Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Wean Me Gently

I know I look so big to you,

Maybe I seem too big for the needs I have.

But no matter how big we get,

We still have needs that are important to us.

I know that our relationship is growing and changing,

But I still need you.

I need your warmth and closeness,

Especially at the end of the day

When we snuggle up in bed.

Please don't get too busy for us to nurse.

I know you think I can be patient,

Or find something to take the place of a nursing;

A book, a glass of something,

But nothing can take your place when I need you.

Sometimes just cuddling with you,

Having you near me is enough.

I guess I am growing and becoming independent,

But please be there.

This bond we have is so strong and so important to me,

Please don't break it abruptly.

Wean me gently,

Because I am your mother,

And my heart is tender

~Cathy Cardall
When I first got pregnant with Z, I knew from the start that I planned on breastfeeding. During my pregnancy, I focused so much on the thought of getting a natural labor/delivery that the breastfeeding aspect of having a child did not even occur to me. Thankfully, and from what I hear, also luckily, I had absolutely no pain while breastfeeding. I never got the cracked, bleeding, sore nipples. The worse I ever got was mastitis, which I now look back and wonder if it really wasn't just a severely plugged duct.

My first time breastfeeding my little girl was amazing. She latched on beautifully and then just stared up at me with her big blue eyes. I knew right then and there that I would do whatever to make sure she would get my breastmilk. I had heard the horror stories from friends and families, yet I also knew the beautiful ones, and I was determined to have a beautiful one.

My original goal was to make it to six months. I did not want to have to buy formula, plus I knew the health benefits of breastfeeding were wonderful. It seemed like in no time at all, that we reached one year of breastfeeding. It was going so well at a year old, that I decided to continue on and let my Zoelle wean gently. When Z was 14 months old, I got pregnant with M. I cried and cried because I knew the chance of her continuing to nurse was slim. I felt like I truly wasn't letting her wean gently and that I was going to devastate her. A dear friend pointed out to me though that Zoelle was very smart and that if she chose to wean during my pregnancy I could rejoice in how long we did make it and our relationship would still last. Imagine my surprise when not only did Z continue to nurse during my pregnancy, but my milk never dried up (well techincally it did, but it just changed to colustrum). The very first time Zoelle went without nursing was the two days I was in the hospital after giving birth to Mer. I was not sure if Zoelle would ask again, but I shouldn't have been surprised when she did. As she saw me nursing her sister on the day we got home from the hospital, she too asked to nurse. I latched her on and within moments, her eyes got wide and she popped off and said, "Mmm...that is good. What is it?". When I told her it was mommy's milk she was so happy.

Today we are still nursing. Just once a day in the morning. I've been struggling lately with nursing her. Or maybe it is just both of them. Or just the fact that my breastfeeding experience with Meridian has been completely different (not bad, she just doesn't like it as much). My goal was to always allow Zoelle to wean gently and on her own, but lately I have been thinking of weaning her myself. The only problem is, I know it will be much harder on me than her. I need to be ready emotionally.

Thus, I had to type this out and share my thoughts. Not really sure where else to go with that. I know that most think I am strange to even be extended breastfeeding. However, it was a choice we made for bonding reasons, health reasons and I am proud that we have gone this long. I always said I would for sure not go much past two, but who really knows...maybe I'll still be nursing her at three! After all, I do really want to wean gently.

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