Weaning: An Update


When I last wrote about weaning Natalie, she was still nursing twice a day and I was afraid of cutting out her pre-bedtime nursing.

Afraid of what, you ask? Good question. Toddler rebellion? Tantrums and tears? A plague of locusts o’er the land?

I’m pleased to report that skipping the nursing and moving straight into her bedtime routine was as smooth and uneventful as the rest of the weaning process has been. There wasn’t even a single locust.

Of course, I cried that first night that she went to bed without nursing. But now I look back on it as being in the same category as when we moved Natalie into her own room, or when I packed away all the tiny baby clothes, or the first time I spent a significant portion of my day away from her.

They’re all emotionally-charged events, for sure. They also represent a very definite break between the way things were and the way things will be.

(I still love you even if the first category you thought of for those things was, “first world problems.” That would also be an accurate assessment.)

But life goes on, yada yada yada.

ANYWAY let’s talk about the highly nuanced process that I used for weaning Natalie. Are you ready to take notes? Pay attention.

Step 1: Don’t offer your boob to your baby.

The End.

But seriously — I just didn’t offer, and she was totally cool with that. She still nurses when she wakes up in the morning, and on rare occasions when she’s losing her flippin’ mind and can’t seem to hit the reset button. Or on a 2-hour flight from Charlotte to Boston.

True story, by the way. We even paid for Her Highness to have her own seat, which she sat in maybe 50% of the time (NEVER AGAIN). And on the return flight she completely lost it and was crying and kicking the seat of the person in front of us and flailing and doing everything except spinning her head around 360 degrees. Will suggested I try and nurse her, and, being completely out of other options (sadly there was no horse tranquilizer on board), I did – and there she stayed for TWO HOURS. I hope my fellow passengers appreciate that sacrifice, because my back most certainly did not.

So obviously she is not 100% weaned. And I am 100% ok with that. I know the day will come when it no longer works for either of us, but in the meantime it is a heckuva useful tool to have in my back pocket. Or front pockets, as the case may be.

Since this process was so completely painless for us, I don’t know if I really have any specific weaning advice to offer to other moms who are working through the same thing.

All I have to say is this: if nursing isn’t working out, it’s ok. If you’re ready to stop, that’s ok, too. Don’t beat yourself up over it (much easier said than done, I know!). I was feeling very guilty about wanting to stop, or at least to make it less frequent. But “mother” does not equal “martyr,” and I feel like my relationship with Natalie has actually improved since she stopped nursing 4+ times per day. I’m not completely covered in scratch marks and bruises, for one thing. Winning!

And clearly we’re not dealing with any “failure to thrive” issues over here. Homegirl loves her food.

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