Monday, November 17, 2014

On weaning

Certain unnamed parties continue to ask: Are you still breastfeeding?

Answer: Yes.

Did I imagine I'd still be breastfeeding my kid when he was nearly a year old? No. Then why am I still doing it? Because my child has a very strong association with breastfeeding and sleep. And a sleeping baby is a baby I like. (Secondary reasons: My child is skinny and needs the calories, and has a sensitivity to dairy, so I can't just switch to cow's milk.)

Also, FYIzers, the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends breastfeeding for at least 12 months, and the World Health Organization recommends 2 years (*gulp*).

I do feel a little defensive about still breastfeeding. There's a stigma against moms who breastfeed past age 1, no matter what anyone says. It just makes people uncomfortable to see toddlers breastfeeding. It's like people think, Well, if you're still doing it at 1, next thing you know the kid's gonna have a tumbler of scotch in one hand and mom's boob in the other.

But, there's good news. I do want to wean my little milk hound. Particularly now that he's got TEETH.

I realize most babies begin teething around 6 months, but I got a reprieve and Graham didn't get his first tooth until 10 1/2 months. But they started popping in one after the other and now it's basically like trying to feed a puppy, with those little needle teeth. Today, for example, he bit one boob, unintentionally, and I yelped, scaring him. Then he bit the other one and somehow I gulped back a yell but it hurt so bad tears sprang to my eyes. There is never a time when my boobs do not hurt a little bit.

So believe me, no one is more ready for this child to wean than I am. But also -- I think I'm gonna need a lot of luck to make it happen.


  1. Hey, you nurse until you and the boy are done and damn the people who can't handle it. I am zero help on the weaning thing though -- Sean self-weaned when he discovered that milk is freaking delicious and Allie was on hypoallergenic formula by the time she was 3 months old because my milk dried up like the Sahara after a surgery.

    Although if you want to try to start introducing him to a different milk so he gets a taste for it, it might help later, when you're ready to try weaning.

    1. Good idea ... I just need to figure out what that's going to be!

  2. I totally sympathize with the biting and wanting to wean but just wanted to say that I nursed my little guy until he was 2.5. He also was a non-sleeper, and he would sleep after nursing -- ergo, long nursing. The thing that made it bearable was that by a year, he'd only nurse at home, and only before sleeping. And occasionally if he was SUPER overwrought: nothing tames a toddler meltdown better than nursing.

    My point being: if you *want* to continue nursing, don't let someone else stop you. But don't let my experience sway you either!

    Also: best fix for biting? If you can bear it, bring the kid closer. Cover his nose with your breast, so he can't breathe. He will immediately open his mouth because that's The natural reflex when your nose is covered -- plus your kid has the unpleasant sensation of not breathing for a nanosecond, so they aren't inclined to repeat it. It really works ...

    1. Genie, that's a smart suggestion... the instinct is to pull them away as quickly as possible. The first time my son bit me, I actually saw stars (it was the first time I knew what that expression meant).

      I thought I'd be lucky to make it to a year nursing; I had to leave the country to wean him at 2 1/2.

      I must also chime in with this: don't apologize for nursing! Nothing is wrong with it! Anyone with issues about your breasfeeding life is projecting their own weirdness.

    2. I need to try this method! If I can manage not to pull away first. :)