Monday, September 17, 2012

Weaning Par-tay

*If you're not into reading about breast milk, boobs or nursing, then this post isn't for you.  Come back next time though!

It was time.  I feel very luck that I was able to nurse Sonny for as long as we did (22 3/4 months).  I never really had a cut off time in my head, just figured we would go until he was ready or until I was.  To me, two years seemed like a perfect amount of time.  Once he turned 18 months we cut out night nursing and  he was down to only nursing when I would get home from work, before bed and once in the morning around 6am when he would wake up just to nurse and fall right back to sleep.  Eventually, we had a rule that when the sun was out and it was daytime (minus the 6am nurse/cuddle) the milk was away.  So he knew that he could only nurse before bed and then once when it was till kinda dark out.

He was OK with all of this.  Once in a while he would ask for milk or "boobies" during the day and make a cute face (scrunchy eye smile) knowing what the answer would be but just taking the chance (no harm in asking) anyway.  He would be fine as long as he could touch them. "Mama, touch boobies?"  But most of the time he didn't ask and most certainly if I was holding him, he would have one hand down my shirt. 

A cousin of mine has two sons and the younger one has a blanky that he can not be without.  Last year, I asked her if the older one went through the same thing- she gave me a funny look and said "No, I was his security blanket".  I didn't get it then as much as I get it now.  My boobs are his security blanket.  He has no animal he loves more than others, no toy he HAS to bring with him when we leave the house, he has a blanky but he isn't attached to it the way I was with mine (slept with it every night until I lost it at 24), there is nothing he asks to sleep with at night, except for me and my boobs.

Last week I decided to cut out the morning nursing and for two days I explained to him that the milk was going away and that when he wakes up he wouldn't be able to nurse.  He was ok the first night.  Woke up, asked for milk cried for about 45 seconds, put both hands down my shirt and fell asleep.  The second night - TERRIBLE.  He woke up at 530 asked for milk over and over.  Would not be satisfied with his Xylitol spiked water, and did not fall back to sleep until 715 (which at that point he just whimpered himself to sleep).  The third night he moaned at 630 and fell right back to sleep.  Fourth night was like he never nursed at all, slept soundly until 930.

After that I felt like it was time to end it all. He is old enough now that he gets things (simple things) when you explain them.  His memory is ridiculous and he is surprisingly good at reasoning (for a near 2 year old).  I wanted him to associate his weaning with something positive.  I didn't think it would be fair to him to just not let him nurse at all with no explanation or prep.  I wanted to mark it with an event that he could remember and that I could reference.

We've been talking a lot about birthday parties lately and I thought it would be good to have a going away party for the milk.  Again for two days prior I kept repeating that we would be having a going away milk party and after the party it there would be no milk.  He was cool with it. 

Friday night before going to bed, I let him know that that was the last night he was ever going to get to nurse and I let him nurse for as long as he wanted (I may or may not have shed a tear or two as we cuddled in bed).

Saturday we kept reminding him that we were having a Going away party for the milk that night and he seemed excited. He would say "Bye Bye Boobies!! Bye Bye Milk!!".  The party was small, again just an event to mark the occasion in his mind.  A friend brought her two daughters over, we had cake (a boob ice-cream cake), balloons, dancing and running around in circles.  It was a success.

That night when we went to bed, he asked once and didn't moan or whine one bit when I reminded him of the party.  As long as he could fall sleep cuddling and with his hands down my shirt he was golden.

I thought tonight might have been harder for him, but again he was fine.  Instead of nursing, he just talked and talked and talked until he eventually got really close to my face, put one around around my neck and the other down my shirt and fell asleep.

He is not a baby any more.

I'm doing ok too. It isn't as hard for me as I thought it would be.  I think the party was closure for the both of us.

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