Torn: on weaning my baby

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I’m torn between two loves.

I can feel them both pulling me. And I want to give in to both. And so I lean towards one. And then, I pull back. Leaning. Resisting.

When baby boy first arrived, I fell in love. With him. With nursing him. With that bond.

baby head

So very different from the first time around. When everything was so new and awkward. And hard.

The first time around, I counted the days and I focused on the end. One year, that’s it. I locked my eyes on her first birthday and I moved towards that date. I started to research weaning around 8 months. And by the time her first birthday arrived, we were down to one feeding a day. The bedtime one. And I was cool with that. I was content to keep that one around for a while. I’d reclaimed most of my life and my time (and my wardrobe and my diet and, and, and) and so I was happy to keep this one moment.

But she wasn’t. She weaned and it was over. And I cried. I missed it.

So this time, when it was still hard but at least familiar and I already had my comfortable positions and my processes and routines, I fell in love. I wanted to make up for lost time. I couldn’t go back and nurse her, ever again. But, I had him.

mommy and baby

And I have loved it. I’ve enjoyed it. I’ve lived in those moments and recognized them for what they are – special. Unrepeatable. Not transferable. Time bound. They are the moments that I’ll look back on one day when I’m feeling lost or lonely or like I’m doing everything wrong or as though we haven’t really connected for some time.

But now it’s been almost a year. And I’m getting tired. And I’m feeling ready. And in the spaces in between nursing, I want to be done. I want to wear turtlenecks without having to, at some point during the day, bear my midsection. I want to wear necklaces without the risk that they might be tugged and pulled and either break or choke me. I want to drink all the pumpkin spiced lattes my stomach can handle. And I want to rid my world of my pump. That wretched machine with its horrible parts. I want it gone.

But when I’m done, it’s over. No going back.

And I’m not ready for that. I’m. I’m not ready to loose him. And I know I won’t loose him. He is mine and always will be. I didn’t loose her. But it feels that way. It’s a step. The first of many changes in our relationship. The first and tiniest of many separations to come.

boy standing at door

And I know I don’t have to. We can keep on keeping on. Nursing until we both are completely ready to stop. But, of course, it’s not just the nursing. It’s that he’s growing. It’s that time has passed and I can’t decide if I’ve fully enjoyed it enough. Fully lived it enough. Made up for the wishing away I did the first time around. It isn’t that I can’t keep nursing. It’s that I can’t go back.

And I’m overly emotional about it, I know. Can I blame this one, this final thing, on hormones? Or is this just it? This is how I’ll move through the end of the baby phase of my life. With high emotion and longing and this undeniable feeling of being so helplessly torn.

9 Comments

  1. I relate to this. My oldest weaned on her own and looking back I was so young and focused on survival I feel like I didn’t savor it enough. This time around I have come to love nursing my baby and love feeling so close to her but there are days when I’m just so tired. And still as tired as I am, I’m just not ready. So many feelings felt in your words.

  2. Well I do think parenting is often at least somewhat a mix of high emotion and longing and this undeniable feeling of being so helplessly torn. (aren’t I so positive?) Although there are some nice plateaus too. Scarlet self-weaned at 15-16 months. That was perfect for me. Sad, but nice too. Des stopped a week after his 1st birthday! I was so shocked. I thought he’d be the wanting to go until he was much older. He was ready. I was less ready because I think there are no more children for us unless we win the lottery and I can cope with 3-4 months of hating the smells of food.
    Three months later, I don’t miss it much, but every now and then I want him to cuddle in my arms and NOT squirm free to go cause trouble. I suppose with or without nursing, that part is hard to adjust to for me.
    Tamara recently posted..Something So Right.My Profile

    • Maybe that’s it – not the nursing so much as the fading of the cuddling. Right now my boy is a cuddler and I don’t want to see that disappear. But interesting that you say you don’t really miss it. I don’t think I will actually miss it either …

  3. beautiful… I am not a mother but I can understand. time flies so quickly and babies grow up so fast. It is too bad life doesn’t have a pause button…
    hilary recently posted..making the outfit make you, youMy Profile

  4. I remember this feeling. I was sad to be leaving that stage behind, but I have many happy memories of that time and though you are moving on, the bond you share from that special time will remain.
    Kim@Co-Pilot Mom recently posted..Never Did I EverMy Profile

  5. Oh this is so beautiful, so raw and so real Tricia. I absolutely love your mother emotions…
    I believe all breast-feeding moms can relate to every part of this separation and change and slowly fading season of beautiful bonding. I know I do!!

    I nursed each for a year too- and letting go was hard, but liberating. Think of it as a transition of parenting where You will be able to love your sweet baby in new ways, as you replace nursing with other valuable gifts of motherhood. It’s in the journey… and the new ‘ways of bonding’ will find new glorious purpose and deeper emotion, as they unfold through the years. Each stage their own. Fulfillment changes, as they do. XO
    Chris Carter recently posted..Devotional Diary: IntercessionMy Profile

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