My baby is celebrating his first birthday and I am nearing the end of breastfeeding. As I begin to wean my baby, I am surprised at how sad I feel about it. I never loved breastfeeding like other women did. I never found it to be that magical experience like other moms. I did it because I felt that it was the best that I could offer my children.
But now that it is coming to an end, I strangely wish that I could go back to a time when I could make everything better for my baby by simply nursing him.
I started by dropping one feeding and offering whole milk from a sippy cup. At first, he was interested in the bright, plastic new cup. But when he tried the cold whole milk, he made an unpleasant face and spit the milk so it dripped down his chin, soaking his bib. He then threw his bright new cup on the ground and cried for me as he squeezed both palms together, the baby sign for “milk.”
The next time was just as unsuccessful, even though I warmed the milk. He tried one drink and promptly spit it back out. His crying for breast milk cuts into my heart as his eyes try to burn a hole in my shirt.
I am now down to only one nursing a day. I had to change his routine. Typically, I would take him to his quiet, peaceful room and rock him in the glider as I fed him. As I began to drop his feedings, I couldn’t even take him to that glider without having a crying, inconsolable baby when he didn’t get his milk. Still, I am consistent with him.
I know that he doesn’t understand why I am stopping the feedings. He doesn’t understand that he is getting older. He doesn’t understand anything other than the fact that he isn’t getting the milk that has nourished him for a year. He doesn’t understand that I am doing what I believe is the best for him.
I expect that I will have readers that will think that I am doing the wrong thing by stopping breastfeeding. I know that there are mothers that wait for children to wean themselves. A friend of mine was once told, “Your baby will let you know when they are ready to be done breastfeeding.” I want to be finished with breastfeeding before my son can TELL ME that he is ready to be done.