As a nursing mother, one of the toughest decisions I (and John) have to make is when to wean the little one. Honestly, I was creeped out by nursing before Jacob was born—and even for a while thereafter—but I love it now, and I wouldn’t change a thing. It’s made me appreciate my body in a new way, helped me to understand what “motherhood” means in terms of sacrifice, and provided ample opportunity for snuggles.
Part of me is bummed that the time has just about come, but another part of me recognizes that this transition is one of many we have to make as a family. I’m confident I can face just about any change as long as I take the time to prepare for it. With patience and a whole lot of grace, I think I’m ready to face this great change.
John and I figured I’d nurse our Peanut for about a year, but we weren’t committed to a certain date. In part because of Jacob’s allergies, but more because I think we’re both ready for it, we’ve set the goal of having him weaned by his first birthday. Which, if you can believe it, is next week!
The first step to weaning was eliminating nighttime feedings. I used to be embarrassed to admit that I was still feeding the little man once or twice each night. Friends with more than one child have told me that I won’t have the time with the second one that I do with the first, so I’m taking advantage of every peaceful snuggle I can get. Plus, because I don’t get up and go out to work each day, I can easily sleep a little more in the morning if I don’t get enough rest at night. For the last few months, nighttime feedings have been very quiet, very routine, and very sweet. Again, I wouldn’t change a thing.
Last week, John and I bit the bullet and decided to nix the nighttime feedings. Jacob had occasionally slept through the night before without any prompting by us, so in addition to all the baby guides telling us babies at his age don’t need to eat at night, we knew from experience that he really didn’t.
The first night, John rocked him back to sleep once and later I did a kind of pseudo-cry-it-out, based on the tidbits I’d read about it and anecdotes I’d heard from other moms. It took about thirty minutes. The second night, Jacob slept through. The third night, John did the pseudo-cry-it-out thing and Jacob was back to sleep in ten minutes. The fourth night, Jacob slept through the night again. And he has every night since.
I am incredibly surprised at how easy “weaning” him from nighttime feedings was. I believe the secret is that we waited for his cues and took his lead, while considering popular baby theories and the experiences of other parents.
I keep wavering as to whether it’s time to take the next step and completely wean the little dude. When I think about it, though, the question I keep coming back to is, why not? The number of nursing sessions has already naturally decreased, and he’s into eating solid food—especially when he gets to feed himself. I gave him soymilk today, and that seemed to go over pretty well, too.
We get plenty of snuggle time during the day, since Jacob’s taken to randomly crawling over and hugging me. There are so many other ways Jacob is more a little boy than a baby, and while it may mean some crying on both ends, I think we’re ready to take the plunge.
Plus, once he’s weaned, I get to go back to wheat, dairy, eggs, peanuts, and tree nuts, which means two things: 1) My waistline is in trouble, and 2) I don’t really care, because I’ve already asked John to bring me home one of these—what I consider to be the greatest cupcake in New York City:
Whenever one door closes, another opens, right?