Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Weaning

Not me, but one of my students!  YAY!

My youngest and probably last baby weaned recently.

I don't remember the day exactly since it was a gradual thing.  It was probably a few weeks before she turned two.

I don't feel sad.  I don't feel happy.  It just seems like life moved on and I, honestly, am OK with that.

Over the years I have read about women being upset or relieved when their baby weans.  I have heard about parties because they are done (sometimes because it was such a struggle, sometimes because the baby is now three years old and would appreciate a party.)

I wonder if I am supposed to feel more about this, but I really don't think so.

Breastfeeding is a splendid thing.  (Can you tell I just looked up beautiful in the thesaurus so I could use a new cool word today?  I did.  Saying splendid makes me look smarter.)  I think that in our reverence for breastfeeding we have started to idealize it, worship it, and treat it like it is some mythical and difficult to obtain shining beast.

But breastfeeding shouldn't be idealized or worshiped.  Breastfeeding isn't mythical.  Breastfeeding is just biologically normal.  Sometimes it is painful.  Sometimes it literally and figuratively sucks.  Breastfeeding can be annoying and peaceful.  It can be easy and it can be hard work.  Nursing runs the gamut of emotions and feelings and that is OK.  It is wonderful to do it and it is kind of wonderful (in a way) when it ends.

I don't know if I will miss breastfeeding.  I don't right now, that is for sure.  For the first time in about 9 years I actually have my "body back".  (Well, it doesn't look very much like it did when I was 25, but it is more "mine" right now.)

I used to hear women talk about how excited they were to get their body back when a baby was born and finally weaned.  It took me till my fourth baby to feel a little burned out with "sharing" my body.  I can't say it bothered me that much most of the time.  I think it is a sacred thing to share ourselves with another like that.  Physical touch binds us to our children and our spouses in ways that nothing else can.  We NEED touch and so do our children.  (I have come to realize over the years though that we also need alone time if we want to be able to give to those around us.)

I am not particularly excited to have my body back, I am not sure it ever was "all mine".  But I can't say I am sad to no longer be nursing or pregnant.  I am excited for the next phase of my life.  If you can hold and love your babies enough when you are a young mother to fill your cup for a few years, I hope I did that.  I feel like I held them a LOT!  I feel like my touch cup runneth over.

Now my four children are all walking, moving on, needing me less.  In a lot of ways this is something of a relief.  (Although seriously all four of them have "mom is on the potty" RADAR.  They always know when I am in there!  And then they come and chat!  ACK!)

So here is to weaning!  How do I feel about it?

I don't feel much.  I am just writing about it because it seems like it should be some kind of milestone in my life, but it really just feels like a tiny little blip in my journey as a mother. 

I am grateful to have been able to breastfeed all four of my children for as long as I felt was needed.  I feel lucky that nursing became so everyday for me that it was just a normal part of my life.  After a while I didn't really think much about it, I just nursed and carried on.

In a lot of ways I think this is how breastfeeding is supposed to be.  Breastfeeding is a normal part of life.  It is a normal part of nurturing.  And weaning is normal too.  I wish we could stop freaking out so much about breastfeeding and just start DOING it like it was normal.

Wouldn't that be a wonderful world?

2 comments:

Mandyz said...

I appreciate you sharing this shift and how relatively "uneventful" it can be. That is actually how I'm anticipating things will be when my twins wean. (They're 13m now and slowly, slowly nursing less). My first nursed until I was pregnant again (3.5yrs) and then I had an 8m or so break until the twins arrived. I'm happy to nurse, and I'm in no rush to force weaning, but I do look forward to that day when I don't need to nurse and my breasts will be my own (and I won't have to worry about leakage/full breasts when babies and I are apart).

Jules said...

I can totally relate to this post. Especially the part about holding your babies a lot and soaking up those early "touch moments," but also accepting the next phase of life. I hope I feel the same when the time comes. :)

LinkWithin

Related Posts with Thumbnails