My constant battle with child-led weaning
I know that my breastfeeding days are numbered. It’s both a frightening and relieving thought. It’s frightening to think that I will no longer be able to provide that one thing that only I can do. It’s that exclusive element that keeps bringing them back into my embrace and on my chest; the place that every mom fundamentally keeps and yearns for her child to be. I will have to search for an alternative way to replace that special bonding activity that will no longer be. I won’t even get into the details about all the benefits the babies receive from my milk.
On the other hand, weaning will be a relief because I am anticipating the return of my energy and strength that I need for myself and for my work. After all, it’s been over 3 years of nursing with only a short 4 months break or so in between. I anticipate that I will no longer feel faint if I don’t eat every few hours or have a constant feeling of thirst. Maybe I’ll become less prone to the distracting influence of the gadget or the babysitting of the television and rather have the motivation to engage them in more educational activities.
Regardless of the pros and cons of continuing or weaning, I anticipate an emotional roller coaster of feelings. Will it make me feel guilty and regretful? Will I lose my identity as a mom without the “nursing” factor? Breastfeeding started naturally and perhaps it should end naturally, without adding strain to such a care-free experience. My girls are 2 and 3 years old, and they haven’t shown any signs of weaning.
Since I began having these thoughts, whenever I hold my toddlers while nursing, I look down and constantly ponder the thought of how I love their little bodies con-caving and curving in to my own body. How I love that feeling and would be crushed without it. In fact, the youngest fell asleep without me last night as I put the older one to bed, and it broke my heart. My body was aching and craving for her as I watched her peacefully sleeping. I selfishly picked her up and held her until I fell asleep. Nothing can compare to this special time of bonding at such a tender age.
By Neta Bodrug