Monday, February 20, 2012

we're almost there

For the past few weeks I have been slowly weaning Indigo from her usual hourly feeds. I started by cutting out her daytime feeds for two weeks and leaving her bedtime milk and her middle of the night feeds. Lately, I've been thinking long and hard about weaning her completely. She's always been so much more demanding than North was. At 18 months old, she has still only ever slept through the night once. I am physically tired and my body is begging for a break. We also have a few family trips planned over the coming months (weekends away and our annual trip 'home' to Canada) and for some reason I really have it in my head that I want her to be completely weaned for those.

I have noticed that since we cut down on the frequency of her feeds she seems more independent, less clingy (contrary to what I thought would happen) and faces conflicts (ie. Someone just took my toy!) head on as opposed to seeking comfort from my breast.
So on Friday night as I fed her to sleep I thought, 'enjoy this, it may be one of the last'... and do you know what? I couldn't enjoy it! Because she was not using my breast for drinking or even quiet nurturing, but for playing, fiddling and goofing around. She was wriggling like a worm all over the bed while I tried to feed her, performing gymnastics while attached to me. And that was when I made the decision. Enough. She's ready. I don't want to be a part of this habit. I kissed her goodnight and determined that this was the weekend.

On Saturday she took her nap in the car, so she didn't feed to sleep. That night Brad woke to her 3 times, offered her a cup of milk and took her (kicking and screaming) to the car for a ride until she fell asleep. He tells me she was calm for the most part and settled easily on a drive. He was up most of the night driving around, resettling her and then waking up and starting over again. On Sunday she napped in the pram and then went down for her bedtime sleep with Brad, tickles on her back and a cup of milk. She woke 3 times and had a cup of milk with Brad without very much fuss. Today I offered her a cup of milk before nap time (which she was not very pleased about) she cried for about 3 minutes and then went to sleep.

We're almost there.

This is not exactly the seamless transition that North made from breast to cup without a tear or a protest, but it is not as hard as I thought it was going to be. There is a part of me that is of course, grieving, but last night Indigo gave me a big, long cuddle without feeling the need to reach up my shirt- she is beginning to realise she can receive sleepy love and comfort from me without breastfeeding. I shed a few tears this evening as I lay her down to sleep, but I know that we are ready for our next chapter together. She is ready to toddle into the world with me behind her every step of the way, but not always right beside her and certainly not as a constant bumper for every little issue.

Right now I am very grateful to a sleepless husband who has nurtured, cuddled and showered Indi with love and affection for the past few days, a patient little boy who has seen his sister doted on more than usual, hot showers spent expressing excess milk supply, long family hugs and the release a good cry brings. I will miss this most fulfilling, whole and pure of relationships dearly and cherish the memories of feeding my darling, Indigo.

We're almost there.


Phoebe said...

Hi Meagan, I've been following your blog for a while, I really enjoy it but haven't commented much.
I've recently stopped feeding my 18 month old for some similar reasons, and can really identify with what you've been feeling here. I've cried, questioned my decision, worried about whether I'm making my little girl sad, worried about whether I'll regret finishing nursing when my milk dries up... etc etc... but so far so good. We're almost a month in, and she's just gone down for her nap smiling away, and now Daddy can do bedtime as well as me. It's nice to be able to rest your body, I was completely drained, but feeling lots better now.
Thinking of you, I've found this time to be a bit of an emotional rollercoaster.
Phoebe x

aluminiumgirl said...

It is encouraging to read this. I too am weaning my little one (20mnth old, B) and it has not been without tears. She now only feeds once before bed, and that will be ending soon. The biggest battle I've found it the middle of the night feed where my tired (SO TIRED) self just gives in to her demands for "Boobies!" and lets her feed back to sleep! What do they say about a rod for my own back? ;) I'm just trying to get through at the moment though until my dear Husband can be less busy at work and able to help me.

Thanks for posting :)

Angie said...

We are no where near weaning yet, but my heart goes out to you. I was stuck in a meeting a few nights ago, and while I'm "just" a volunteer and could have walked out, I stuck around to get things done. This meant my daughter had to go to bed without me for the very first time. She ate her pear, got a bath, and snuggled with Daddy until she fell asleep - completely protest free. I was glad that she wasn't unhappy, but a little sad that she apparently didn't need me at all. I hope this means that when we do wean, it will be an easy process for her...but I still think there will be some tears from Mama!

Good luck! I'm so glad you have such supportive men in your house to help you and your girl thru this! :)

Liz said...

Love and supportive hugs to you, you are a wonderful Mummy.

Rhiannon said...

I hope this continues progressing well for you, and it enables you to regain the physical energy we all need, and the enjoyment of simply having your body to yourself again xx

jobungalow said...

Hi Meagan. I too have an 18mo daughter who is addicted to "booza". We are a long way from weaning, but I have thought about it many times. I have Hazel down to about 4 feeds during the day now, she will put her hand into my bra when she needs comfort. She has started doing this to other family members too, like Poppy.
Nights are draining. She has never slept through, and because she is teeting, it's particularly challenging. She too is an acrobat on the boob.
Good on you for making a decision and sticking to it. Although I only have the one baby, I have found that following your instinct is always right.
BTW, I very much enjoy your blog. We have used a few recipes that you have posted.

Jo xx

Bronwyn said...

thank you for such honesty Meagan, your musings are just beautiful. A few tears in my eyes as I read this post, just got my 14 month old girl down to 2 feeds a day and not looking forward to the finality of a last ever breastfeed. Suddenly the freedom it will bring me doesn't seem so sweet, but I know it is best for her to gain her independence. Well done to you and Brad for working so well together too towards a family goal x

Stacey said...

We night weaned our 18 month old a few months ago, but she is holding on very tightly to her one morning and one night feed. I have to admit I am unsure where to go from here, part of me think's if she is holding on so much she must still need it and the other part of me is exhausted and tired of the acrobatics and thinks weaning will be benefical for us all, especially as we plan to concieve again soon. Thank you for being so open about your journey. I always enjoy reading what you write, even if I don't always comment.

Jess said...

Beautiful! We're going through something similar right now with my son. I'm pregnant with our third and thought I could nurse throughout the pregnancy but it's just wearing me too thin (literally) so I need to give it up and he's ready. I too was constantly up with him even at 15 months. So exhausting. We had a few really rough nights where my husband went in instead of me and then he dwindled down to only getting up once or twice and accepting my husband as help! Now, a month later, he's sleeping through the night and only nursing twice during the day! It's so bittersweet!

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