Monday, August 20, 2007

Weaning Brynlee

I know some of you probably read my blog title for today and cringed, and I can't say that I'd entirely blame you. She is after all 18 months old - today in fact. And up until this weekend I have breast fed her every single day of her life. I've been meaning to cut the strings for awhile now. It really bothers Ben that she's still a boobie baby, and honestly, I have been a bit embarrassed to admit it to others as well. She is a toddler - who only runs where she is going and can speak in full (albeit rudimentary) sentences. Really, she only has been nursing twice a day - once in the morning and once at night. But I figured that 18 months is long enough.

So, I decided to do it cold turkey. Since I'd be away from her a full 48 hours this weekend, I figured it was a good way to cut all ties. She didn't seem to miss it while I was gone. She slept just fine for my mom, and only even cried for me once apparently.

On Sunday when we picked her up, she was so clingy. I couldn't even leave her sight long enough to go to the bathroom. She wanted mommy. On the way home from G'ma's, Bryn fell asleep in the car. I took her to bed when we made it home, and she took a 4 hour nap. When she woke up, I took her to the living room, and while sitting on the couch she asked to nurse. She tugged at my shirt, and when I told her it was all gone, I almost cried. Bryn did cry. It hurt her feelings. It made me so sad, because I wanted nothing more than to let her nurse. But Ben got her a cup of milk from the fridge, and she got over it quickly. All day though, she was obsessed with my boobs. She kept feeling me up, and putting toys down the front of my shirt. I think she had her hand down there 100 times during the afternoon. Poor girl had a one-track mind.

I had Ben put her to sleep last night, and she went right out. In fact, he said that while reading her second book, she pushed him away and asked to go to sleep. Silly girl. She didn't miss me at all.

This morning Ben got her out of bed and ready for daycare. Our typical routine is for Ben to get her ready and then I nurse her. So, when Daddy brought her out, she wanted to come to me and nurse. She tugged at my shirt and looked up at me with her big, sweet eyes. I again told her it was all gone and got her a sippy of milk. This time there were no tears.

My poor boobs hurt. I would love to nurse her at least one more time just to make the pain go away. But I think that would just make the weaning process more difficult. I think its more traumatic for me than it is for her. I've been pregnant or breast-feeding (or both) since August 2003 - 4 full years without a day's break. I miss it. And right now, Bryn is so busy and active. I know I'm going to miss the 2 times a day that I would get her to cuddle and snuggle with mommy.

I think back to when I was pregnant with Gracelin, and not even sure I was going to try to breast feed her. I knew I'd be going back to work full-time, and I didn't think it was feasible to be a full-time working mommy who breast feeds her children. Looking back now, I have 2 beautiful girls who were 99% breast feed, and I'm so proud that I had the opportunity to nurse them both for so long. It was difficult at times - especially G who drank exclusively pumped breast milk for over 4 months. I wouldn't trade the experience for anything.


Cheri said...

I'm a lurker who followed you over from TLOL (wow, that sounds like a stalker but really I'm not, I just enjoy your blog). Anyway, I wanted to tell you that you were a real inspiration to me wrt breastfeeding. My son is about a week younger than your daughter and I only work part-time and from home. When I'd get tired of pumping, I'd remind myself that Christie does it with a full time job and going to a workplace. I'm really amazed that you could do that and rarely complain about it. Kudos to you!
I know what you mean about the embarassment about still nursing. I'm still nursing once a day and when my son was around 15 months, I mentioned to my grandmother that I was still nursing. The silence said it all. I'm not a crunchy mom at all but I think it's a shame that nursing a toddler is something to be viewed with distaste. I'm not quite ready to wean yet but it's good to know that it went easily for you.

Megan said...

I'm sorry you are having a hard time. It's bittersweet, because here you love that she asks for it, but it makes you feel bad. But when they get over it so quickly (which is what you want) you feel bad that they got over it so quickly.

I nursed Hannah until she was 15 months & it was a lot harder on me than it was on her. For awhile I wished I'd kept it up until she was 18 months, but then I realized the older they are, the more they understand. And the longer the habit has been going on, the harder to break. I compare it to a binky & how there is no way I would let that habit go on for so long, because it would be so hard to break. Don't let the cuddle time stop. Tell her you'd love to rock & cuddle her while she has her sippy of milk. We still did that for quite awhile.

Okay, that was long winded, sorry!

pithydithy said...

Cringe?! I've always been impressed that you managed to breastfeed both girls while working. Knowing that there are other working mamas out there who do it helps me as well. And I think that breastfeeding until 18 months is great! It's a wonderful thing to have given Brynlee! But now, as you go through the bittersweetness (and engorgement) of weaning, think also of what it means not to be pregnant OR breastfeeding. A new stage of life and parenting. More freedom. Bigger kids who can do more. I love nursing, but I'm looking forward to the good stuff about stopping too.

Chelsea said...

Here's another non-cringer! Since I just weaned Sawyer at 26 months, it would be a bit hypocritical of me. :) But seriously, I think it is terrific that you breastfed both your girls. It sounds like you picked a perfect time to stop, when Brynlee is old enough to find other sources of comfort, but before you were sick of doing it. Kudos to you for being the wise, caring mommy that you are!