Ready to Wean
Last week I bought a shirt with reckless abandon.
I bought this shirt with NO consideration as to whether or not I could nurse my baby while wearing it. I didn’t look for a lift-up flap or a low neckline. I didn’t think about wearing a nursing cami underneath for pull-up access. I didn’t care how stretchy it was.
I bought it just because it was cute.
It was both liberating (“finally! I can just wear whatever I want! My wardrobe will be so much more diverse again”) and emotional (“welp. I guess that part of our journey is really ending now”).
I used to be a mama who planned to nurse to at least a year, and probably beyond that (“we’ll stop when she wants to”). Now, here in the trenches, I’ve had to really push myself to make it to a year. “I’ll do one more week, then see after that.” Fortunately, I was able to say “one more week” just long enough to get us to her birthday.
About 94% of me is excited and happy about the decision to stop breastfeeding. I believe that I will be happier and healthier once I have more freedom, and my daughter needs a happy mama.
The other 6% of me is disappointed that the couple of nursing-snuggles I get each day might disappear, and nervous that our timing might be wrong. What if she loses all those magical breastmilk goodies and immunities? What if her diet isn’t sufficient?
But let’s focus on the 94%. I am so hopeful for my own peace of mind in the near future. Without breastfeeding, it should be easier to let the baby have a sitter so I---or let’s get crazy here, my husband and I---can leave the house. I’ve definitely felt stir crazy this past year, as it’s usually harder to make plans for going out than it is to just stay home with my daughter. When only one of us can attend something, it’s typically me that stays with the baby because I am the boobs, and it just makes sense.
Without breastfeeding, my family can go out in public and I won’t stress about the fact that the baby hates being under a nursing cover and is likely to give me a very public wardrobe malfunction. I won’t have to choose our seat at a restaurant based on whether or not there’s enough distance between the seatback and the table to fit both me and my daughter while she nurses.
Without breastfeeding, I won’t have to stop working every three hours to pump. Without pumping, maybe I won’t feel such intense anxiety about keeping my office, clothing, and all pump materials obsessively sanitized. I also won’t have to try to pump at home while the baby attempts to pull the bottles off of me and tug on the hose. I won’t have to stay up later than I want to in order to pump one last time. I won’t have to get up early to pump before work. I won’t have to wash pump parts. I won’t have to wash pump parts. Maybe that's reason enough to make a mama ready!
What about you mamas, if your breastfed? What were your thoughts and feelings as you approached weaning?