I don’t know what has come over me, but today I spent some time googling “weaning”, “what to feed kiddo after weaning”, and “the benefits of goat’s milk vs. cow’s milk for children”.
Am I ready to wean? I don’t know. Most of the time, I don’t think so. But lately I have had moments where “freedom” has been sounding more and more tempting, and it makes me do things like google “weaning”.
Lewis is just over a month away from being 1 year old. At that point, I wouldn’t necessarily have to purchase formula in the absence of breastmilk because we could start him on goat’s or cow’s milk, which feels like a significant milestone for me. For some reason, getting past that point makes weaning feel suddenly more… realistic?
Plus I watch Lewis every day getting more and more independent and grown up, and seeing him so grown up makes him seem more ready to wean in my mind – it kind of removes the guilt in a way. Like, if he is grown up in other ways, he can move on from breastfeeding too because he isn’t a baby anymore. I wanted to breastfeed my baby, and if he isn’t a baby, then we’re all good. It isn’t quitting because I never planned to breastfeed my toddler. I can’t really explain it.
This morning, for example, my little grownup practiced pushing up to standing and then letting go of support over and over. and over. and over. and over. And he was so delighted with himself. And he’s clearly getting better at it! Additionally, he doesn’t need me to feed him his “finger foods” anymore. He feeds himself cheerios and little finger foods by the fistful! Babies don’t do that! TODDLERS do that. And if he is a toddler, then maybe it’s okay with me that he doesn’t breastfeed anymore?
However, I’m having the hardest time imagining how to feed Lewis without my breasts’ involvement. For almost a year now, we’ve fed every 2-3 hours during the day, and when he wakes at night. Even with the introduction of solid foods at 6 months, his breastfeeding schedule has remained unchanged. (And – side note – even without the decrease in breastfeeding that I anticipated, he hasn’t really gained much weight! Bizarre!)
After breastfeeding that frequently for that long, removing breastfeeding from the equation will be a drastic change in our routine. The thought of it makes me feel like a brand new mom all over again! It is causing a lot of anxiety for me to feel like I’m on the verge of starting over.
I suppose I’ll have a lot of moments as a mother where I am dealing with something brand new and figuring it out from scratch… but feeding my child is so important and breastfeeding my baby has become so normal that it is nearly impossible to imagine a different way to feed him. With breastmilk, my magical body just figures it out and gives him what he needs. I know for sure that he is getting what he needs. Without breastmilk… how do I know?
Plus… Some other species’ milk in a cup?! Say WHAT?!
But the other side of my brain (I’m so conflicted) says… “solid foods and milk from a cup… what is so weird about that, Carolyn? That isn’t hard. And it hardly counts as starting over. That’s easy. Anyone can do that. ”
So am I totally ready for weaning? No. Obviously not. Am I starting to move that way? Yes, I think I might be.