When talking about weaning from breastfeeding there is a fine balance between being supportive and encouraging someone to wean their child too soon. Yet, no one nurses forever. There always has to be an end and sometimes that can be hard.
Some moms may mourn the loss of their beautiful, intimate, nursing relationship that they had with their children. This post is for those moms. Those moms who are sad. Those moms who cry at the thought of weaning. Those moms who are just like me.
My Weaning from Breastfeeding Story
I weaned both of my children around the age of two. Despite my struggles with extended breastfeeding and even my feelings of embarrassment, weaning my children rocked me to the core. The wind was nearly knocked out of me the first night that I laid them down in their beds without nursing. My children aren’t babies anymore and it grieves me.
Noah officially weaned last month. Mother’s Day was one of the very last times that he nursed. Now I am “free” as some might say. I have been pregnant, breastfeeding, or both since January 2009. It is 5.5 years later and I have my body back for the very first time. Some probably see that as a reason to celebrate, but I just feel sad.
Will I ever have another baby? Will I ever breastfeed again? Is this baby stage of life truly over? I honestly don’t know. I don’t want to breastfeed forever, but I can hardly fathom that I’ll never do it again.
A Benediction to Weaning Moms
So many milestones are things that we celebrate. First steps, first words, and sleeping through the night are all reasons to rejoice. They are signs our babies are growing up, but we gloss over the sadness.
Yet weaning? Weaning from breastfeeding is a punch in the gut.
Babies don’t keep.
The squishy thighs and chubby cheeks are disappearing. The swaddled blankets, pacifiers, newborn smell, and precious babbles are behind us. And we mourn.
But mamas, let us rejoice in the awe of our bodies! You created life, brought that precious life into this world, and then helped their little body grow – all with your own body. You are amazing. You are magical. You are a mom.
You nursed when they were hungry. You nursed when they were tired. You nursed when they were sick. You nursed when they were bored. You nursed when they simply needed you.
In the middle of the night, in the middle of the day…
In your bed, in your car, in your living room, at the park…
When it wasn’t convenient, when you didn’t have the time, when you wanted to say no…
No one else has shared these intimate moments with your child. No one else gets the “milk drunk” smiles or wipes away the drips on their chin. No one else is Mommy.
But you are.
And you are amazing.
You’ve sacrificed your body, your time, and your comfort to breastfeed your child. That is such a gift. It doesn’t matter if you did it for 6 weeks, 6 months, or 2 years. You have given your child an amazing start at life.
And now it is time to let go. It is time to move on. It is time to replace nursing with a simple cuddle, a song, a stuffed animal, or a rub on the back. Just the thought puts a pit in my stomach. It doesn’t feel right, yet now is the time. Of course nothing can ever replace mom, but it is time to say goodbye to nursing.
So go ahead and cry, mama. It can be hard to say goodbye.
But after you wipe your eyes, hold your head up high. Because you are amazing. You are magical.
You are Mommy.
Read these for practical tips on weaning from breastfeeding:
- Extended Breastfeeding: Weaning Your Older Child Gently
- Weaning from Breastfeeding: 7 Things for Moms to Consider
You should also head over to Emily’s post at Live Renewed where she is sharing some thoughts on being done with babies and breastfeeding. It is so relatable. I cried reading it.
Are you mourning the end of your breastfeeding relationship? Was it emotionally difficult for you to wean?