Why I Didn’t Wean At One
To wean or not to wean? That seems to be the question.
Early on in my breastfeeding journey, even when my son was just an itty bitty newborn baby, I was asked several times (by different people), “How long do you plan on nursing?” And it’s a question that has continually come up since.
It doesn’t bother me that people asked because in all honesty, I’ve probably asked others that same question a fair amount of times as well. But I think as a nursing mama, I now view that question differently. I now understand how much it reflects society’s idea that nursing is this thing that is supposed to have a set end date. That is a thing to already look at stopping even if you’ve just started because there is only an “appropriate” amount of time to do it. Any new mom can tell you of the pressure to breastfeed. Our society says, “yes, breast is best!” Then it turns around and clarifies, “But only to a certain point.”
Like a lot of first-time moms, I fell into that thinking. I set end date “goals” for myself because I felt that was what I should do.
At first, I told myself, “Okay, I want to nurse for 6 months.”
Then, “I want to nurse for 9 months.”
Then, “I’ll definitely be ready to be done nursing by the time he turns one.”
Then, he turned one, and here we are. We nurse every morning when he first wakes up, every night before he goes to bed, and sometimes at 2 in the morning when he wakes up and is unable to go back to sleep.
About the only thing that changed when he turned one was that I stopped pumping while at work. While I work with some amazing people who helped to make sure I could take the time to pump everyday, my job isn’t exactly the kind of job where I can “just close the office door and turn on a pump.” There were logistics involved, and honestly, I was over it.
I was so over pumping in fact that I almost quit several times. But each time I almost quit, I became terrified of what would happen to my supply, of having to supplement. Because when it boiled down to it, I loved nursing.
I love the instant cuddles it provides, especially now that he is so busy and so mobile.
I love having a closeness that only he and I can share.
I love being able to provide him with a source of calm and comfort when he is sick or upset.
I love feeling empowered that my body is able to continue to provide nutrients for him.
Somewhere along the line between sore nipples and what felt like never-ending cluster feeds and public nip slips, nursing my son became second nature.
As his first birthday approached, I started answering the weaning questions with, “I think 18 months is my limit.” Because that seemed like the “appropriate” answer, but I also think I knew in my heart that it was a lie. I don’t want to set an end date because I’m not ready for it to end.
Not too long ago, someone asked me, “How much longer do you think you’ll breastfeed?” And I confidently replied, “Till we’re done.”
And I know in my heart–we’re not done yet.