A Tandem Nursing Update — Sheila at A Living Family bares all her tandem nursing hopes and fears during what feels like the beginning of the end for her toddler nursing relationship.
- Memories of Weaning: Unique and Gentle — Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife shares her weaning experiences with her two sons, each one unique in how it happened and yet equally gentle in its approach.
- Weaning Aversion' — Gentle Mama Moon shares her experience of nursing and unplanned weaning due to pregnancy-induced 'feeding aversion'.
- Three Months Post-Mup: An Evolution of Thoughts On Weaning — cd at FidgetFace describes a brief look at her planned (but accelerated) weaning, as well as one mamma's evolution on weaning (and extended nursing)
- Weaning my Tandem Nursed Toddler — After tandem nursing for a year, Melissa at Permission to Live felt like weaning her older child would be impossible, but now she shares how gentle weaning worked for her 2 1/2 year old.
- Every Journey Begins with One Step — As Hannabert begins the weaning process, Hannah at Hannah and Horn's super power is diminishing.
- Reflections on Weaning - Love Changes Form — Amy from Presence Parenting (guest posting at Dulce de Leche) shares her experience and approach of embracing weaning as a continual process in parenting, not just breastfeeding.
- Weaning Gently: Three Special Ideas for Success — MudpieMama shares three ideas that help make weaning a gentle and special journey.
- Guest Post: Carnival of Weaning — Emily shares her first weaning experience and her hopes for her second nursling in a guest post on Farmer's Daughter.
- 12 Tips for Gentle Weaning — Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting describes the process of gentle weaning and gives specific tips to make weaning an organic, joyful ripening.
- Quiz: Should You Wean for Fertility Treatments? — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries talks about the key issues in the difficult decision to wean for infertility treatments.
- I thought about weaning... — Kym at Our Crazy Corner of the World shares her story of how she thought about weaning several times, yet it still happened on its own timeline.
- Celebrating Weaning — Amy at Anktangle reflects on her thoughts and feelings about weaning, and she shares a quick tutorial for one of the ways she celebrated this transition with her son: through a story book with photographs!
- Naturally Weaning Twins — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses the gradual path to weaning she has taken with her preschool-aged twins.
- Gentle Weaning Means Knowing When to Stop — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl writes about knowing when your child is not ready to wean and taking their feelings into account in the process.
- Weaning, UnWeaning, and ReWeaning — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy discovers non-mutal weaning doesn't have to be the end. You can have a do-over.
- Prelude to weaning — Lauren at Hobo Mama talks about a tough tandem nursing period and what path she would like to encourage her older nursling to take.
- Demands of a Nursing Kind — Amy Willa at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares her conflicted feelings about nursing limits and explores different ways to achieve comfort, peace, and bodily integrity as a nursing mother.
- Breastfeeding: If there's one thing I know for sure... — Wendy at ABCs and Garden Peas explores the question: How do you know when it's time to wean?
- Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Two, Three? — Zoie at TouchstoneZ discusses going from 3 nurslings down to 1 and what might happen when her twins arrive.