Last month I shared my experience with child-led weaning. A month ago, we were down to one feeding each morning, and that continued for a while. This past week, my son dropped the morning feeding. He simply woke up and said “eat,” pointing downstairs (where his high chair is), and was happy to have his rice milk, banana and cereal. For a few days he asked to nurse in the afternoon. Then, one day, he didn’t ask at all. He didn’t ask the next day either… or the next. On the third day I realized he probably wasn’t going to ask anymore. I am happy to have nursed him for eighteen full months.
To me, I see nursing this long as an accomplishment because we live in a society that does not support breastfeeding moms in general. Very few public places offer private places to nurse (that are not a bathroom or changing room). The great majority of women bottle feed so there is not that supporting community built in that can offer advice and help when we need it. Then there is the sense of embarrassment that sometimes comes when we feel like we are the only one in our circle who is choosing to breastfeed, especially as our children pass the 12 month mark. I always tried to shove those feelings aside and proactively share my experience, hoping that if there were other moms in the room who were extended breastfeeders, my saying something would put them at ease.
This morning, I wrote a letter to my son on my blog about how I feel about the end of this stage in his life. I will share just an excerpt:
“I know this is just the first “end” and there will be others. One day you will stop wearing diapers. One day you will ask for a “big people cup” instead of your sippy. One day you will strap on a brand new backpack and you will step into a whole new world, full of broken crayons, best friends, new books and sack lunches. I will cry then, too, because it’s hard to let go. But I will also be so proud, because that is my job, to teach you everything you need to know and help you grow up to be a man. Your daddy and I are amazed at how quickly you learn, how smart you really are. We know you will continue to amaze us. And while I do mourn a little over these milestones, I am even more excited about all those moments to come when you will make us so proud.”