Tuesday, January 12, 2010

time marches on

All day there has been a thought nagging at the back of my mind: This morning was probably the last time Jack nursed.

When he was born, I never really intended a strict timetable for weaning. I knew that 6 months of nursing has many health benefits for mother and baby, so I decided we would go "at least that long." Well, 6 months came and went. The next milestone was 10 months, where both my sister's babies self-weaned. They just weren't interested any longer. I wondered whether Jack would do the same. Then 10 months drifted past, and then the big 1-year mark. Jack obviously got more and more interested in solid foods, but was still nursing steadily. In fact, he could be downright demanding!

However, the frequency was winding down, as is normal as a child grows. About a month ago, we cut out daytime nursing entirely. Jack does just fine with a snack and a snuggle instead, and it was darned inconvenient to try to keep up nursing when we were frequently out and about. (He was never good at nursing in public settings when there is so much else to do.)

Well, apparently my body took that as the cue that the nursing phase is over. My milk supply has been rapidly dwindling, and last week I found Jack waking me up every 45 minutes throughout several nights. He kept trying and trying to nurse, and just wasn't able to get a bellyfull to go to sleep properly on. We were both waking up tired and grumpy after our long nights. This wasn't working!

To make a long story short(er), we decided to work on weaning fully. He didn't much like the plan, but I didn't know what else to do. We have just been substituting milk or water, snacks, and plenty of love and cuddles. Well, last night he went to bed with a bottle of milk, and had more for a quick drink when he woke up at 3:00 a.m. He nursed just a little this morning (I was bursting at the seams) but was much more interested in eating an entire bowl of oatmeal.

All of a sudden he is totally on board with the plan!

Needless to say, it has been an uncomfortable day (and night) with an overabundant milk supply. However, I am determined that while Jack is in agreement, we really do need to get him weaned fully, or we are going to have a very upset and confused child on our hands. This is no time to be wishy-washy, especially when dwindling milk supply is already deciding the issue for us.

So I find myself finishing up this day wondering if I have said my final "goodbye" to his baby time. Oh, I know he is still in diapers, but that can last well into the toddler years. This is the last milestone of my 10-lb little baby boy, added to the growing proof of the young man he is growing up to be. I know we will have many more ways to be close with each other (right now snuggling with a constant stream of kisses all over his head is a big hit!) but I will miss the special bond that nursing brings.


Anonymous said...

yes, 'tis a time when a change really tells you they are growing up. Alex self-weaned at about 20 months. Eric, unfortunately didn't get a choice when I got breast cancer -- milk bar suddenly closed.

Amy said...

I know what you mean! It is a great time because your baby is growing up! :)

But it is a sad time because your baby is growing up! :(

Of course, Ashley made it easy for me. She got disinterested and started biting. We were done!

Melissa said...

Well, we are forging ahead. I know several people who would interpret this as "time to have another!" However, I think I will give it a while yet!

Diana said...

I have to confess that I got a bit teary reading this. You were my last so I really was done when you weaned. It is definitley a change and a "growing-up". They stay cuddly for a long time though and boy or girl they need their mom for hugs and snuggles.

As to having another...you and Alex will know best. :)