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Hollow Tree Ventures parenting humor
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Weaning for weenies


I've been a mom for nearly eleven years now, and I keep thinking I've almost learned what my role entails.

As I see it, my job is to gently guide my children through life. I'm tasked with showing them the proper way to do things and how to treat others. I'm supposed to teach them Life Skills, to hold their hands and usher them through each stage of development into the next.

Unfortunately, these mothering tasks appear to exist solely to keep me occupied while the kids finish doing whatever the hell they felt like doing in the first place, until they decide to stumble headlong into the next stage, phase, or learning opportunity on their own terms, pretty much completely independent of my input.

I didn't always know this.

I used to think I was contributing in some way - that I had,  for example, convinced my children to eat vegetables by teaching them the importance of nutrition, when in fact they were just starving after expending all their energy on grinding my old lipsticks into the carpet.

I came to realize that a lot of the parenting I'd thought I'd done was accidental at best.

That's why it surprised me so much to discover there was a bit of parenting I still thought I'd done on purpose. I breastfed my two older children, and when each one was about a year old I decided it was time to wean. I followed the steps all the doctors and lacticians and What To Expect  books suggested, and it worked like a charm. Foolishly, I was under the impression that my actions had led to the desired results.

Turns out, the kids must've just coincidentally decided to stop nursing at the same time I decided to wean.

I say that because, with the current baby, I was every bit as ready to wean at one year as I was with the first two. Yet here I am, nearing her second birthday, and she shows no signs of stopping. She loooooooves it. She asks hopefully, "Bees?" and then, if it is time to nurse, she gets ridiculously happy.

That's not to say I don't still enjoy it, too. The snuggling is nice. Being needed is nice. But on the other hand, being needed also sucks. Literally.

Thankfully, we're officially down to nursing before nap and before bedtime. Though she still tries to crawl under my shirt several times per day, we've progressed to the point where, with the help of a low-voltage cattle prod and several lengths of duct tape, I can convince her to wait until later. Usually.

I'm not complaining, I know I'm lucky to get this experience and I should enjoy it while it lasts, yadda yadda yadda. I just wasn't expecting this part to be so hard. I wake up every morning determined to reclaim my entire anatomy, but then she's SO DAMN CUTE that it's next to impossible to deny her. And let's not pretend convenience doesn't have something to do with it, too; what seems like a great plan at 7 a.m. is easily chucked out the window at 11 p.m. when your choices become:
A) Stick to the plan. Try to divert her attention. Offer alternatives. Hang out with a cranky, crying, confused baby until the wee hours of the morning, when you're already so exhausted you would happily do the Nestea Plunge™ into a swimming pool of razor blades and lemon juice if you knew you'd get to take a nap when you landed.
B) Just nurse the dang baby and wean her tomorrow. 
Each day I have every intention of being a weaner, but her sweet requests for my "bees" reduce me to a wiener.

So help a mama out - what worked for you? Did anyone else out there have a kid who resisted giving up their human pacifier? Do I just go with the (milk) flow until Time magazine calls, or put my cold, heartless foot down?
Is it too late to say I'm asking for a friend?
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35 comments:

  1. Awe! She's such a sweetie! I love this story, razor blades and all. :) Devan

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    1. She sure is cute - it makes stuff like this harder, but I GUESS I wouldn't want it any other way. ;)

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  2. Ah, weaning, huh? I'm doing it right now. 11.5 months, ever so closely inching to his first birthday, and I am now getting over my second battle with mastitis, so there in lies the reason why I'm weaning. I went to about 14 months with number one, with the intentions of doing the same...but it's just not gonna happen.

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    1. Ugh, mastitis - been there, I'm cringing. That is NO fun. It just goes to show, with kids you might as well not make plans. Take care of yourself!

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  3. wish I could help, but I was never able to produce enough milk to sustain even a small hamster! good luck!

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    1. Thanks! I don't know why mine are so eager to produce - probably overcompensating for a complete lack of performance in every other aspect. ;)

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  4. I heard that giving your husband a massage helps with this sort of thing. But only if your husband is as cool as I hear yours is...

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  5. wish I could help, but I was never able to produce enough milk to sustain even a small hamster! good luck!

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  6. wish I could help, but I was never able to produce enough milk to sustain even a small hamster! good luck!

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  7. I wish I had some good advice, but I'm still nursing my 19-month-old, so I can commiserate more than anything! My 1st weaned just after his 1st birthday, his decision, so it was easy. I figured I'd do the same with my 2nd, but he has had other ideas! So then I thought he'd wean when I got preggo again, but nope, 11 wks now, and he's still going (though that is around the time he cut back)! We are down to just once a day, in the morning, so it could be worse. Then, I thought that last week would do it when we were both sick and he missed 2 days. I was just going to let that be it, but then he threw a fit the next morning when I didn't nurse him, so we're back to it again. I really want to wean him before the baby arrives in September, so I hope he is ready soon! I'll be looking for some good responses here! :)

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    1. OMG, not only do you understand, but you're also GROWING A PERSON??? You officially get dibs in any weaning mojo the universe has to offer - good luck! :D

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    2. HAHAHA! Yeah, kind of makes me feel like Superwoman, huh? :) Thanks so much! I may just have to deal with a cranky toddler soon, if he shows no signs of wanting to give it up on his own! :/

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  8. So I haven't actually weaned a baby, but I do have some good advice from a friend. My first weaned himself 5 days before 9 months old and I had to pump ugh. My second is 6 days shy of 9 months old, and I fear will fall into the category of your daughter, so my friend told me about this "bye bye boobie" party.

    Whenever you're ready to wean, you set it up as a celebration and a positive send off to the boobie. Mommy gets big "X" bandaids across her boobs (kept there until child stops lifting shirt to check ~2 weeks in her case). They had a little party complete with cake, presents, the works, and said good bye to nursing.

    I was kind of hoping my #2 would also wean himself so I wouldn't have to go through the emotion of knowing it would be the last time I nursed, but he is a boob addict! Anyway, good luck and let me know if you try the bye bye boobie thing because I may need it too!

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    1. That party sounds über adorable, and bandaids? I'd more than happily wear plated armor over my chest if it would help. I hate the idea of being the one to decide, too, especially because no matter how tired of it I get some days I know without a doubt I'll miss it. Dang hormones. ;) Thanks for the idea!

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  9. Oh my gosh, are we twins, Robyn? This is so me. All of my others weaned between 9 and 12 months. But my 20 month old is perfectly used to Mommy's nipples soothing him to sleep. I've tried to just rock him or give him a pacifier, but he gets insensed. He gets so excited when he sees the Boppy pillow, and he is so cute, and I do like cuddling, and it's only at nap and night time. Yes, I've gone through the whole thing in my head too. Surely we won't end up on the cover of Time Magazine, will we?

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    1. You just totally made my night - that's it exactly! If Time calls, I'm not going to the photo shoot without you. :)

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  10. Cute story, Robyn! I totally get the part about our role of just hanging out and pretending to be important while they take all their life decisions on their own (as it should be!)

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    1. It sure feels that way a lot of the time, doesn't it? ;)

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  11. Being needed this way does sometimes suck. (What an awesome line.)We're working on whittling down to nap and bedtime over here as well, but my one year old might 'nuhsss' forever too. While latched onto one boob, she holds on to the other and when she isn't using either, she is constantly confirming their well being, even makes trips across the room just to say 'hey'. When I carry her around she holds onto my breast as those it wouldn't come along otherwise. Not to complain, I'm going to milk this relationship for all it is worth. But there are times I think I might be okay detaching them and handing them over entirely to her care.

    P.S. Jenn at SomethingClever2.0 did a Theme Thursday link up on the topic of breastfeeding a couple weeks back...you can find her board on Pinterest if you're interested.

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    1. I have the same thing here- the check-ins, and the habit of manhandling one while latched on the other. And the occasional wish to detach them - that too. ;) Thanks for the heads up about Jenn's board - I'll check it out!

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  12. I know how tiresome that is, having breastfed my oldest for 26 months and my,now, almost 25 month not even considering the idea of letting the boobs go! However, I try to keep in mind that not only I'm still giving him live antibodies, I'm also reducing my chances of developing some illnesses. There is a great pediatrician called Jay Gordon who developed a very gentle and efficient method for weaning our babies. I used it with my daughter and it worked like a charm. I plan to use it with my son when the right timing comes! Just look for his name on Google and you'll find his site.

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    1. There are definitely LOTS of great benefits to nursing; I give breast milk the credit for the fact that the baby has avoided catching any of the flus the older kids have brought home from school! Thanks so much for the suggestion - I'm really interested to see what Jay Gordon's methods are. :)

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  13. Each kid is different, and some are easier than others. My solution for my first daughter was to get pregnant again. NOTHING is worse than trying to nurse when you are pregnant. Doesn't sound like an attractive option to you, does it?

    Hands down, the best way to wean is to GO AWAY. If Daddy is the ONLY OPTION on how to go to bed, somehow, they all survive and figure it out. I personally recommend a long weekend in a hotel hosting a massage convention/wine tasting, but that is really just dreaming in my case. Going to work in the evenings works too, but sucks infinitely more. Just leave. Your husband will probably hate you for a few days, but that is the cost of having access granted again, right?

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    1. Haha, I like your angle on it - plus, when I get back maybe he'll be so happy to see me (and get a break) he'll forget all about how he was planning to kill me in my sleep. ;)

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  14. I waned my daughter at about 20 months. I was doing the same routine: only at nap and bedtimes. What worked best though is that I went back to work and I worked a couple of nights. She also went to daycare. My husband was able to put her to sleep with some tears. But that was that, she had no choice. Eventually she stopped nursing. She would grope me regularly for a long time. But now she is 4 and no longer grabs at me... Finally.

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    1. So it only took until age 4 for her to get over it, eh? Maybe I could wear a stainless steel tube top until then. Thanks for the advice!

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  15. Ah, yes, the weaning. I was only going to nurse for a year, but at age one my little guy had no intentions of giving up nursing. So we kept going. For another year. And then, I was just so ready to be done even though I think he would have nursed for longer. But I was not quite hippie enough to want to nurse an older toddler so I weaned right at his second birthday. I started by incorporating the phrase "Big boys no nurse" into our days and I would say it a lot. And I would distract him and sometimes when it was just too much I would just nurse him because even though it's sometimes exhausting it's also like a super power to fix fussy babies. Then, right in the middle of our weaning I had to go away for the weekend for my sister's bridal shower and I LEFT MY SON WITH MY HUSBAND. For a whole weekend. It was the first time I'd ever spent the night away from my son. I survived, he survived, and he only nursed one more time when I got home, I think to reconnect, but then it was just over. My story might be a bit drastic, but I think if you start telling her big kids don't nurse, distract, and maybe try to not make yourself so accessible to her you can definitely wean now. Or you could totally keep nursing for as long as you like, whatever you feel works for you! I loved breastfeeding, but I also was really ready to wean at 2 years. Keep us updated!

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    1. I love it too, but as time goes on I'm more and more ready, even if she is the last one.

      A "super power to fix fussy babies" - YES, that! That's part of my trouble. But I don't think your methods are too extreme - it looks like lots of people had to eventually just *not be there* to finally make weaning stick. I'll start with distraction and telling her big kids don't nurse - now that I think about it, I remember telling my older kids something similar, but she just seems so LITTLE that sometimes it's hard to remember that they really do understand pretty much everything you say (frighteningly enough). :) Thanks!

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  16. Those are Maddy's bees. You may have them back when she is done with them. That is all.

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  17. I don't want to sound mean, but.......put your "cold, heartless foot down " and wean the little darlin"!!

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    1. I know! It's 8:30 am, so right now I'm full of resolve - she WILL be weaned! What I need to do is keep even a fraction of this will power at nap time. ;)

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