From Reluctantly Breastfeeding to Reluctantly Weaning, Part 2
When I left you hanging last week at the end of Part 1, Clint and I had a solid plan for weaning our 18-month-old in place, but I was having cold feet.
Once I realized that it was me, not Roy, who wasn’t ready, I thought about it—really thought about it—and came to this conclusion: Too bad for me. I want my parenting choices to be based on what’s good for my children, not what makes things easier for me. I decided to go ahead and give Roy the opportunity to stop, as planned, and see what happened.
Night one was all Clint. No nursing and no bottle, for the first time in Roy’s entire life. I said good night, leaving Clint armed with a sippy cup of water and a pile of books, then disappeared downstairs, boobs and all, to wait for the screams.
You guys. The screams didn’t come.
About 15 minutes later, Clint ambled downstairs with the baby monitor, broadcasting nothing but the chirping crickets of the sound machine set to “Summer Night.” “That went well,” he said.
I was happy? Yes. Sure. I was happy.
Then came night two. My turn. Usually, it’s nurse then night-night. Tonight, I was not going to offer, yet not going to refuse, before reading a few books to reinforce the new tradition Clint established the night before. Suffice it to say we had an uncharacteristically short breastfeeding session followed by a long book-reading session. Which is good. Right?
Night three with Clint, and therefore no nursing whatsoever, again went bump-free.
On night four with me, Roy began to nurse—out of habit, I suppose—but then stopped, almost immediately. “Moon,” he said. The boy wanted to read “Goodnight Moon.”
“Moon, or milk?” I asked, wanting to make sure he understood the decision he was making.
“Moon,” he repeated.
We haven’t nursed since. Clint and I had prepared for the worst. Had set aside a month for weaning, plus another month for backup in case one wasn’t enough. Instead, the kid was done by the end of week one. Clearly, he was ready.
Truth be told—and again, much to my surprise—I still wasn’t. Not that I was a basket case or anything, it was just hard to see the daily, snugly, mama-baby tradition we’d established from the very moment he was born fall by the wayside; hard to see my first and only not need me as much as he once did. I never realized that parenting could be summed up as the long, slow, heartbreaking process of your child needing you less and less. That’s how it feels some days, anyway. I do know and appreciate, deep down, that my little boy slowly and confidently gaining independence is a very good thing, and for that, I’m proud. Of both of us.
(In case you missed it, here’s the first part of our journey: From Reluctantly Breastfeeding to Reluctantly Weaning, Part 1)