Monday, May 21, 2012

Every Journey Begins with Single Step

Welcome to the Carnival of Weaning: Weaning - Your Stories
This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Code Name: Mama and Aha! Parenting. Our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles about the end of the breastfeeding relationship.

Every weaning journey starts the first time you hold your newborn close and nurse him (or her) the very first step in the weaning journey. 

When Hannabert was a newborn (after our initial struggles), holding him close to nurse was a surefire way to send him off to sleep.  My breasts no longer seem to have that superpower.

Oh, he still nurses (and in fact is being an extremely lazy nurser which is killing my nipples).  He hates to have my breasts covered up and thinks that 24-7 access is great for small sips here and there at the beginning and end of each day but no longer does he snuggle into my arms at the end of each day, knowing that it is where he will fall asleep.

He comes to me to nurse when he is frightened (and there is a lot to be frightened of in this world); upset; tired; cranky; and bored but no longer does he latch on to sleep.  He would much prefer to nurse and then go and snuggle with dad.  While this breaks my heart a bit, his dad loves that fact that HE is now the one with the sleep power.

While I know his increased independence is a good thing and a healthy thing and it means so far, Hannabert is doing well, the independence is a bit bittersweet.  He needs me less and our relationship is changing.  He no longer needs to nurse every two hours.  He has gone from nursing 8 to 10 times a day to just three.  I let him control how often and how long he nurses (which is hard because who doesn't want to keep a baby little forever) because this is a journey that he has to take.

As he conquers each new milestone, I know that his need and desire to breastfeed will diminish.  I know, sometime, in the future, all he will want is a quick hug then a high five and then a "I am proud of you son."  

Until that time, I will cherish each moment Hannabert comes to me and asks me to hold him close and nurse him. 

Thank you for visiting the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting.

Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (and many thanks to Joni Rae of Tales of a Kitchen Witch for designing our lovely button):


  1. Awww, you've got a independent little guy. My oldest pretty much weaned herself at around a year old, if it wasn't going to follow her around while she ran everywhere, then she didn't want it. It is bittersweet to lose the essential superpower/elixer to change every bad moment once one weans, but I have found that my relationship to each child grew in other ways once nursing was phased out, so your little guy will probably find something else he loves about his mama, even if he continues to self-wean.

  2. I can be incredibly sentimental. I get nostalgic at every growth spurt of both of my children. I can see how the weaning begins with the nursing itself, as you say. I think all that you are expressing, the shifting needs, make up what motivates me to press through my nursing aversion and make nursing work for my toddler while I nurse my baby contentedly. I am in no hurry to have her out of my arms. Thanks for the reminder. :) ~sheila

  3. It is so bittersweet to watch the relationship change as they grow. Thank you for sharing these beautiful words. :)

  4. It's hard sometimes not to live in the moment and end up with those premonitions of the day they don't want to be held in your arms if they scrape their knee, or have their hair washed for them, but yes it's also so beautiful to watch that independence grow :)
    For hose that don't see past the struggles of the moment - your story is a wonderful reminder!

  5. I wouldn't say your super power is diminishing, mama - it is simply evolving :)

  6. Thanks for a lovely reminder that weaning is just the final step in the dance of breastfeeding that begins at birth. And for putting weaning into context as part of the dance of independence, as they leave our bodies, and then, eventually, our breasts. It's a tearjerker sometimes, no way around it. But they never leave our hearts, do they?

  7. A very sweet sharing of how the nursing relationship often goes... thank you for allowing us to read about your experience. Isn't weaning just as much about the mommas weaning, too? :)

  8. It's so true that one day we're all going to look back on this time and miss it dearly. I try to keep reminding myself of that.