Monday, June 7, 2010

The "Nursing Past a Year" Post

I have officially gotten my first negative comment about "still" breastfeeding my child. I knew it was coming. And I really don't care all that much. She is only 13 months old for God sake. And for the record, I will wean her when either she or I feel it is time. I don't have a date, or a time limit on it, but it will happen when one or both of us is ready. Right now she only nurses first thing in the morning, once during the day (usually before her afternoon nap) and right before she goes to bed. So I am not running around whipping my boob out in public 10 times throughout the day (although if that's your thing, go for it). That being said...

I have been thinking about when and if I will "cut her off." Part of me wants to just wait until she weans herself. She is a VERY busy kid and I can imagine the day when she just simply doesn't have the time to stop long enough to nurse. So I highly doubt that she would be one of those kids still even wanting to nurse when she gets much bigger. And then I ask myself if I want her to stop. And really, I don't. I enjoy those last moments of getting to cuddle her. And she doesn't bite at this point so there really isn't anything negative that I associate with nursing her. But if I'm being totally honest...I am a little bit afraid about the "ritual" that goes with her nursing and how my life will change when that is not there anymore.

For the record, she does NOT take a bottle at all. She hasn't for months. She drinks out of a sippy cup all the time, but does not want anything to do with a bottle. Or milk. Of any kind (even my breast milk). No milk, thank you very much. So how the hell will I put her to sleep at night? There is no doubt that our bed time routine works for us. We have been doing virtually the same exact thing for over a year now. Read a book, diaper change and sleep sack, nurse and into bed. With each stage of that routine she relaxes and calms down a little more. Sometimes she actually falls asleep while nursing, although that is rare now. I put her down while she is still awake and she rolls around and gets comfy and then goes to sleep. It takes her anywhere from 5 minutes to 1 hour but she never cries or gets grumpy. She just takes her time and then goes to sleep. I know that if I take away the nursing portion of the routine I will have to replace it with something else. I just don't know what. I can't sit with her and give her some warm milk. And I have a sneaking suspicion that if I just read a book, change her and put her in her sleep sack and put her to bed, there will be HELL to pay. She's a girl that likes her routine. And when she doesn't "like" something? I hear about it. Loudly. Often for a very extended period of time. So I have no clue what to do with her for bed.

But even more important than the night time routine? What the hell do I do with her in the morning? Some mornings are fine. Sometimes she sleeps straight through to 7:30 or so and then wakes up. If this was the norm, I would have no issues. But that is not the norm. Here is what happened yesterday morning: I hear her "chatting" on the monitor and I squeeze open my eyes and look at the clock. 5:03am. Huh. I turn on the monitor to see her (I have a video monitor) and she is laying in bed playing with her little aquarium thing on the side of her crib. No biggie, not crying. So I lay there and I can hear her chatting and I can hear the music of the dumb toy I reach out and turn off the volume of the monitor. I fall back asleep. Then some time later I hear her yelling, "Bye! Bye! All done...BYE!!" (She yells bye bye to her binky when she's ready to get out of bed because I make her leave her binky in her bed--I'm a mean, horrible Mommy like that...). I turn back on the video part of her monitor and see her standing straight up bouncing while holding onto the edge of her crib. ALL ready to start her day and shit. I glance at the clock: 5:40am. Unacceptable time to start the day for a Sunday.

Now I wasn't at all worried about this because I knew what would happen next. I went in and got her, carried her to my room, layed her down next to me and nursed her. As soon as she was done nursing her, I picked her back up and carried her back to her crib and put her down. She didn't make another peep until 8:15am. A bit of an annoyance to have to wake up at that hour, but no biggie.

Now...if I wasn't nursing her, I'd be SCREWED. What the hell would I do then? I know for a fact that if I had gone in there and given her a binky and layed her back down in her bed she would have gone postal. I have tried it before. So if I wasn't nursing her...what does one do? She won't drink a bottle or cup of nice warm milk and go back to sleep. And I am unwilling to accept that my day must start at that hour... Do I just do some sort of boot camp "cry it out" and make her figure out how to put herself back to sleep (which would end up waking The Boy at that hour which would inevitable mean my day would have to start anyway...)? Do I wait to stop nursing her until she is more consistently waking up at a reasonable hour? Do I keep nursing her until she's 7 to avoid this problem? What would you do? What DID you do?

I would honestly be fine with stopping nursing now. I'm cool with it. I think the emotional attachment I had right when she turned a year old is mostly gone. So I would be okay with weaning her. But I am petrified that my world of precious sleep would be gone. Right now she goes down between 7:30 and 8:00 at night and (besides that little 6:00am nursing session, which isn't an everyday thing) she sleeps straight through until at least 7:30 or 8:00 in the morning. That's big people. And I am from the camp that you don't mess with a good thing. What do all of you experts say? How have you handled this when it happened to you? What's my answer?


A quick update on the last post: Yes, she told me she can't pay me as much. She is "offering me" $1,000 less a month than I was getting last month. She still hasn't paid me a cent for the 1st of June. I am completely and totally screwed. And I have been consumed with this new hell that is my reality for over a week and am writing a light and fluffy breast feeding post to distract both you and me. It isn't good. Isn't good at all.


Laraf123 said...

I needed to read this. I don't tell anyone that I'm still nursing. (My son will be 16 months soon) I know he is my last baby and I am less ready to give up nursing than he is. He likes it but could do without it. I told myself we'd stop at 15 months but now I say definitely at 18 months. Oh, this is so hard...

Guinevere said...

I think that following your kid's lead as to when to stop nursing is a totally okay thing to do! The World Health Organization recommends nursing until at least the age of 2, so it's clearly not some kind of weird fringe thing you're doing. The fact that you're doing three feedings a day and no more pumping seems totally appropriate to me for a 13 month old and it's not like she's uninterested in solids, either. As long as it's not wearing on you, and as long as she's still interested, keep it up.

In these parts, my wife will stop with the pumping during the day when she's at work when our son is 1 year, and since for the past few months it has been SUCH a battle to get him to nurse during the day because the world is so exciting, I suspect that he will self wean for daytime just as soon as we let him. I think the morning feeding (aka the one that he manages to have attention for) will probably stick around a good bit longer, though, at least as long as supply allows!

Guinevere said...

PS - wanted to add my condolences on the $ situation... I do think that no matter what ends up happening, your kids have what really matters: a loving, involved, stable family!