This whole weaning thing happened much faster than I thought it would. On Friday night I nursed him for the last time before bed. After more than 20 minutes I detached him and he cried for more. I gave myself a little squeeze to see what was up and for the first time there was no stream of milk, there was barely a dribble. Clearly the nursing had turned into an exercise in frustration for both of us. After talking to Z and a whole lot of ugly crying I decided we needed to be done. So last night the bedtime routine went as usual. He had a bath, we brushed his teeth, we read him his stories, bundled him in his sleep sack. Z told him to give me a kiss, which he did. And then Z carried him into his room to rock him a bit and put him in bed. T cried, “Mama! Mama!” and “Milk!” and I ran downstairs and resumed the ugly crying. I haven’t felt so wretched about a parenting choice since we started sleep training.
Ultimately the sleep training worked for us and turned him into a great sleeper with a much better attitude when he was awake. I’m trying to hold on to that thought instead of indulging in the one where I feel like I’m a terrible failure of a mother. A friend of mine left a really nice comment on the last post (I hope your doctor figures out what is going on with you!) in which she said I was an unselfish mom for nursing for so long. I am glad that I was able to nurse him for as long as I did, but there was nothing unselfish about it.
Am I the only person in the world that is almost exclusively motivated by selfishness? I’m going to be supremely and unflatteringly honest with an example here. One of the many reasons I don’t want a girl is I like being the only girl in the family. I don’t want to worry about ever going to the terrible competition place with my child. I don’t want to find out if I would be jealous of that little girl, if I would see her life as a do-over I’d never get the chance to take. Boys are safer. And my ridiculous worries about competing with a daughter for Z’s affections feel even more crazy when I realize Z and T don’t occupy anywhere near the same area of my heart. But I am a small person, there is nothing selfless about me. I want the easy road. My relief when the ultrasound tech saw a penis last week was immense.
Yes, I wanted to nurse T because I actually believe it is the best choice for feeding a newborn. The statistics on the correlation between obesity and formula are overwhelming, the antibodies passed through mother’s milk that help ward off illness are indisputable. But I think the reason that I fought so hard to make it happen after it didn’t come easily was it was something I could do for him that no one else in the world could. It would make me special to him; it would create a bond that was unique. When he was hungry he would only have eyes for me. It was a fail proof way to make him love me. Of course now it sounds like I think a baby won’t love or bond with his/her mother without breastfeeding. I swear nothing could be further from the truth. How any woman chooses to feed her child should be completely up to her, and there are many factors that go into the decision. Not to mention the instances when a woman might want to nurse, but is unable due to a low milk supply. In fact, just writing down why I thought I needed to nurse really clarifies how crazy my rational was. And how deep seated my insecurity is.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad that I nursed him. I’m glad it did provide a way for us to bond. For whatever reason it never felt like a burden and it will always be something I look back on with love and joy. I just wish my motives were pure and unselfish. I wish I didn’t worry that weaning him would take that bond away in his eyes. The funny thing is now I really wish I could have waited until he was at least 2 to stop. I wish he was old enough to understand so I could explain to him why it was time to move on. I’m not a god gal, but I really do pray this transition is easier on T than it is on me. Because personally it has sucked balls.
Little man is very serious about his chocolate chip cookies.
My mom got him his own computer for Christmas and he loves using it while we are on our computers.