1.14.2005

Weaning

When Buddy Boo was born, one of the best pieces of unsolicited advice I was given by doctors, lactation consultants, moms and non-moms alike, was to not set a long-range goal for breastfeeding. Take it one week, one day at a time. As I have stated in previous posts, there is enough guilt and pressure associated with breastfeeding these days, that self-imposed pressure is absolutely unnecessary. It's also, quite frankly, impossible to avoid.

We celebrated our one week anniversary of nursing success. Then one month. Then three months. Then six months. As I prepare to celebrate our eight month mark coming up at the end of this month, I realize that the end may be sooner rather than later. And I realize that in my mind, I have always had a secret goal of making it to one year.

The madness of pumping at work ended for me at the beginning of this month. Boo now has formula during the day while I am at work. It wasn't as hard to say goodbye to pumping. I feared pain or leaking from engorgement, but thankfully experienced neither. I feared my supply would completely diminish, but so far it seems I can still produce enough to nurse Boo in the morning, in the evening, those days I work from home, and on weekends.

As we slowly go through the long process of weaning, I also realize that I am not ready. I don't think Boo is either. As soon as I get home, even if he just had a full bottle an hour earlier, he wants to nurse. As soon as he wakes up, he wants to nurse. It is the wonderful bonding experience everyone speaks of - that intimate, special mom and baby time. Yet it's much more than that. Weaning is just one of the many goodbyes we will have to face through the years. Of all of the phases we've had to say goodbye to so far to make room for new phases, this is the most emotional of all for me. It's not quick like the others.

It is The Long Goodbye.

How long will it continue? One more month, perhaps two, but if we are lucky, we'll make it to that year mark. Maybe by then I will be ready to say goodbye to nursing, but I don't think any amount of time will make it easier. What makes it so hard to say goodbye to nursing? It will mean the beginning of my baby not needing me, not relying on me, for comfort and sustenance. It will mean he really is growing up fast.

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