Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Just bet"wean" us

No typo in the headline, I've got weaning on the brain. As I've already written, Little Elvis is almost a year old. My goal has always been to breastfeed for a year, since that's what's recommended. And it looks like we will make this goal!

According to lots of people, I would never make it. My mom gave me six months, my doctor seven, others thought I might make nine. These predictions frustrated me. Mainly because I never asked anyone's opinion on how long I should breastfeed. If they asked, I would inform them of my goal, then be forced to receive their forecast.

I know that I'm very lucky. Breastfeeding isn't easy, or convenient for lots of moms. It took us a few weeks, but Little Elvis and I are now old pros.

We are also down to two feedings a day -- one in the morning when he wakes up, and one in the evening before bedtime.

Little Elvis voluntarily went down to three feedings a day a few months ago. So, I thought cutting out the afternoon feeding would be easy. It wasn't. In fact, it was awful. I think part of the problem was my timing.

I decided to cut back to two feedings two days before Little Elvis got his stomach bug. As soon as he was officially over that, he started cutting tooth number seven. He also just didn't want to lose that noontime feeding. He would suck at my neck and bite my collarbone when I tried to soothe him around his expected feeding time. At first, I gave him lots of whole milk. So much that my poor baby got constipation. Needless to say, I completely botched the whole thing.

Little Elvis is now accepting his new feeding schedule for the most part, although he still grabs at my chest and bra straps around 3 or 4 each afternoon.

So I've decided not to cut out the morning feeding yet.

I feel like I have good reasons:
1. Little Elvis' teeth typically come in twos. I have a feeling tooth number eight will be popping up any day now.
2. We are traveling to Mississippi in two weeks (Little Elvis gets TWO birthday parties this year. One here and one in Mississippi with my family.) It will be our fourth trip to Mississippi, and the nights have been pretty rough during each trip. He sleeps excellently the first night, and then it goes downhill from there. Bob won't be coming with us, and when it's 3 in the morning and Little Elvis is going on hour number two of non-stop crying, well, I'm not above nursing. I strongly suspect that tooth number eight will still be coming in, and I just don't want to throw his schedule even more out of whack.

Why am I writing this like I'm defending myself? I feel I have to. I'm feeling pressure to stop breastfeeding. It's not lots of pressure, but I definitely feel it, and it frustrates me. I thought that if I wrote out my feelings, then it would force me to organize my thoughts and prepare myself for the oncoming criticism.

I do not plan to breastfeed Little Elvis until he's in high school. (I've been asked before if I'm going to be one of "those" moms. I've also been asked, "Are you STILL breastfeeding?") In fact, I feel like I'm ready to stop now. But I don't think he is. I'm lucky to be in a position where I don't have to force him to wean, and I've decided not to force the issue on him until we return from our Mississippi trip.

Little Elvis will be more than a year old, and I am fine with this.


Blogger Stacey said...

Let me first start off by saying, I can't remember how I 'stumbled' upon your blog, but I've had fun reading the past few posts!

Anyway, good for you with breastfeeding thus far! If you would have stopped after a week, month, year, etc, I STILL would have congratulated you, because you did it!

And so you don't feel alone, I have a 15 1/2 month old who still nurses. Usually it's at nap and night time, then occasionally overnight, but we're still going strong. So you can use me as an example of how 'not so bad' you are. i.e when someone asks "are you STILL breastfeeding?" You can say, "I know someone who is breastfeeding her 15 month old with no end in sight! Now THAT's a long time!" (obviously that's tongue in cheek, but just to show people there's someone who's nursing longer than you!)

Good luck with weaning! (Whenever you choose to do so) :-)


10:32 AM  
Anonymous Dawn @ Coming to a Nursery Near You said...

I nursed my daughter till she was either 14 or 16 months. I had planned on nursing zach until he was ready to stop too, but things came up.

Don't give in to anyone else's expectations of you or your mothering instincts. You don't want to end this traumatically - for you OR him. Follow his lead, but what you've done so far is awesome - anything that he doesn't notice is great! :)

It's been a pleasure to go through our babies' first year with you!

11:18 AM  
Blogger Mighty Morphin' Mama said...

I am really sorry that you are feeling pressure to stop. How wonderful that you have done it this long, and really most kids will wean themselves at some point in the first couple years.
I think the longest I nursed was around 18 months, by then they had all quit on me. I know lots of women who have nursed 2 and 3 year olds though and I think that is just fine. For them:)
Do what feels right for you, it is perfectly healthy to continue as you are, and 2 feedings a day is really not much. Enjoy those special moments. Every one of them.

2:06 PM  
Blogger mpotter said...

i'm no expert (yet- ha!) but i watched something about a year ago that stuck with me. not sure, but it may have been on the TLC show surviving motherhood.

anyway, the "expert" (not me) said that it's ok to nurse as long as it works for the both of you. and you give it up when it stops. basically, as long as both parties agree.....

i hope the pressure lessens. it seems that you're doing right for you both, and that's kudos to you!

seems like you're doing what's right for y'all and i bet that can't always be easy w/o judgement.

so good luck! and enjoy.

and, um, a YEAR??? i can't believe i've been reading you for that long+!!!

8:37 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

I can so relate.

My first son never went to breast and people would always ask how long I was going to pump for... even I never imagined he would get only breast milk till he was 14 months old!

My second son right straight to breast. We become pros - and people would comment that Iwould probably do it till he was 12. Then he decided at 10 months he had better things to do and sippy cups were so handy.

Now with Mags, she is showing signs of not wanting to wean...and in fact, I am ready...but I will continue as long as she wants it.

2:24 PM  
Blogger Marla said...

Since we adopted I don't have any breast feeding experience but I certainly can relate to people telling you what they think you should be doing. So annoying! Do what you feel is right for you and lil' Elvis and don't even give a second of thought to what a doctor or anyone else thinks!

9:45 AM  
Anonymous Laura McIntyre said...

Its seems we both have weaning on the brain, i think its wonderful you have made it this long and you really don't have to rush the weaning. Although i do honestly believe that when it no longer becomes something your enjoying then weaning is important , hence the reason im weaning Rebecca.

I get it alot with Eilidh people asking if im still breastfeeding, i normally shock them by laughing and saying need to wean her sister first before her and they normally are to shocked to say anything.

Little Elvis is a lucky little guy

3:19 AM  

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