If you would have told me before I had kids that I would one day breastfeed a baby past the age of three, I would have laughed and called you crazy. Even after I had kids, I had issues nursing and was lucky to make it to one year with only one of my first three babies.
My family is very conservative, and while some did breastfeed, they did not past a certain age and most definitely never in public. My family was the type to go into a back bedroom and close the door to feed the baby. Not me!
So, once Baby #4 came along and I found better ways to increase my supply, we made it to a year with ease. My cycle returned at fifteen months postpartum, and I expected things to change. At seventeen months postpartum, I found myself pregnant with #5. I was sure then the taste would change or my milk would dry up, but #4 kept on nursing.
At some points during my pregnancy, #4 would nurse constantly, and it was almost unbearably due to nipple sensitivity. We had some bad night full of tears, but we made it through. Once #5 arrived, I was in a completely new territory. #4 had just turned two, and a major change moved into our lives. I had to figure out how to feed both of the babies, big and tiny, at the same time. Of course, #4 was a bit jealous but happy to share. I would let him in my lap to latch first and then let the baby lay on top of him the other direction. He loved it and would hold or rub baby’s hand. It truly melted my heart to see the bond they shared.
Fast forward months — a year — and the baby is not a baby anymore. He’s a territorial little toot that loves to practice gymnastics. He will push his adoring big brother’s face off of his desired momboob with no manners at all. He’s also been known to kick his brother in the head when they are tandem nursing by doing his backwards-slightly-upside-down feeding.
We had made it to three years and a year tandem. I was so proud of myself for ignoring all of the negative comments from my mother. She told me that it was abuse, but she and I disagree on most everything anyway. After three years, I got the wonderful book Sally Weans From Night Nursing by Lesli Mitchell, and within days, we had cut out night nursing.
The bigger this little boy got, the more his need of momboob drove me nuts. He would wiggle and squirm, and I was really at my wit’s end since I was dealing with the crazy nursing antics of #5 as well. I decided it was time to completely wean. I told #4 he was now a big boy and learning to use the potty, and he didn’t need momboob anymore. It was a bit of a struggle the first few days, but I stood my ground. As much as my heart wanted me to give in to his sweet, little puppy dog eyes, my sanity needed to be done with it. After a while, he was content to just lay on his momboob. He would still occasionally try to sneak his hand under my shirt or would try to nipple-tweak me through it, which drove me bonkers, but with a gentle redirection, he laid his head down on his milky pillow. Anytime he would ask, I would tell him no, and we would focus on something else, whether it was food, a drink or reading a book.
We did it! Thirty-eight long months of breastfeeding, and while I didn’t love every minute of it, I wouldn’t trade it for anything. My three-year old is an amazingly smart and independent little boy, and I’m so proud of him. I’m also very proud of myself for sticking to what was the best for all of us in the long run.
What’s your weaning story?