all done.

And just like that, Ruby is weaned.

I had tumultuous breastfeeding relationships with both Ocean and Iris. They hated nursing and fought me tooth and nail (literally) at every feeding. I made it a few months with Ocean before I started pumping for him, then we made the transition to cow's milk at about 11 months. I weaned Iris quickly when Phil was diagnosed because nursing was a battle I did not want to fight during that challenging time. She was 9 months old and had no objections. In fact she pretty much responded with, "Finally!" while rolling her eyes.

Ruby has been different. She loves the milkies. As of a month ago she was down to two feedings a day and one in the middle of the night, but without a pacifier or favorite lovey the milkies were her source of comfort and a winding-down before bed. I was seriously dreading having to wean her.


A couple of weeks ago I realized that my sweet, snuggly, easy baby was turning into a crabby, whiny, cling-on. Her separation anxiety was at an all-time high, when- at her age- it should have been wrapping up. She started waking up every hour at night, expecting to be nursed, and screaming like crazy when I would try to put her back in bed. We were both sleep-deprived and insane. For a moment I considered putting a little bow on her head and giving her to my mom as a gift.

In a moment of clarity inside a moment of desperation inside a moment of sleep deprivation I decided that I had to put the kibosh on the boob. Yep, a boobosh. Weaning was our only hope. I started with her nap that day, bracing myself for a battle of epic proportions. Instead of nursing her to sleep I handed her a cup of milk. She smacked it away. I said, "Mommy milk is all gone." She took the cup, drank the milk and I put her in her crib. She went to sleep.

Just like that.

I nursed her at bedtime for another few days, then did the same thing with the milk cup, letting her know that the milk bar was out of order. She fussed a bit, but took the cup and pointed at her bed. I put her in bed with her cup, left the room and she drank it. Then she fell asleep and slept all night for the first time in months.


Since then, she has returned to her sweet, happy self. And she's eating better, sleeping better, talking more and using accurate baby signs. As opposed to beating her chest and screaming always.

This one, she is smarter than I.

So now that we're done I'm sad. I know it was time. She is almost 16 months old and really, her behavior was driving me bonkers. So I know the time was right. But having finally had a good breastfeeding experience after two miserable ones makes me grieve the fact that I won't have the opportunity to do it again.

Not enough to actually have another baby, because A. I can't, and B. I can't. But it's just a little emotional. Just like when they start walking, or they say mama for the first time or I guess when they start driving or go to college. Just another milestone that takes them one more step out of the nest and one step closer to being the independent people we're raising them to become.

Because milk from a cup? I mean, she may as well be drinking a cappuccino.

Big. Girl.


Becky said...

Oh, she is the sweetest! I am amazed at your mom-fu in realizing the problem and in so easily changing your routine. Well done! I know it is sad, I feel the same about every little milestone.

I'll never forget, right after Hank turned two, one morning he climbed into bed and asked to nurse. I was surprised as it had been a little while, but I was like, okay, and pulled up my shirt. He recoiled, like, WHAT IS THAT WOMAN? He meant that he wanted me to hold him up against me and snuggle him. So I think somewhere the memory of that time stays with them, and there is more closeness ahead. Sniff.

Linda said...

Nursed all three of mine...20 months, 17 months, 14 months (too much going on with each consecutive baby!). I too felt a real sense of sadness and even separation once we stopped nursing, but how WONDERFUL that she is happy and sleeping again! So glad you tried the cup and it worked. Now go get some rest and enjoy every minute of it.

Anonymous said...

Didn't think it was possible that Ruby could get any cuter, but she has. I only nursed one baby but for an exceptionally long time(not planned, just worked out that way). I did not miss it as much as I feared I would because it had gone so long and she refused bottles or any other drinks so it was really tough on me to be her only source of fluids for that long. What I did miss was the hormonal balance of nursing because I NEVER felt better and calmer than then. Oh yeah, I also miss the boobs. (sigh)