As parents (especially moms) we’re guilty about pretty much everything. Did I feed/teach/praise/not praise my child enough today? There is no shortage of things to feel confused or guilty about; weaning being one of them. (This doesn’t even being to address the “guilt mountains” that arise for some of us with formula feeding or nursing “too short” or “too long”, but those deserve posts unto themselves!)
I had massive stress and guilt about when and how to wean. Would he think I was abandoning him? Would we still bond? How would I know we were ready? On the other hand, I was also kind of excited for a glass of wine without a second thought, not having to wear ugly ass nursing bras/clothes, and for a few less people a day to see my boobs.
Well turns out my little man had ideas of his own about this weaning shit. At about 10 or 11 months he decided that the boob was too much work (and not nearly as easy to turn his head with) so he would placate me with a few minutes (or seconds) of feeble breastfeeding then pop up and ask for Bob (his bottle). I know there is a school of thought that says babies don’t wean before a year, I’d like to introduce them to my son.
I was heartbroken. I tried at every feeding to coax him into breastfeeding, but little man was over it. I still had milk, which made it harder for me to accept that he didn’t want it! I had told myself I’d breastfeed for a year, so I dutifully pumped until his first birthday as a consolation prize. Not the best month of my life… Or my nipple’s.
Did our relationship change? Did he love me less? Did we snuggle less? No, No, No! He still stroked my hair or face, stared at me lovingly or snuggled in close for his bottle. He also stopped chomping my nipples and flashing strangers my boobs. It was a really cool milestone actually, my little baby was growing up. And while scary as shit, it was also amazing to see him want to be independent.
So for anyone wondering what might change, remember the amazing mommas who can’t or don’t breastfeed and that their love and bond is no different than yours. We build up expectations of what we should be doing and why, but make sure you keep reality in check and know your baby will love and adore you, bottle or boob.
Even though we have a well-intentioned “plan” as parents (actually, lots of them), we can’t force nature. Go with the program nature intended for you. Enjoy it, Motherluckers.