This blessed little girl of mine has got me all worked up.
I have written a few times before about Indigo’s obsession with my breasts. Unlike North who fed until he was 20 months old, but did just that- fed, Indigo could spend all day playing, sucking, fiddling and cuddling up to my breasts. The mere sight of me is all it takes to remind her of the number one thing she likes doing best in this world- having milk. She has conversations with my breasts. They are her best friends. And although I hate to break up a good party, to be quite honest, this Mama has had enough. It’s not the fact that everywhere we go she pulls my shirt down in public, it’s not her age, I don’t really mind if she’s hungry or if she’s just looking for a bit of comfort, but what I can’t stand any longer is the frequency of her suckling. It has become a habit I just cannot sanely support any longer.
And so, from yesterday I have resoluted to firmly re-direct her attention and to remind her that “milk is for night night time”. It was a tough first day. She was absolutely beside herself with frustration and anger when I put on a summery turtleneck dress which gave her absolutely no access to her beloved milk. I offered fruit, cups of goat's milk, cuddles, toys and games as replacements yet there were still many sad and mournful tears. When it was naptime and she was allowed her “milky”, as she calls it, she let out a huge sigh of relief and I told her how proud I was of her for being such a “big girl”. The afternoon wasn’t quite as tough as the morning.
I have often mentioned how wonderfully amazed I am at how some women can feed for up to two years and beyond. It is no easy task. Between my two children I have now been breastfeeding for 3 1/2 years (minus a 3 month break before Indi’s birth). I am tired and at the end of my tether. I am so ready to reclaim my body. I don’t want this to become a resentful relationship. I would rather savour the last few months we have, set some rules straight and then wean gradually as opposed to cold turkey. If Indi can happily feed just at bedtimes without incessantly pulling my shirt down for a comfort suck, I will happily feed her until she turns two, but things need to be on my terms now, not hers.
I hope that after a few weeks of not having milk during the day she will forget that it was ever an option. The hardest thing for me will be to remember not to let the old habit kick in. A lot of her addiction to feeding is my own fault, because in the early days I found it more convenient to place her on my breast while I was attending to North or having a conversation, instead of offering an alternative comfort.
I am still demand feeding at night because we have found there is really no better way to get a good night’s sleep. I will also continue to feed her before her nap and bedtime.
Any advice on ‘weaning’ (as in slowly decreasing the number of feeds you offer) would be greatly appreciated. I am going to continue avoiding dummies and bottles in the hopes that when she, like her brother, is totally weaned there will be no other habits to break.
We will have a rough week for sure, but I hope that this change will lift all of our spirits in the end and take a heavy load off of me- physically and emotionally. I can't help but feel guilty for causing this stress in her life, North really weaned himself without ever a tear. It feels so different this time around. But on the other hand, I think this will also be good for her and I hope she will learn to have stress, challenges, fatigue and upsets head on with me right there behind her, instead of her face buried and hidden in my chest.