The end of a topless era

I think Baby Evan reads my blog, because some time between when I wrote this post and yesterday he totally weaned himself. I am thrilled and horrified and brokenhearted and nervous and happy and relieved and so, so confused. Technically he’s not TOTALLY weaned – he still wants to nurse first thing in the morning and occasionally asks during the day – but if I want to I could get him to drop those feedings without a single tear.

I just don’t want to. Not yet. As much as I would love a break before the new baby comes, I can’t even remember what life is like as a non-breastfeeding mother. I don’t remember how to wear clothes that don’t offer easy access to my chestal area. I’m not sure I can make it through a whole day without flashing some unsuspecting mall shoppers. I have very few “oh no the baby is upset” coping skills besides boob. I’m afraid I’ll start offering to nurse anything that cries, including stray cats and random strangers. I think that’s the sort of thing that gets you banned from Stop & Shop. I know I’ve only been breastfeeding for 1/27th of my life but it’s been such a huge part of every single minute of the last 14 months it feels like much much longer.

I’m really not even sure how this happened. One day he screamed if you so much as showed him a sippy and the next he signs “milk milk milk milk” but points to the cup on the counter like I’m a crazy person if I unhook my bra. If you’re looking for advice on how exactly to go about weaning your child, here’s everything I got:
Step 1: Get pregnant with baby #2.
Step 2: Give baby #1 sippy cup of rice milk.
Step 3: There are no more steps.

Really, I can’t take credit for this at all. I did nothing besides stop making gallons of milk that let down strongly enough to squirt across a room. I didn’t stop offering, I didn’t try to distract him, I didn’t give him a lot more solids than I was previously. Which makes me feel a lot better about the whole thing, since I was very close to forcing him to wean whether he was ready or not. Now I spend a great deal of time asking “Do you want milk? Mama milk? Please come here and try some nursies! Baby Evan, stop running away from meeeeeee!!”

As conflicted as I am about not making it to the two year mark, I think I’m happy where we are now and won’t do anything to intentionally alter our nursing relationship for the next few months. I’m going to be away from him for at least 12 hours in August and probably even longer in September (for a friend’s bridal shower/bachelorette party and wedding, respectively) and I feel like those will probably be the stepping stones to total weaning. And then I can be a non-nursing mother for at least a few weeks before everything starts all over again.

OMG I’m going to have to start ALL OVER AGAIN.

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10 Responses to “The end of a topless era”

  1. Amy says:

    Ahh, you have perfect timing on this post. Congrats on weaning, but I understand how conflicted you feel. Mia is almost 14 months and we have weaned down to only nursing 3 times a day. I work full time so removing the other 3 sessions was relatively easy as I just dropped 1 pumping session per week (she night weaned herself at 4 months). I didn’t have to feel like I was denying her because she was used to me not being there during that time. And during the weekend, when she would point to our usual nursing spot I would give her a sippy cup of water or milk and she was “relatively” fine with that.
    Now that we’re where we are I don’t know how to remove any more sessions without breaking her heart… I have thought about removing the bedtime one (she doesn’t nurse to sleep), but I’m afraid of how it would go. She REALLY likes her morning session and also REALLY needs the 5pm session when I get home from work….SO.
    I was only planning on nursing her for a year, but I don’t know how to stop….or even if I should. Any suggestions (besides trying not to stress about it)? On a side not, my husband is fine with me continuing for a while…which was surprising to me. He was adamant about “not more than a year”, but he sees how much she enjoys it, so I guess he changed his mind. Sorry for the long comment, you just really hit on something that is worrying me currently.

    • bebehblog says:

      The session he recently dropped that I was the most surprised about was the bedtime session. Since E handles bath & rocking I just stopped going upstairs to offer to nurse in between and Baby Evan didn’t even seem to notice. Sometimes if he’s having a really rough day or seems really sad I’ll still offer but he never latches for more than a couple seconds. You could try designating bedtime to your husband and see if it works for you. I think the morning one is the hardest to give up so I might save that for last. Good luck, let me know how you’re doing.

  2. Robyn says:

    i totally understand your feelings. Rory self weaned a while back,and it broke my heart because i wasn’t ready. But, it is nice to wear real bras again, and to not have to pump at work anymore. i was worried that the lack of breastfeeding would somehow affect our relationship in a negative way, but it hasn’t. she’s still very well attached.

  3. Not all over again!!! At least you will get to feel like you know what you are doing going into it this time around. But alas, the new baby will be just as clueless as the first :)

  4. Suzanne says:

    I always thought I would breastfeed a year, and then done. But now that C is already 7 months, I really can’t imagine weaning in 5 months at an arbitrary point. Also, I don’t have a lot of options for soothing either when you take away the boob! That is my husband’s territory.

    So, congrats and sorry at the same time! I am sure it is a perfectly healthy thing if he is doing it on his own at 14 months. Glad you didn’t have to force it on him!

  5. sarrible says:

    Maybe it tastes different and he’s having his first “Ugh, Sandy ruins EVERYTHING” moment.

  6. I didn’t breastfeed. But, can only imagine what an emotional roller coaster it must be. Hold strong Mama, very soon you’ll be doing it all over again!

  7. The Babby has pretty much weaned herself, too, and it sounds like she and Evan are following the same program. Except she’s pretty much dropped the morning nurse and is holding on to the nighttime nurse – most days, anyway. Daytime nursing is so rare, but she still signs for milk, then either latches on for one second before pointing to her cup or just pointing at my nipple and laughing. Seriously. Like “Ha ha, look what I made you do!” I’m so glad that I haven’t had to deny her something she wants, though I did feel sad for about two seconds that she wanted a straw cup and not me. Then I realized, oh my gosh, sweet freedom is just over the horizon! Until I have another, which shouldn’t be too, too long from now. Oy.

  8. […] As ambivalent as I wasabout the end of our breastfeeding relationship, I can now say THANK GOD he’s done. Pregnancy has done weird stuff to my hormones. Weird, hurty, uncomfortable stuff. Rather than the warm-fuzzy-happy feeling I used to get when the baby nursed, now it just feels like someone’s gnawing on my boob. I have to grit my teeth to keep myself from clawing my own skin off and mutter “getoffgetoffgetoffgetofffffff” under my breath. It is…unpleasant. I don’t feel any differently about breastfeeding in general – and I can’t wait to nurse the next bebeh – but for NOW, I am dunzo. […]

  9. […] he didn’t like food, how he wouldn’t take cow’s milk, how I was afraid he would never stop breastfeeding, how he made himself gag if he ate so much as a Cheerio, and how I worried SO MUCH ALL THE TIME […]

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