We've been thinking a lot about weaning, so I got out two books on weaning. I read The Nursing Mother's Guide to Weaning, first. I only read the chapter on weaning children Natalie's age and the introduction at the beginning that tells about weaning and nursing through time. While I found the intro very interesting (and sad at times considering some of the very wrong and counter-intuitive the medical advice used to be), the chapter on actual weaning was almost not useful at all. It basically went through the reasons a woman might be thinking of weaning and tried to work through them to keep nursing. It gave info on the different ways to wean (gradual versus abrupt, and some strategies for each), but most of it was obvious information, such as providing your child with more of your attention or substituting food and drink for some sessions. There was one gem in there for me though. Previous to reading this book, I hadn't thought much about Natalie playing with my belly button when she's tired, nor had I realized her putting her hand in my shirt much. Now, I've realized that she does these thing as nursing substitutes and its actually quite touching. I'm trying to respond better to these types of touches. In fact, that relates to something else about today, but first, my thoughts on the other weaning book.
I got the La Leche League's book How Weaning Happens out through interlibrary loan expecting to hate it. I figured it had to be even worse about wanting women to keep nursing than the other book. However, I'm enjoying this book a fair amount. I've found from the descriptions, that we are, for the most part, doing natural or baby led weaning. Up until now at 2-3 nursing sessions a day, I haven't had to make an effort to cut sessions. Natalie dropped then on her own at night and we substituted solids for the others, which made her happy since she really enjoys food.
However, I have mixed emotions reading this book. The first hand stories of weaning mothers are touching. It warms my heart to think that Natalie loves nursing so much. But, according to these anecdotes, Natalie nurses like a four year old. Also, there is a lot of talk about eye contact and audible sighs of pleasure. Natalie doesn't do that. She is sure excited about her morning nursing, or when I sit on the couch and peek by tummy at her, but otherwise, she doesn't show much joy during the act. Well, other than loving to touch Mommy. I wonder if I had thought about nursing too much as a form of nourishment and not as comfort. Do we have a deep bond through nursing like these mothers describe? I feel like I've decided when we'll nurse for a long time. I've decided that we would hold out a little bit to keep to a schedule during the middle of her first year. True, Natalie decided to sleep through the night on her own. But now that she is a year, she is telling me more when she wants to nurse. She knows if she goes into the bed room and stands by the bed that I know its time to nurse, but it isn't always. She will reach into my shirt or pull up my shirt to touch my belly button and lay her head on me sucking her thumb, but is she really asking to nurse or she is comfortable with the comfort this provides? Could it be that I already provide her with another other food and drink as well as other attention and stimulation? I'm not sure. I sometimes wonder if I have not read her cues well and she would really have liked to nurse more during this year. Now that I can understand her better, I want to give her what she wants more, but do I really want to go back to more than three sessions a day?
There have been some ups and downs over the last few days. Downs include:
- Natalie tripping over my foot as she went to show Mike a book and she bled from somewhere in her mouth.
- Mike having to tell Natalie "no" twice very close together and her getting very upset about it.
- Natalie having some spots on her skin, probably from her 12 month vaccinations.
- We're back to fighting over teeth brushing every night.
- Natalie pushing us away tonight at the kisses part of bed time.
- Trouble with morning nap on some days.
- Natalie is a bit addicted to watching movies on the computer.
- At story time Natalie stood face to fact with our baby neighbor. She gave her a little forehead tap kiss as well as blowing her a kiss and putting her palm on the other girl's mouth.
- In fact, Natalie is very into kissing all sorts of things - Elmo, dolly, books, her reflection. But not so much Mommy and Daddy. Every once and a while we get a good one. Like today I got a kiss on the lips while she stood on the changing table as snapped up her onesie. Mike got a kiss on the leg after he gave her something in the kitchen.
- Natalie continues to love seeing her Nana on the computer.
- Natalie is waving and saying hi to everyone when we go out shopping.
- Natalie really understands some directions, such as go get your shoes or sit on my lap.
- Natalie is completely obsessed with her Yo Gabba Gabba books. I'd say she likes them far more than the show on TV. She will bring a book over to you for you to read it and she knows to get into your lap to read it, too. Mike especially is loving this.
- Natalie has learned the word cup.
- Natalie drank all her milk for the first time tonight. We've learned she likes it in a normal cup, so that means we have to help her drink it. She likes to try to put her hand in the cup.
- Natalie thought it was hilarious when I had her dolly eat her toast and she enjoyed feeding some to dolly, too. She sometimes tries to feed us things, including her toys. Its a little sad when I have to tell her no, I can't eat something. I continue to wonder how I'm going to explain my allergies to her.