I know this sounds trite, but it’s time to wean when you want to…
The tricky part is how!
If you have successfully sustained the womanly art of nursing your little one for at least 365 days or more; no one need remind you that how you transition to another way of loving and nurturing yourself is as unique a path as you could imagine.
If you were under the false impression that weaning was simply the transition to solid food, how wrong you would be. This blog came about as a space for testimony for women to speak about the maternal experience of breastfeeding for an extended period of time.
The longer a woman nurses, the less we tend to talk about it. Partly because we lack words and partly because once again it’s both intimate and private and we risk with our disclosure a harsh critique of extended nursing as selfish and not in the best interests of the child.
It is very very helpful to have someone to talk to about these things. Ideally a nursing mother; but clarifying why you no longer wish to nurse is a different conversation than how to gradually do it with love. Mother’s who have nursed in isolation particularly struggle with grief, loss and guilt when they often times have only had their little one to support and understand the importance and connection of the mother-baby couple.
Child-led weaning is a great concept. Proponents advocate for allowing the little one to ease of the tit when we ask if the little one is ready leaves decision-making up the shortest person in the room without considering the needs or demands being placed on the mother. While nursing is one aspect of parenting and child caregiving, for some of us, nursing made our lives easier, joyful and peaceful and leaving that part out increased the drudgery and lessened the joy. Having a partner in child rearing, and care giving means a shared responsibility.
Often times, sitting in a still place, weaning is not so much a “choice” as a decision that is determined by the circumstances surrounding the separation of human mothers and babies. Raising animals for food and pleasure reflects cultural beliefs about making it easier to care for animals if they are separated
from their attachment to their mothers. What does it do to their mothers?
Politically and socially, we separate mothers and fathers from their children to punish them for seeking freedom. How do mothers stay physically close to their babies without distancing yet not nurse the way they did in the past. This is not just a question of graduating to alternate ways of sucking and nutrition.
How do we experience letting go, and setting limits when the time is right and in the best interest of meeting the shared needs of mother and child. Saying no when someone cries for us, or when we are spent and fatigued beyond our limits. Unavailable to our child because we are not present and whole within ourselves.
Attachment with love and interdependence is thought to be something that you get over. Outgrowing the need for nursing, how does that look in your world?
Have you heard some of these absolutes before… I am sure you could make your own list. What now?
If they (the baby) (fill in the blank).
- has teeth
- will take a bottle
- cries when the mother leaves
- eating solid food
- has a sippy cup
- is potty trained
- can talk
- can walk
- can sit up
- can hold their own bottle
- has a dad
- has a sibling who didn’t nurse
- is spoiled
there is no need to continue nursing.
If the baby’s mother (fill in the blank).
1. has to go back to work
2. has a fever
3. taking medication
4. has to go back to school
5. isn’t married
6. using drugs
7. is an alcoholic
8. is mentally or emotionally unstable
9. has other children
10. is nursing another baby
11. enjoying nursing
there is no need to continue nursing
if you don’t want to….
Consider gently with love…..