Mothering and Life in General
Weaning; never thought a child or baby of any age could do it on-their-own. While pregnant I never thought that I could nurse a child after a ‘certain age’. I thought because we give formula to a child until 12 months that is what you do for a breastfeed baby. I thought weaning is something a mother had to do to get the child to move on to the next stage of life.
When I finally held K2 in my arms and breastfed her for the first time, I can remember how uncomfortable it was, but also how comforting nursing was for me emotionally. I never thought about how long I would nurse for, nor would I think I would or could nurse past infancy. All I knew at the time I knew I just did not want time to pass. I wanted to take it all in.
I can’t remember what age K2 was when I spoke with other mothers how have nursed their children until the child weaned themselves. I do remember K2 was still in the newborn stage. It seemed like this is something that would be good for us, good for K2; Something that seemed appropriate.
Child Lead Weaning or Natural Duration Nursing amazed me; I don’t remember ever thinking or feeling anything negative, I was in awe with the mothers who went against the grain; mothers who rarely get support for their bodies feeding their children, yet still continuing to do what is natural.
Learning about nursing a child until the child weans themselves, also helped me learn about my body. Lets face it, we all did it in pregnancy, we looked up week by week, what to expect next. I just continued this into breastfeeding, instead of week by week on pregnancy I looked to these other mothers on what to expect during different stages of this breastfeeding relationship.
Now looking back during this time, it has been a great ride. Some ups and some downs, with a lot of frustrating times. I would do it all again, with the same choice to nurse K2 until she says she is done. The one thing that amazes me the most is I am now the mother who is asked questions from new mothers, about nursing a toddler and into preschool years.
Nursing the longest is not, nor ever will be, the goal in our nursing relationship, the goal is to be the mother K2 needs, to be enough mother for her; nursing in our situation partakes in this. There are times that I thought this breastfeeding around the clock would not stop. Now I write to say this:
K2 has been waking up in the night and putting herself back to sleep. She has been doing this for awhile now, but tonight was the first night (February 14, 2010) that DH witnessed it. She awoken for something to drink, she was coughing a bit; DH went in, because I was doing some homework. When he did not come out I knew she was up. So I snuck into our room.
There they where whispering back and forth, K2 wanted some water so I gave her some. As I watched, in other words, stealing a moment; DH kissed K2’s foot, and then she lay down and closed her eyes. Instantly she went to sleep; no nursing. She is still sleeping.
As I watched this moment shared between K2 and DH, I was reminded of one thing that I thought while talking to the mothers who trailed before me – “A child does not, can not wean themselves”. I stood corrected when K2 weaned from her sucky, and in celebration our family nurse said this comment, which was an eye opener to me,
“A baby is forever weaning, from the womb to different stages in life. When a child is done one thing and moves onto the next it is called weaning.”
So in all, I have witnessed the process of weaning, we all witness it everyday from our own children or in society in general. I am happy that I trust my daughter to grow at her pace, and continue to struggle to be what she needs – to be enough.