On Weaning, Pregnancy and Emotion

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.

He cuddles now more often instead of nursing

From the moment that I finally got breastfeeding right with my son, I knew I was going to let him nurse for as long as he wanted.  It had taken us so long to get it right and once we did I felt so at peace with parenting that this was going to be the only way for us.  I had my “Is this really what I want?” and “Gosh, I wish I wasn’t just a boob to him!” moments but for the most part I have cherished every up, down and in between of nursing.  I had tons of support in this decision from breastfeeding warrior-moms and mentors.  I also had neigh-sayers from real life friends and medical professionals – but through it all we continued because that is our path together.

When I got pregnant the second time, I was told that I could continue to nurse (if that was what I wanted to do) unless it started to effect me physically.  I was told that I might lose my milk.  I listened to other mothers and then myself about how difficult it is to nurse through pregnancy because of exhaustion, pain or unwanted stimulus.  Still none of this was enough to make me want to force him to wean.  It was our connection, our time to relax together and his way to fall asleep.  He needed me and I was willing to give this part of me to him.

Slowly, he began to change the plan on his own.  At first he began to not want to nurse back to sleep if he woke.  He just needed to touch my face or my breast and he would fall back to sleep.  Then he did not want to nurse in the morning before I got up for work or worse yet, he’d sleep through that time all together.  When we would crawl into his toddler bed together – he would ask to nurse and by the time I had it out he was asleep.  I started feeling anxious about this change.  He would go for a week at a time not asking at all and then turn around and demand to nurse.  All the while these are decisions he has made without any urging from me.

Gradually those week long stretches of breastfeeding indifference that caused me to become engorged and leak all over the joint began to extend themselves.  He would surprise me and ask to nurse when I least expect it.  I think to myself that there couldn’t possibly be milk for him because I haven’t leaked in days and that his latch will be all wrong and this will be the worst thing I’ve ever had to endure – each time I’m wrong.  I fret when he has those overly emotional moments that toddlers experience and we have used nursing to ease in the past and he now looks for another way to calm down.

Not the tandem nursing shot I wished for but - just right for us

I am saddened by the changes that we were going through and the ideas that I had that no longer seemed likely.  I thought we would have wonderful tandem nursing photographs to make up for all the breastfeeding photo-ops I missed with him.  I thought he would continue to nurse well into the arrival of the new baby and help me to start a new breastfeeding relationship.  At the same time I am grateful for the lulls in nursing because I am tired and my breasts are over sensitive from pregnancy.  This is new territory for us and finding my place in it has been a challenge more for me then for him.  He has taken the lead here and I am following two steps behind because if I really stop to reflect we are still following the original plan.
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 buy cheap viagra canada button):

(This list will be live amind updated by afternoon May 21 with all the carnival links.)

  • Is This Weaning?: A Tandem Nursing Update — Sheila at A Living Family bares all her tandem nursing hopes and fears during what feels like the beginning of the end for her toddler nursing relationship.
  • Memories of Weaning: Unique and Gentle — Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife shares her weaning experiences with her two sons, each one unique in how it happened and yet equally gentle in its approach.
  • Weaning Aversion’Gentle Mama Moon shares her experience of nursing and unplanned weaning due to pregnancy-induced ‘feeding aversion’.
  • Three Months Post-Mup: An Evolution of Thoughts On Weaning — cd at FidgetFace describes a brief look at her planned (but accelerated) weaning, as well as one mamma’s evolution on weaning (and extended nursing)
  • Weaning my Tandem Nursed Toddler — After tandem nursing for a year, Melissa at Permission to Live felt like weaning her older child would be impossible, but now she shares how gentle weaning worked for her 2 1/2 year old.
  • Every Journey Begins with One Step — As Hannabert begins the weaning process, Hannah at Hannah and Horn‘s super power is diminishing.
  • Reflections on Weaning – Love Changes Form — Amy from Presence Parenting (guest posting at Dulce de Leche) shares her experience and approach of embracing weaning as a continual process in parenting, not just breastfeeding.
  • Weaning Gently: Three Special Ideas for SuccessMudpieMama shares three ideas that help make weaning a gentle and special journey.
  • Guest Post: Carnival of Weaning — Emily shares her first weaning experience and her hopes for her second nursling in a guest post on Farmer’s Daughter.
  • 12 Tips for Gentle Weaning — Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting describes the process of gentle weaning and gives specific tips to make weaning an organic, joyful ripening.
  • Quiz: Should You Wean for Fertility Treatments? — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries talks about the key issues in the difficult decision to wean for infertility treatments.
  • I thought about weaning… — Kym at Our Crazy Corner of the World shares her story of how she thought about weaning several times, yet it still happened on its own timeline.
  • Celebrating Weaning — Amy at Anktangle reflects on her thoughts and feelings about weaning, and she shares a quick tutorial for one of the ways she celebrated this transition with her son: through a story book with photographs!
  • Naturally Weaning Twins — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses the gradual path to weaning she has taken with her preschool-aged twins.
  • Gentle Weaning Means Knowing When to Stop — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl writes about knowing when your child is not ready to wean and taking their feelings into account in the process.
  • Weaning, UnWeaning, and ReWeaning — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy discovers non-mutal weaning doesn’t have to be the end. You can have a do-over.
  • Prelude to weaning — Lauren at Hobo Mama talks about a tough tandem nursing period and what path she would like to encourage her older nursling to take.
  • Demands of a Nursing Kind — Amy Willa at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares her conflicted feelings about nursing limits and explores different ways to achieve comfort, peace, and bodily integrity as a nursing mother.
  • Breastfeeding: If there’s one thing I know for sure… — Wendy at ABCs and Garden Peas explores the question: How do you know when it’s time to wean?
  • Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Two, Three? — Zoie at TouchstoneZ discusses going from 3 nurslings down to 1 and what might happen when her twins arrive.
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11 Responses to On Weaning, Pregnancy and Emotion

  1. I feel you, mama. But you are right, as much as this may have deviated from your original vision, he IS weaning on his own time! You are completely respecting his timeline, how beautiful for you both 🙂

    • Thank you Dionna. I have such a hard time with putting it into perspective sometimes because I thought we would have a different ending. You are right – it is on his terms and that is what we wanted.

  2. Shannon- I love that you’re honoring your own sadness, and your son’s growth, all at the same time. Your little guy is definitely defining baby-led. Good for you for finding a way to gracefully follow!

    • Thank you Dr. Laura.

      • Saranya says:

        My first child toilet trenaid at 2 1/2, and then weaned completely a few months later. So, in her case, she was dry before she was weaned. HOWEVER, there was definitely a time when we were pursuing both actively. And I actually worried that it was maybe too much all at once. But I found that, no, it was actually OK.I think that toilet learning and weaning are sort of complementary skills. In both cases they’re about a child moving from a parent-centered way of meeting their needs to a more independent way. And I think that often they seem to happen at around the same time if we follow our child’s cues. Which isn’t to say that weaning a child will necessarily impact toilet training, so much as when toddler nursing is the norm they often happen concurrently..-= Amber s last blog .. =-.

  3. Tam says:

    The first part of this story is ours exactly. After a rough start (with barely any pictures) nursing was so important to both of us. My little weaned himself just as I entered my 2nd trimester. I am part sad and part relieved.
    I love your shot of your two children together with you, so attached, so in love.

    • Thanks Tam – I love that photo as well. I just wish someone had been around to take a better photo for me. But at least I got the image and will have it to remember.

  4. Maud says:

    Whatever happens is so rarely what we plan. My experience has been the exact opposite – I kept thinking my children would naturally start to want less and less boob, and it never seemed to happen. I had no intention of tandem nursing – I distinctly remember saying, with a laugh “I certainly won’t be doing *that*!” – and guess what I ended up doing? The babies, they have their own plans.

    • They most definitely have their own plans. I am looking forward to see how my nursing relationship will unfold with Little #2. It is exciting being on this side having already experienced breastfeeding with one child. So much to learn from and so much to keep learning.

  5. Hannah says:

    I understand the fear and pain of the thought of your little no longer “needing” nursing like he used to. Pretty bittersweet isn’t it?

  6. jessica says:

    This whole parenting thing only gets more complicated as they get older, doesn’t it? Beautiful the way you honoured his needs.

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