These eyes know and feel so much. Oh my big girl…
Three months ago, I wrote a post about practicing extended breastfeeding (even when it hurts).
I described my desire to continue breastfeeding, which included tandem nursing, my active toddler until she decided to self-wean (self-lead weaning).
Well, to put it bluntly, I changed my mind. I decided to wean Ella.
We were ready.
Although if I left it up to Ella, she could have continued breastfeeding for another year, I’m sure.
And yet, I could tell it would actually be healthier for Ella’s psyche not to nurse anymore (I wonder if saying that is going to get in in trouble with extended breastfeeding advocates?). Alas, I know my daughter.
It’s hard to describe exactly. In fact, I’m sure I could do it no justice. But mum-mums were becoming more of a source of soothing, and while I agree that nursing is a fabulous way to sooth a child when they get hurt or are sick, are frustrated or tired out, I began to see that Ella wasn’t learning any of her own self-soothing strategies.
She was waking the whole family up in the morning asking to nurse. This really bothered us when Lucan was still sleeping.
During the day, if she would ask to nurse and it wasn’t a good time, LOOK OUT. Scary tantrum.
What I mean by “supported weaning.”
I have carefully supported Ella in this transition.
We started out just nursing less. Got down to three times a day – upon waking, in the afternoon at nap, and to bed. This went on for a week.
Then, I cut out all nursing except for night time (just before sleeping).
I thought doing that would be rough. Really rough.
But amazingly, Ella has been great. A little more emotional, but totally fine.
A mother knows, I swear.
She’s eating a lot more food (she’d never been a big eater), falling asleep in the afternoon by cuddling with me, and she’s even started forgetting to nurse at night now.
After tandem nursing for eight months, and nursing Ella for the prior 2.5 years, my body is thanking me right now.
I was giving my children a LOT of my body.
My space, my inner energy, my milk. As grateful as I was for the experience, I was really tired out, and had a hard time keeping up (I’m currently working on getting back up to an average weight after falling quite underweight).
I’m watching my little girl playing right now…and I’m amazed at the leaps and bounds she has grown over the past few weeks. It’s a melancholy feeling, of course. As relieved as I am, I could just bawl my eyes out.
Mamas who have weaned/whose children have self-weaned, can you feel me on that? Share your experiences below. I’d love to hear your stories.