Step one

Alas, the time has come.

My big two-year old boy and I have mutually decided to stop nursing.  That is, he pretty much quit nursing while we were on vacation, most likely because he was too busy having fun.  When we were on our journey home Rowan asked to nurse, and I told him that Mommy’s milk was almost gone, and when we got home he’d have to be done nursing.  He listened intently for a moment, and then eagerly completed his task and fell asleep.

When we got home I told him that if he could go seven days without nursing, he could get a present.  After inquiring if seven minutes would work, and finding out it wouldn’t, he cried.  He cried a lot and for a long time.  Eventually he fell asleep, out of pure exhaustion, but step one was complete. 

Come nap time the next day, we repeated the scene from the previous night, only with less crying, and a totally kick butt cuddle session as he fell asleep.  He requested several songs, a prayer, and for me to rub his back.  If I stopped, for even a second, he’s gently remind me to keep going by yelling, “MORE!  MUCH!” 

Tonight there was a LOT of talk about getting a present, which is apparently going to be a bulldozer guitar(???), but nary a tear was shed…by Rowan.

Yes, it’s true, I cried.  I don’t know if I will have any more babies, which makes watching this one grow up, bittersweet.  The bond Rowan and I have formed through nursing is unique.  It’s meant that I’ve had to be there for every nap, every bed time, and the spaces between.  It’s a commitment that, while difficult at times, has been one I’ve been pleased to make.  It’s meant I have been there.  For everything, if only by default. 

I know in the grand scheme of things, this is a minor step for him.  There will be more important things, scarier things, harder things that he will have to go through during his transition into the world.  Maybe it’s because it’s his first step to breaking away from me that makes this painful.

My son will need me a little less now, and I’m coming to grips with that.  In actuality I’m proud of the little guy.  He’s pretty much had to quit, cold turkey, a several-times-a-day habit he’s had for over two years.  There’s been no patch, no support group, and no sponsor to call when he’s had cravings.  That’s pretty hard-core!

I will continue to mourn this pastime we’ve shared for a few more days, and then I will look back on it with fondness for the rest of my life. 

Rowan nursing shortly after his birth.

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3 thoughts on “Step one

  1. awww 🙂 I know where you’re at. You’re allowed a little “mourning” period. It is really different and I know I felt a little nervous that my role would be so diminished or something…the bond is very close and you put it very well. You are not alone in your feelings! 🙂 Asher is our last baby, and when he weaned, it was weird. But he was 2, and I felt like that was a good time. He was so little when he was born, it got hard to treat him like a toddler! I felt like for his own maturity it would behoove him to slowly wean off the boob, and I still think it was a good choice, but even now he will try to pretend to “nurse” through my shirt for a second to “touch base” when I come home from work, and I struggle whether or not to allow this behavior or not LOL It’s a little weird! But it’s also so sweet and makes me happy to think that he finds something in this world — a part of me — so comforting.
    From one mom to another, though, I have to tell you that the bond just gets more complex and more interesting. I don’t have decades of perspective, but being just a few more years up the mommying road right now, it’s pretty awesome to listen to them tell you what they’re thinking, to bond by cheering their successes, to share making things, to still be the go-to gal when they have a booboo or a setback. They still need us 🙂 It’s pretty intoxicating to be needed to strongly, though, I know how you feel. I still miss nursing even now, but I’m also so glad to be done with some of the less glamorous and delightful parts of babyhood like diapers — we have NO MORE DIAPERS! We don’t have any blowouts, rarely have a mid-sleep crying jag, don’t have to time naps perfectly every day, aren’t having to balance solids and breastmilk, no more growth issues for us…it’s new challenges like navigating a situation where Hadrian hit a kid in class or doesn’t want to listen to the teacher (seriously?? Hadrian?? I thought we did such a good job! lol) Or now Asher, staying with abuela all day and me at work — is that the best thing for him? What preschool situation is best for him? I predict it will only grow in complexity from here 🙂 So enjoy those cuddles!! My husband still gets cozy with his mom and he’s 34 years old 🙂 Some boys do stay nice to their mamas 🙂

  2. Okay, I’m not a stalker. Just a new reader catching up…
    My daughter whom I breastfed for 19 months is now weaning her own 22-month old. I still miss nursing sometimes! The bond never goes away it just evolves…

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