Such a hot topic these days:
When is the right time to wean your child off the boob?
I have friends that are still at it after 16 months, and some that stopped after 3 weeks. For me with Lebowski-it was 6 months. It was a very hard and scary decision, but I jumped off the nursing bus this past weekend. Although I’m still wondering about it at times, I think we are all in a better place having done it. For me, it was a combination of things that helped me decide.
The magic was gone
Lebowski and I were no longer having those cute bonding moments that come with nursing- gazing into each other’s eyes. He was wondering what was taking so long and why he couldn’t also get on and off 13 times each boob in order to look at his sister or some other random distraction. I was also growing impatient and annoyed: “Can’t you just focus and be done already? Why do I have to go hide in a corner so you can eat?”
It hurt again
As much as nursing was easier to get the hang of the second time… it was NOT less painful. Little man drew blood numerous times, and I’ll say that the first four weeks of nursing him were sheer torture about 70% of the time. I think the main reason I was able to stick to my guns was because I knew it would get better. Then, the kiddo got a tooth at 4 months and has been teething for the past month… AND he liked to use me as a teething toy. I was starting to get angry, as well as teeth marks. NOT my idea of a fun few hours every day.
Driving too many decisions
I started to hate pumping at home so much (due to doing at work twice a day), that I would avoid spending ANY extra time pumping at home. At first, this seemed to work. As we approached 6 months, I realized that I had been avoiding workouts or taking time for myself to avoid pumping. Instead of this resulting in my happiness, it was making me feel overwhelmed, crazy, and chained to either work or my children. Almost all moms feel this throughout most of their weeks, but it was starting to take its toll on me.
My first idea was to cut down dramatically- perfect! I’ll feed him in the mornings and pump once each day to get him a good 16 oz of boobie milk each day. I did this for a week. And what happened? My hormones took some terrible dive into depression and I was like a sad zombie. My hormones have seemed to freak out on me for most things involving children: I was a terribly sad and angry pregnant person both times, the D&C I had to have following Lebowski’s birth set me into a three-day sobbing-fest, and both weeks following childbirth turned me into a sweaty hormonal maniac. It hit me: My hormones could not handle this “tweener” stage, and I was going to have to jump ship or climb back on board and commit to the full cruise. I jumped ship (and called my mom crying about it), and honestly- 3 days later I started to feel like myself again.
Wanting ‘ME’ back
There are so many things that we, as moms, give up or sacrifice for our amazing children. I clearly appreciate my mom more after realizing how much she either put on hold or took off her life’s “to do’s” until we were older. It’s so special to be a mom, and so hard at the same time. I am so grateful for my beautiful children and family, but sometimes I sit down for 35 seconds and think, “How did I get here?” or “Why is every week a series of tired mornings, kid activities, schedule juggling, and meal planning?” or “Where did the girl go that was in the Peace Corps and was going to work in Africa after grad school?”
Yes. Those things all go through my head, and it’s ok. I know that this time in my life is crazy and fleeting, and that I won’t be obligated to small children forever. But I also feel like it is possible to drown in the craziness that managing a family and career creates. If you aren’t paying close attention, being a working mom can completely own you- and take you over in its possessive bubble. When it starts to fully own you, you start to think that taking a yoga class or going on a hike alone might be too selfish of you. It’s true- we have all been there: feeling guilty or shameful for doing a completely normal and wonderful activity that contributes to our health and sanity.
For me- nursing Lebowski was the straw breaking the camel’s back on my starting to feel ‘taken over’ again. This time, I was able recognize it and realize that something had to give for me to move forward in my life and my own personal development. That thing was nursing, and yes- on some levels it could be considered selfish. But honestly, we aren’t selfish that often these days, but don’t we have to be? Don’t we have to look out for our own physical and mental health? (I sure as hell know the three-year-old down the hallway screaming in her room isn’t looking out for my mental health, dammit.)
I wanted my body back. I wanted my morning workouts back. I wanted my normal-sized boobs back. I wanted sleeping in (once a week) back. I wanted to feel like myself again and no longer doubt if my intentions were hormonal. I wanted some level of freedom back, because goodness knows we only have so much right now.
Scary and risky to take the plunge, but for me- it was the right decision.