Saturday, February 27, 2010

On the Way Out

Lydia will turn one in thirteen days. While it is hard to think of our lives without her, it amazes me that she was born almost one full year ago.

I will do a post closer to her birthday with thoughts and musings on such a big milestone, but one part of her birthday that is already at hand is my decision to wean her at one year. That's right, kids, we're cutting her off, and the experience is already more bittersweet than I ever anticipated it would be. The thought of having my body back to myself, hopefully having a little more energy, being able to do an evening yoga class during the week, and bras that provide support without opening like barn doors are all driving the decision, but I'm realizing that it's not quite as cut and dry as I thought it would be.

My original goal was six months, and I set one year as my dream. As the year mark grows closer, I have become painfully aware of all of these women who nurse beyond the year mark (yes, I'm competitive, get over it), of the stupid Kelly Mom site that tells me I should wait until Lydia weans herself (college?) or until I can explain it to her so she doesn't feel abandoned, and of women who want to nurse but aren't able to. Stopping while I'm still able and Lydia still wants breastmilk, I feel incredibly guilty.

On top of that, Lydia loves to nurse. While I know she'll be okay and we'll continue to cuddle and have bonding time, I feel like I'm depriving her of something she enjoys. I know my friends who don't have kids--the ones who didn't stop reading as soon as they realized this post was about breastfeeding--do not understand this, and until a month or so ago, I didn't understand it, either. One of my favorite parenting books is a collection of essays about breastfeeding, and the section on weaning just didn't register with me--until now. The pros of weaning definitely outweigh the cons for me, but it is a much more mixed bag than I anticipated.

We are down to two feedings a day and introduced cow's milk with her snack a few weeks ago. Yes, (gasp!) before her first birthday, which I realize goes against the one year recommendation most doctors give, but I wasn't getting enough milk from pumping, and we didn't want to transition her to formula and then to cow's milk a few weeks later. One of these days, I'll do a post about all of the rules we've broken. Poor Lydia. If she gets rejected from Harvard, you can blame us for giving her cow's milk before she was one year old and rice cereal before she was six months, while I blame that crazy lady who gave her chocolate cake a few months ago.

Also, let the record show that Lydia loves cow's milk, and other than a few digestive, uh, events during the first few days she had it, she's doing well and is showing no sign of a milk allergy or intolerance. She only gets a few ounces a day until we pull back on the last two nursing sessions.

So here we go. One of many, many times when I will let go of something that makes Lydia just a little more independent, a little more grown up... that's what it's all about, right, this parenting thing?


  1. I am in the middle of writing a post called "thoughts on weaning." I've got one month and thirteen days until I reach my goal and I'm struggling with a lot of the same issues. It drives me nuts that you can go to websites looking for insights on weaning and end up feeling guilty about wanting to wean at one year. I guess this is all by way of saying I'm not copying you when I publish that post. :) Congrats on hitting the year mark! It was such a struggle for me and I have an amazingly lenient work schedule so I am in absolute awe of your achievement!

  2. I think it's amazing that you made it a year! Just think about the wonderful 365 days of breastmilk that you gave to your daughter.

    I only made it a month due to chronic mastitis and supply issues...and I am still sad about it. If I ever have another child, my goal is 6 months!

  3. Bravo, Laurie for nursing for a year! I aimed for a year with Lars, but it ended up being more like 16 months before I could finally stop. I completely understand all the points you discuss- wanting to wear "normal" bras again, freeing your evenings (somewhat), but also feeling really attached & guilty about wanting to move on when your baby clearly wants to continue. Hang in there, & be as gradual as you need to be.

  4. I really liked reading your thoughts Laurie. Of course I'm in the land of unknown right now, and just hoping breastfeeding goes well in general - but one year is definitely my total goal/hope. It's such a tricky thing...too many thoughts already to write them all out in a comment. But it helped me to read your musings on the matter! Way to go on making it a year, and good luck with this huge transition...

  5. Hey, I just read Elizabeth's post about weaning so I went back to the one I wrote. And I noticed that two people had left me comments, you and her. And I just want to post here what you told me then as I was expressing doubts and having anxiety about having made it to ONLY a year. So, here's the wisdom and encouragement from my good friend, Laurie: "First, I hope you are taking the time to congratulate yourself on making it to the year mark. You are amazing and have given so much to Aidan in all of your efforts and dedication to breast feeding. I remember being pregnant and hearing you say you were going to do the whole year and thinking you were crazy. Now, here you are! I'm sure there will be a moment when it feels right to wean Aidan, and I hope you are not letting your feelings either way be dictated by anything or one that tells you you are making the wrong choice. It seems that when it comes to nutrition and health, there is always one more thing we could be doing to be better or more sensitive or responsible or whatever."