Any mamas out there weaning their babies?
A friend of mine texted me after reading this post and asked, politely: “Why the six-month wean?” I guess she’d gathered that I was feeling a little emotional on the topic. (LOLOL, #understatement). I realized I didn’t have much of an answer, except for:
+My mother and sister both weaned their babies at six months, and they’ve been the gold standard for me in so many topics pertaining to minimagpie.
+Because I had trouble nursing minimagpie at first (undersupply), I set a goal of getting to three months, and a stretch goal of getting to six months, and I just assumed I’d never make it past–and the expectation sorta settled in for the long haul, like the unwelcomed wrinkle in the middle of my forehead reminding me that I am in my 30s.
+Because I’ve always had to supplement mini with formula (we use this, which I love for many aforementioned reasons — but one thing I dislike about it is that you need to have it shipped to you and forgo the flexibility of swinging by Target to scoop some up when you’re a little short; you need to stay on top of your supply or you’ll be biting nails hoping you make it until the shipment arrives…ahem ahem, this has happened to me…twice…eeep #momfail), feeding minimagpie takes a lot of time out of our day. I’ll nurse her for 10-15 minutes and then bottle feed her and sometimes she can be a little slow on finishing. It can take 45 minutes per meal! So, six months of dedicating multiple hours each day to feeding her feels like a victory.
Are these legitimate enough reasons to wean?, I wondered, suddenly shocked at the lack of thought I’d given to the topic. I sat in the basement of our home, distracted from whatever it was we were watching for a good thirty minutes, suddenly enumerating other, unsurfaced reasons pushing me to wean:
- My supply has been decreasing. At some feeds, she’ll finish within a few minutes!
- Minimagpie’s two bottom teeth appeared seemingly overnight when she turned five months, and she has been chomping down HARD when she’s frustrated or finished with feeding. It’s…not so fun.
- I want my body back. I don’t know if any other mamas have felt this admittedly selfish desire? Some days, though, I feel plain gross being half-naked and exposed every few hours, wearing nipple pads, leaking, etc. — and I’m often sore, or over-full, or just tired of wearing the same 5-10 nursing appropriate outfits I own. I’m also ravenously hungry all the time — hungrier now than I was when pregnant! — and sometimes I dream of re-inhabiting my pre-baby body, so pristinely kept and carefully guarded. (I laugh, now, at my delicate sensibilities pre-baby, before I found myself strapped to an industrial grade pump every other hour in front of friends and family, or occasionally, sighingly excusing myself when I’ve noticed I’ve leaked all over my dress…ah, the indignities!) And drinking a few glasses of wine without worrying about when I need to feed minimagpie next sounds delightful. Or just being able to run errands for a few hours without texting Mr. Magpie or mini’s nanny to figure out when I need to be home by. Of course, these are modest concerns in the grand scheme of things, but I’ll admit them nonetheless.
At the same time, my friend’s question had created a little enclave for me to stop and think: “But maybe I don’t need to wean now. Maybe I should keep going?” I felt myself breathe a sigh of relief, as I certainly felt an emotional pull to continue to breastfeed: I have loved the intimacy of feeding her, and I didn’t feel quite ready to let go. And, though I’ve heard moms spout out facts about the health benefits of breastfeeding or, alternately, weaning at various points, it didn’t seem to me that there was much consistency to them–so I suddenly realized I would need to just rely on my maternal intuition, which was telling me to cut back on the number of times I breastfeed her each day, but continue to nurse her for a little longer.
So, I’ve come to this happy middle ground right now where I breastfeed her at 7 am, 1 pm, 7 pm, and 1 am each day. Most of these feedings still need to be supplemented with a bottle, and I’m already feeling my supply diminish further, but it’s a schedule that–for the time being–gives me a lot of freedom to run errands, to have that extra glass of wine, to pass her off to her nanny when I need to crank on some work for a few hours straight, to slowly return to a place where I feel like my body is more my own, while giving me space to wean her at a pace that feels more natural to me.
Why am I writing this extensive monologue?
Well, a few months ago, I wrote a bit about some of the inner monologues we women engage in, unbeknownst to the dozens of strong women with which we surround ourselves. We isolate ourselves from others, assuming that no one else will relate or care, or worrying that we’ll expose our most vulnerable selves. I often find myself in a headspace that is uncharitable to my genuine experience of motherhood: “Well, that woman clearly made it through a c-section without whining about recovery; so should I” or “Hey, I don’t hear many other moms talking about how emotional they were about moving their babies from a bassinet to a crib, maybe I should just shut up?” By writing this out in such excruciating and potentially inane detail, I hope that there is some other mama going through a similar roller coaster ride who finds assurance that she is not alone and that her emotions are valid. (Then again, maybe most other mamas have this weaning thing figured out in a way I don’t. See? There I go again.)
Further, I have learned a *lot* from my Magpie Tribe, and maybe some of you have wisdom to pass along to me, or words of encouragement. (But, please, no shaming-disguised-as-advice. You know what I’m talking about. All moms do.) Or maybe there are other moms out there that just need me to throw out some of my thoughts on the topic so they can react to them and come to their own conclusions, whether we land in the same place or not. Because I was really struck by the fact that, had my girlfriend not asked “why the six month wean?”, I might be pushing myself to wean earlier than I feel comfortable, and for no legitimate reason.
Women helping women.
Please share your thoughts below.
And also, my most recent minimagpie discoveries:
+We aren’t supposed to use bumpers in mini’s crib until she’s at least a year old, so that’s the plan — but I’m already eyeing these for when she hits an appropriate age. How adorable is this radish print set, on RIDIC sale?!?!?! (Does anyone else’s baby get her arms and legs stuck through the slats?! I’ve heard that these breathable mesh crib liners are OK to use in lieu of a bumper even when babies are little. Thoughts?)
+For older babies: I recently read an ecstatic review of these habit tracking watches for kids.
+Precious North Face windbreaker on sale for a good deal.
+I know Native Shoes are uber popular for toddlers/little kids because they breathe easily and slip on, but are a lot cuter than crocs. These canvas sneakers have a similar silhouette and come in great colors.
+Do you know how much I would have loved this as a child?! My own little compartment under the seat to store Barbie and snacks?!?!? So cute.
+What sippy cups do you use? We’ve started giving minimagpie a little water in this transition cup. I’ve heard good things about this, as they learn to drink from a straw, and this, because they can’t spill, and these, because they’re uber-cheap and get the job done.