Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Weaning: Facing the Fear (or not)

right after our first feed. So long ago!
With Lloyd turning a year old next week everyone seems to be asking about weaning.  Most cannot believe he's a year old who has never had formula and has probably only had bottled breast milk a dozen times.  He hated the bottle.  He drinks "smoothies" (plain organic whole milk yogurt, peanut butter, a whole banana, frozen fresh fruit, and a handful of fresh spinach) during the day for snack or breakfast, he will drink water out of his sippy cup too.  But he loves breastfeeding.

And I love it too. I never thought when we started on our journey to breastfeed before Lloyd was even born that I would love it this much.  Because I do--love it.  I cannot even really put a finger on what it is I love so much about it--the closeness, the connection, the nutritional and emotional value it provides him, the antibody resistance, all of it.  I am really really going to miss it.  I'm afraid to wean.  

Baby-led weaning advocates letting them choose and I want that option.  Desperately.  I believe in that mentality.  Lloyd is even currently living up to it--he's only eating when he wakes up, his 2 naps, and before bed.  He rarely asks for it outside of those 4 times and when he does we can easily distract him with smoothie, water, or fresh fruit or vegetables.  He's even starting to drop his evening feed and eat less at his naps, all on his own--gradually.  He's a happy guy.  But those 4 times a day he wants the breast. He takes a full feeding for the most part.  I'm anxious to refuse him.  

This article is really great and talks about how important for both of us to do it gradually--sudden weaning can lead to depression in mothers (not to mention screaming in the baby).  Lloyd has one nap that we will soon try to coax him out of needing the breast to fall asleep, but the morning will be difficult. He wakes up so hungry and I wake up so full--it's going to be physically and emotionally difficult for both of us.  

The more complex situation is my OB told me yesterday that she recommends I wean before pregnancy since you release that awesome hormone during nursing that helps your uterus shrink postpartum and makes it contract and could potentially cause miscarriage since I'm already prone.  But there doesn't seem to be any medical proof of the link between one and the other.  However, gosh--pregnancy, morning sickness, and nursing all at once?  Do not want that.  And pregnancy will decrease your milk--and remember those awesomely sore breasts? Yuck! So since we've decided to stop trying not to get pregnant, we do have that to consider.

I'm so torn.  I'm obviously ready to consider another baby, but Lloyd is still so small and fragile to me that I cannot imagine taking this time away from us.  I love it.  I love watching him be soothed, finding comfort.  I love how his body curls around mine even when he de-latches because he's so comfortable there.  It is where I've always quieted his fears, his scary times, his boo-boo's.  I'm in tears writing about it.  

Who would have thought? Especially after this and those first 2 weeks of clusterfeeds. :) I still haven't decided what to do about whole milk vs soy milk vs almond milk issue, but man this weaning thing has me all upset.  On my list of pediatrician questions on the 22nd.
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