Looking for The Lactivist? She's retired. But you CAN still find Jen blogging. These days, she's runs A Flexible Life. Join her for life, recipes, projects and the occasional rant.
Sunday, November 18, 2007So I've alluded to the fact that I'm weaning in a few posts, but I've been so absent for the last two months, you're all sort of in the dark about the process. Now that I've decided to stick around a bit (and have had a burst of blogging inspiration), I figured it was a good time to bring you up to speed.
Cause I know you all log in every day just wondering about the current state of my breasts. ;)
It's hard to believe, but I haven't written about my personal experience or thoughts on breastfeeding since May. If you've been reading here awhile, you probably remember my post called "The Dark Side of Breastfeeding." It certainly got a response from readers. ;)
There's a reason I haven't written about nursing since then.
It's because things didn't get better for me. Sure, I've survived and six months later, I'm still a nursing mother...but the warm fuzzies that were so strong for those first six or seven months have faded.
I am SO ready to be done nursing. I've BEEN so ready to be done nursing. Unfortunately, Emmitt isn't quite there yet.
When I originally started nursing Emmitt, I decided I was going to aim for 18 months. I just didn't think I could pull off two years (outside my comfort zone) but I felt like I didn't really need to stop at a year either. 18 months has always been sort of my mental point at which babies turn into toddlers and while I fully support toddler nursing, it's just not for me.
Unfortunately, around 10 and a half months, Emmitt developed this nasty habit of not quite biting me, but of latching with his teeth. It was horribly painful and I simply could not break him of it. Of course he also still wasn't sleeping through the night, often waking three or four times. Basically, I hit that wall where I started getting annoyed every time he wanted to nurse. I was absolutely, 100% ready to be done.
Of course there was no way I was going to wean him prior to 12 months because I simply was not going to buy formula. (I'm cheap. lol)
So I pushed on. Thankfully the "bite-latch" only lasted about two weeks.
At eleven months, I decided he was nursing enough overnight to justify cutting back during the day. At this point he was only nursing before his two naps, before bed and overnight. He was drinking some juice and water from a sippy cup, so I started offering him a sippy cup with meals. At eleven months, I started putting him down for his early nap without nursing him. Amazingly, he seemed to have no problem with it.
About three weeks later, he fell asleep in the car on the way home from Mango's Place. Since he always took his afternoon nap as soon as we got home, I carried him in and set him in the crib with my fingers crossed. Sure enough, he went straight to sleep with nary a peep.
The next day, I carried him in at nap time, changed his diaper, sang him a song (Puff the Magic Dragon) and picked him up. He arched his back like he does when he's ready to lay down, so I put him in his crib. He went right to sleep.
It was around that time I got a request to go to Tuscaloosa, Alabama for three days to do some in-house training. Of course no one was available to go with me except for mom. That meant I either had to take mom AND two kids, or leave both kids at home with mom. I couldn't see lugging two kids and mom to Tuscaloosa, so I decided to go without him. Of course mom told me she wouldn't keep Emmitt overnight unless he was weaned. (Can't say I blame her.)
The training was scheduled for the Mon-Wed after Thanksgiving.
That gave me two months to finish weaning him.
I hate deadlines.
Why? Because anytime you set a deadline, something happens to make you miss it.
Since we'd successfully managed three full weeks of nursing only before bed and during the night, I figured his first birthday was a good time to try getting him to bed at night without nursing. Emmitt had other plans.
It was right around that time nature decided he should sprout four molars and three incisors. We spent four full weeks with teeth bursting through left and right. There was simply no way I could cut out bedtime nursing when we were having to dose him up with Tylenol nearly every night for any chance at sleep.
So weaning was delayed. Now I was a month away from my Alabama trip. Unless I flat out denied him any chance of nursing, I couldn't see us making it, so I cancelled the trip.
About three weeks ago, I went to visit my parents for a long weekend. The plan was to have her try and get him to bed at night, so I wasn't trying to settle him down without letting him nurse. Emmitt had other plans.
The first night we were there, he started running a fever. Little did I know, that fever would last a full week and would then turn into a raging double ear infection that defied antibiotics and resulted in a ruptured ear drum a week later.
I couldn't bring myself to try and wean him from before-bed nursing when he was suffering from a raging fever and severe ear aches. On the plus side, he only once got bad enough during the day that I had to nurse him to settle him down. (On the bad side there were nights where we were up and nursing 8 or 9 times.)
So here I sit, with a baby who is soon be 14 months. We're two months past when I hoped to wean, but I've promised myself that no matter how badly I want to be done, I'll wean him gently.
Thankfully, I'm heading home to my parents again this Wednesday for the long Thanksgiving weekend. So long as Emmitt stays happy and healthy, we're back to our plan of having mom settle him into bed each night without me nursing him. I'll still nurse him if he wakes up in the night, but we're going to see if mom can get him to sleep.
Please, please cross your fingers and say a prayer for us. ;)
Of course I've managed to end up with a deadline again. I've got an overnight trip (just me) to Chicago on December 4th for a conference.
It's funny really...back when I posted about weaning from pumping, I mentioned wanting to have it all wrapped up before I headed to a conference in Chicago. Two years later, I find myself looking at my first overnight trip (to the same city for the same conference) without Emmitt and wondering if he'll be weaned before then.
That trip is two weeks away. He takes a sippy cup well enough for him to survive one night away from me, but I'm hoping he doesn't make Greg miserable by being a crazy, fussy baby.
I've got two weeks to find out. I'll certainly be encouraging it (with mom's help) but I'm not going to push it.
All that said, my "drop-dead" quitting date is February 21st. On that day, Greg and I will board a plane to London. I'm doing a conference there and we've decided to stay awhile and spend a bit of time in Europe. We haven't really had a vacation since our honeymoon and since our airfare is covered, we figured this was a good chance to take one. We'll be gone for 11 days. Mom is keeping the kids. Emmitt HAS to be weaned by then.
Surely I can pull this off in three more months, right?