The Weaning

Declan is now 20 months old. I’m really not sure how that happened, because I could swear he was just a tiny baby. Suddenly he’s running around asking me “How you doing, Mommy?” and telling me “I need Brady’s angry bird (or Power Ranger or Ninja Turtle or cracker or basically whatever Brady happens to be holding).” I was doing ok with it, enjoying the big boy he’s becoming, and then the weaning happened.

Last week, one night as he was nursing before bed, Declan claimed that the boobie was “empty.” I’m quite sure it wasn’t actually empty, but there’s probably not much in there. He also likes to tell me things are “empty” when he really means “I don’t want this anymore.” For a few nights after this he happily nursed before bed. But then Monday and Tuesday he just wasn’t having it. He was chatting with me about the books we read, complaining about the empty boobie, and trying to crawl around my bed instead.

So Tuesday night I said, “let’s just snuggle.” And we did. Then I put him in bed and he went to sleep. Just like that. Wednesday after we were done reading, I said “let’s snuggle.” He said he wanted boobie, but I reminded him that they were empty and so we snuggled and he went to bed. Last night he asked once, but I didn’t even have to say no, he snuggled me instead and fell asleep. Tonight the husband put him to sleep with little protest. I think that makes it official. He is off the boob and is a weaned boy.

This is hard for me to accept. I loved nursing my babies. I nursed Brady a bit longer than this – he was just over 23 months when we stopped in pretty much the same way. But this time it’s really over. Barring an act of God, there will be no more babies. I won’t nurse anyone else. My identity as a breastfeeding mom is essentially done. While it will always be a part of me and I will still work toward normalizing breastfeeding and support those around me who need it, it’s weird to think that I won’t actively participate anymore.

I’m so grateful for the experience. It’s been one of the best of my life. I will always be able to think back to those nights of nursing my tiny babes. But it’s scary to have to shift identities again and make that move from mom-of-baby to mom-of-toddler, especially planning not to add anymore babies. Right now I’ve got that in-between feeling. I’m sad to let my little baby go, and that part of me with it, but I’m excited to watch him grow and change and to hopefully grow and change a bit myself.