Thursday, August 30, 2012

on weaning

Before Mason was born, I remember being slightly skeeved by the thought of breastfeeding, and cautiously committing to "trying it". But then he arrived, latched on, and my heart did a 180. Nursing my baby suddenly became something I both wanted and had to do.

I've been blessed with a good breastfeeding experience, which I know is not the case for everyone. Mason's been an enthusiastic eater from day one, and except for some engorgement issues, one or two blocked ducts, and a brief supply scare a couple months ago, I've had no problems. Pumping, especially when working, often felt cumbersome, but the joy associated with providing for my baby outweighed the hassle.

So here we are coming up on a year, and I've initiated the weaning process. I've been dreading this act since Mason turned six months old and began eating solid food. Mason has nursed four times a day for the past few months. In the past month, I've gradually dropped two of those sessions. I have two more sessions to drop over the next month or so, and the pediatrician said I can begin mixing cows' milk with my expressed breast milk. I hope to use every last ounce of frozen breast milk--no wasting that liquid gold! I'm trying to take the weaning process slowly so as to not strain my already overwrought hormones. That's easier said than done.

These last few months, as the ache in my heart has increased at the thought of weaning him, my activities during nursing sessions have changed. I've cuddled and talked and sang to him more and played on my phone less. It's not the act of nursing itself that I dread giving up--it's what it represents. My baby is almost a toddler. How does that first year, even with its inevitable challenges, pass so quickly?

I cherish these close, cuddly moments-the only time he'll stay on my lap these days-more now that they're numbered.

1 comment:

Amy Hill said...

It is such a special time. Don't feel forced to give it up now if you don't want to. I know lots of women who breastfeed their babies until 2 years (and some later). My last two sort of weened on their own between 1 and 2. I was a little sad when it was over.