Friday, November 21, 2008
D will soon be 10 months old, and thus my mind is beginning to turn to the process of weaning him. Yesterday we went to the library and I found a copy of The Nursing Mother's Guide to Weaning. It's a topic that seems so simple at first (you just stop breastfeeding) but there's so much more to it-- when? How quickly? After having the benefits of breastmilk and its nutritional value imprinted on my brain, how do I make sure he's getting adequate nutrition without it? Etc.
The plan is to continue nursing through his first birthday, and then start weaning from there. I've read warnings to expect the process to take up to several months, so I'm cautiously optimistic that we'll be done by spring/summer. He's been dping better lately with drinking out of a sippy cup and even a regular cup, which I figure is pretty key to him being able to take in enough other liquids to substitute my milk. He also seems to be completely fine with the dairy I've added back into my diet, so I'm hopeful that he'll also be ready for cow's milk by 1 year.
I remind myself that I should enjoy these last months of breastfeeding, but honestly I'm not sure how much I'll miss it. It's nice to snuggle up several times a day, but thinking about it I don't know if I find nursing sessions any more comforting or special that the times he crawls up to me and hugs me, laying his head down on my shoulder (I guess I'm not guaranteed how often that will happen each day, which is the difference). I am glad that I've been able to breastfeed D this long, something I give both Zach and D a lot of credit for. There were many times in the first months when I might've quit if it weren't for Zach (they say the husbands' support of breastfeeding is a huge factor in how long mom will do it, which I think is so, so true), and if D hadn't been so adamantly against it he might've ended up on formula after the dropping-off-his-growth-curve debaucle. But I also can't help but look forward to being done with breastfeeding, for completely selfish reasons-- I want to wear regular bras again (the idea of a Victoria's Secret shopping spree makes me want to jump with joy). And be able to pick out my clothes without thinking of whether I can breastfeed easily in them or not. It also will be nice to get past breastfeeding and see what my body does once I'm not producing food for another person anymore, so I can buy clothes again and have some hope of them fitting for a while to come. Reading the weaning guide, where they speak of how nursing for two years is really the ideal, I feel a bit of guilt-- is it really that much to ask to put my selfishness aside for another few months/year for the benefit of my son and his health? But when I think about continuing to breastfeed, and all that means, I feel my heart sink, and that seems like a good sign to me that it may be time to stop soon.
One thing that will happen sooner than later, is that once we get back from our week in Texas I think Zach and I will try to cut down on D's night feedings. It's been months since I've had more than about 4 hours of sleep in a row, and while I know that's normal for some kids/moms and I know a few that get by on less than that, the lack of sleep is starting to really get to me. Even one consistent 6 hour stretch a night would be nice. I don't like taking feedings away from D or letting him cry, but I also strongly believe in both baby's and mama's need for sleep and rest. And sanity. When I find myself so tired that I'm desperately fighting off sleep while D is playing, or worse, while driving, I figure it's about time to draw the line.