Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Beginning of the End (of Breastfeeding)

Like many things in life, this is one of those good thing/bad things that makes me happy/sad. Emmy is starting to wean – probably not so much because she wants to, but more because my milk supply has taken a second-trimester-of-pregnancy nosedive.  
C and I have been talking about weaning Em for months upon months now, but it has never quite “taken” because a) my body has felt like it NEEDED to breastfeed as much as Em expressed her need to breastfeed, and b) because Em is a super-headstrong breastfeeding enthusiast, and because I have not been quite ready to give up on the bonding opportunity that breastfeeding has provided, I haven’t exactly been pushing her to stop.  
But now that my body is in full-speed-ahead baby production mode (look no further than my fast growing baby bump for evidence), the weaning process is kind of being forced upon us. And as much as I think I would be okay with tandem nursing Emmy and the new baby, I think there are several reasons why weaning Emmy prior to the baby’s arrival is a good thing.
I am hoping that weaning will encourage Em to sleep through the night, rather than waking up several times a night to feed (her daily nursing sessions are down to one feeding prior to going to bed, and one feeding upon her first morning waking, around 5:30 am).  I am also hoping it will show Em that she can get comfort from many other sources, such as hugs and kisses (from me as well as from other family/friends), holding hands, encouraging words, etc., and that she learn some techniques to comfort herself. I know these are important lessons for her to learn in advance of her baby brother’s arrival.  
It hasn’t been easy, though. Em is acting super anxious these days. I can’t leave her side for more than a few seconds without her having a mini panic attack. Drop off at daycare this morning was the roughest it has been in a long time. And she is trying to get her hands down my shirt and on my boobs as often as possible, which I have also been trying to gently discourage, asking her to hug me instead, and telling her how much I adore her hugs.  
I try to play it cool, like NOT nursing is no big deal.  But this whole thing isn’t easy on me, either. Em and I are closing a pretty huge chapter of our relationship, and that is very sad and a little scary. I know in my heart that our relationship will continue to grow and bloom in new and unexpected ways, but putting this aspect of our relationship behind us is definitely making me emotional.  I guess I too have to learn to depend on other sources of comfort, like our hugs.

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