Friday, November 18, 2011

weaning

I remember shortly after Maisie turned a year old when I wondered if I should try weaning her or let her choose the time. I know a lot of pro breastfeeding women (and men for that matter) and I am so blessed to have all of their support, but when I decided that I would let Maisie tell me when she was done nursing I got tons of mixed feedback (from strangers and/or acquaintances that never breast fed or that weaned right at the year mark). People saying "Oh sweetie, you are giving her the power. You are the mother. You tell her when she is done. You tell her when to sleep." I do agree with this statement to a degree. As Maisie's mother, I have been entrusted with this precious life and it is up to me {and Austin} to guide and teach her, to instill healthy habits and good manners, but when it came to this for breastfeeding I was hurt. Maisie was not doing anything detrimental to her health, but quite the opposite. Yes, there were some days that I felt that I would die from exhaustion, but never once did I. I kept going because in the long run she was going to end up sleeping through the night some day. I kept going because she was still benefiting so much from all her nursing sessions. Also it helped that I am so stubborn. It's rare when some one else's opinion sways me one way or the other. That's not saying I don't value my loved ones views because I very much do, but I have learned (especially becoming a new mother because EVERY ONE has an opinion) to separate myself. To take a step back and look at what's best for MY little family. Breastfeeding has been one of those things that regardless of what others say I was doing it because I felt with everything that I am, that I was giving Maisie the best  for as long as I could. People (including my doctor) would convince me that Maisie still wasn't sleeping through the night because she was still nursing. I was so sleep deprived that I became weak and for a moment started to resent the nightly nursing sessions. The words of all the people telling me that I would never sleep again until I weaned Maisie would replay in my head. Until I snapped out of it. Maisie would nurse as long as she wanted {ok with some boundaries probably not past 2 1/2} but I came to terms that if she wanted to nurse until then I was completely on board, shoot I was the captain of that ship.

But now it has come to an end. 
She nursed a mini session {she was barely interested} early on the morning she turned 18 months old{last Monday the 14th}. Honestly I thought that she was just taking a little break, but since then she has only asked for milk once. I gave her some rice milk (because I always offer that first to see which milk she is asking for} and she smiled and began to sip and happily skip away. Now she will just bring me her cup and say "illlk peeez" when she wants milk. I am emotional about it. I miss it so much. I secretly hope one of these nights she will wake up and the only way I will be able to get her to settle down is to nurse her, but I know that won't happen. She is content and no longer needs it. 

Oh yeah, my doctor and random others were wrong by saying that only when she would wean would I get a full nights sleep, because she has been sleeping through the night since Austin has been off of work (from October 20th) and she just weaned on the 14th of November. I definitely think that she weaned because she started sleeping through the night, but it wasn't the opposite.

I expressed my sadness on facebook with a quick status update explaining that Maisie had self-weaned and that I am having a hard time with it. A handful of friends told me they were proud of me and reminded me how nice it is now that I am getting a full nights sleep, but this comment takes the cake:

fb

That's right ladies, that's my husband. It makes me laugh that it was said over facebook, but that's where I least expected it, which made it even better. Also, that it is in writing, so when I need a pick me up I can read the words over and over and feel loved and encouraged. I am so blessed that my husband is truly so wonderful. He always manages to show me the light at the end of tunnel and to look at the big picture. I am a worrier, so I tend to obsess on the current stresses of my mind {big or small}, but Austin some how shakes me out of it, saying that if there is nothing I can do to change whatever it is that I am stressing out about then worrying is definitely not going to help. He is right. So right.

Anyway, it is so nice being able to get a full nights sleep! I bet I was pretty close to not having a full night sleep in 2 years. The end of pregnancy was rough on sleep too, with my sciatica problems, but I am slowly feeling normal. I feel overall healthier and my mind is more clear. I am no longer walking in a sleepless fog. I have energy! Wow, is that an amazing feeling. I am still sad, but I see the light at the end of tunnel. It will get better. Like Austin said, the bond is still there and it will only grow. Maisie and I now have long nightly back scratches and bath time is so magical. I play some music softly and read fairy tales as she splashes and  giggles. It's amazing. So now that the bonding time of nursing is gone, it makes all the other quality time so much better and for that I am thankful.

9 comments:

  1. I'm so sorry I missed the original facebook status where you shared your sadness - I would have certainly been there for a pick-me-up and some encouragement! I admire you SO much for pushing your body so hard in order to give your daughter the best nutrition God has to offer. I think nursing moms are incredible and Maisie is so blessed to have a mother who loves her like you do. I remember when you were debating whether or not to wean her, and I believe I even left a comment about my niece and nephew weaning themselves in hopes of the same thing happening for you. Sounds like it did! I know that doesn't mean it's not still sad, but I also know there is a ray of peace in knowing that she weaned when SHE was ready. :) Way to go, mom. You knew EXACTLY what to do for your daughter. I'm praying you are continuing to find even more new ways to share a special bond with her.

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