Tuesday, August 5, 2014

When They Wean on Their Own

This one's been a long time coming.

We're both avid supporters of breastfeeding and, between the two of us, nursed three children for a combined total of 43 months, which is the better part of 3 1/2 years.  And, for both of us, most of that nursing was done after our maternity leave brought us back to work.

For me, Sarah, I had zero, I repeat, zero, expectation of breastfeeding.  I didn't even know if I was going to do it.  I planned nothing regarding the birth of my child and this was no exception. Here's the thing, the minute I had her in my arms, the most natural thing on earth was to offer her milk - from me. So, I did. And, I continued for the next 13 months.

We were one of those lucky pairs that it came very naturally to. It was (relatively) pain free, stress free and enjoyable. In fact, I loved the relationship it cultivated between AK and I - one that I think thrives even today because of that bond. When I went back to work, I wanted to continue. It was my link to her, especially considering how much I missed her. Every day, at lunch, I would get a text telling me when she was ready to eat. I would get on my little motorized scooter and I would drive the few blocks to her daycare where I nursed her - just in time for her nap.

When she was first born, I nursed on demand. Around the clock. I was against any sort of scheduling for such a young baby. I wanted her to know that I would provide for her, just when she needed it. Of course, as she grew, we gradually and naturally settled into more of a suitable schedule that worked around her being in daycare and me working full time. And, that's how it worked for many months.

I miss it.

But, I am so beyond thankful for the fact that she weaned herself. Once we started this relationship, my main goal was to nurse as long as she wanted it but not up until the point where she was bigger than me (in her defense, I am small).  I really wanted her to wean herself. And, she did.

Looking back, I kinda wish we had a bit longer, but nothing replaces that sense of satisfaction that I did just what she needed for as long as she needed it.

The great part about it all was that she was quite gentle on me. I don't know if innately she knew how emotional the entire process was for me or how sore I would be if she cut me off cold turkey. But, she weaned over the period of about three weeks. I would notice that each session was a bit shorter until it was no longer.

The last session to go was the "dream feed:" something both Tracy and I did for the majority of our nursing relationship. We would get the little one out of her bed right before we turned in for the night. The concept behind it was to "top them off" before bed, giving us a little longer to slumber. For us, it worked perfectly.

One night, 13 months and 9 days after we started, AK gently turned her head away. Even in her sleep. She was weaned.

I think there are very few things we can do for our children greater than the gift of breast milk. And, I also understand that some people choose not to do it or cannot do it. I respect all angles. But, I remain steadfastly thankful for my ability and my desire to nurture that relationship. Until she was ready to move on. My big girl.

All weaned.  Now what?!


  1. "One night, 13 months and 9 days after we started, AK gently turned her head away. Even in her sleep. She was weaned." This pulled my heartstrings and got my tears flowing.. Will be such a sweet sorrow when our day comes to an end. She is only 6 months now but I know that in a blink that day will come..

    1. I think I started preparing myself for her weaning when she was around 9 months. And, because she did it so gently and easily (not all kiddos are that nice! Ha!), it was so very peaceful! So, I wish the same for you! I will say - even though she's almost two, I still miss it...sometimes! Enjoy every moment.