Saturday, June 29, 2013

William's Weaning

Even though you are told that every child is different, I never really though that nursing William and Natalie would be so different.  I had a hand in weaning Natalie, which is not surprising since I lead most of her nursing.  We wanted to get pregnant again and she was down one or two a day (none at night), so I gave her a little push.  I thought that it was pretty natural.  Until William.  I was very much in control when nursing Natalie.  We had a rather set schedule and I altered it as she got older and started solids.  William, though, always nursed on demand.  Day and night; at home and in public.  At about 8 months old, we did some sleep training introducing Blankie so that he would stop needing me to nurse him back to sleep and bed share.  After that, he no longer nursed to sleep, but occasionally woke at night.  Around  his first birthday, we had some trouble and I thought he was weaning, but when I gave him more control in our nursing routine, he regained interest. 
We were still nursing several times a day when he was 15 months old, just past the age of Natalie's weaning.  Over the holidays, I got very sick with the flu, and nursing him was horrible (being awake was horrible).  After that, I decided to cut back on his nursing; I simply didn't give in every time he said "boo boos."  William asking to nurse with words was something I always enjoyed.  Natalie never made up a word for nursing, but boobas, and then later boo boos, was one of William's first words.  It was hard to say no when there was no question what he wanted, but often if I just said to wait, he was distracted by something else, especially a drink or snack. 

By April (20 months), he only nursed once a day before bed, and the rare occasion in the middle of the night.  We were both attached to the bed time nursing.  Mike would get William into his pjs and read to him, and then I would come in to nurse.  Since we used the saddle hold, the whole nursing session was like a big snuggle.  He would always start on the left, then move to the right.  To buy more time before I left, he would try to go back and forth.  Sometimes, at the end, Blankie got boo boos, too.  While nursing, I stroked (and smelled) his hair.  Some nights, I told him stories about himself and what he had done that day, or recited a book I knew by heart.  I rubbed his back and kissed him. 

Then April 28th, baby cousin Steve came for a weekend visit.  And suddenly, William was weaned!  I was so shocked by the suddenness that I barely had time to feel sad about it or relish the moment in my mind.  Previously, we had had a couple false weanings that tugged at my heart strings, but this time it was real.  The second night of my nephew's visit, William nursed for only a minute or so before wanting to get into bed.  Then he was done.  He went from being excited about Mommy showing up at bedtime for Boobie Time to being perfectly satisfied with stories and hugs.  Less than two weeks later, we switched him into a toddler bed which totally altered his bedtime routine to being more story and play based than snuggles with Mommy. 

We only went back once or twice.  The one I recall clearly was changing his diaper after I had taken a shower and was still wrapped up in a towel.  But, he never asked to nurse at bedtime again.

There are still times I wish I could nurse him.  A day like today when he was fussy and whiny all day is a day when I wish I could have given him more than hugs.  I am sad when I think that I will never nurse another baby, though I have no desire to go back to being up every couple hours.  I wish that I had recorded more about this short time we had together, but I do have something I never had with Natalie, which is photographs of us nursing. 

Its been almost two months now, and not nursing is so engrained that Mike and I had a hard time remembering just when we had stopped.  Even though it was sudden, I am happy with the end of our nursing, and glad to know it was completely William's choice. 

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