Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Weaning: done!

Why have booby milk when there's chocolate ice cream?

I thought I'd give a quick update on the whole weaning thing.

In my last post, almost three weeks ago, I reported that it had been 45 hours since I last breastfed Phoebe, and pondered whether I'd ever do it again.

Well, I haven't. It's quite amazing. I haven't offered and she hasn't asked. Well, a few times she's made her milky sign but she's been quite happy with a cuddle, or a cup of milk, or a story, or snack. The time was obviously just right for both of us. In fact, dropping the last feed was much easier than dropping the morning feed.

I bought Phoebe a new no-spill sippy cup the other day and she now has a cup of milk at breakfast and supper. She also takes milk to daycare for afternoon tea.

For a week or two after we stopped feeding I didn't bath with Phoebe. I didn't want her to launch herself upon my naked boobies. A few nights ago we had our first bath together since stopping. She was interested in my boobs but not overly so. She cuddled and kissed them but didn't try to feed. It was as though she could sort of remember a relationship with them but not the details. Funnily, she also kissed Toby's nipples when she was in the bath with him. Funny girl.

So that's that and I have to say I'm amazed. There have been so many times that I've stressed about dropping a feed and at the end of last year I was really worried about whether I should try and wean before I returned to work. Then, after weaning all but two feeds, things seemed to stretch out for so long I worried that she'd be breastfeeding until she started school. I probably fed her for longer than necessary as it became such a part of our routine. As a working mother, routine is very important. If I didn't feed her before breakfast then she'd want to feed before I left for work. By this time she was covered in food and I was ready for work. So I'd offer first thing to avoid a messy late-for-work situation.

In hindsight all the worrying was unnecessary. When nature is allowed to run its course things just happen the way they're supposed to. It is difficult to surrender to that in this modern world where we are confined by society's expectations, limitations and schedules. Working may have made it easier to wean as for much of the time we were apart and I couldn't feed her. On the other hand it may have dragged things out for longer than necessary as Phoebe needed it for comfort, to make up for not seeing me so much, and I clung to the routine. In the end it didn't matter as it happened when we were both ready. I never got fed up with feeding Phoebe but I was ready to let it go. And she doesn't seem to have missed it much. It was one of the loveliest experiences I have ever had but man, I'm pleased to have my body back.

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