Last night, while crusing around the Interweb, I read the most funny, honest, interesting story by a mother who is struggling to wean her 17 month old son. She’s ready pretty much. He’s not.
Ronda Keysen writes:
It’s two in the morning and I’m on the toilet. This would be a
mundane experience if it weren’t for the toddler standing beside me
nursing. My son is seventeen months old and still breastfeeds. I intended it
that way. After reading oodles of attachment parenting literature, I
decided that letting my child self-wean on his own time was best. What
I didn’t anticipate was…..
…..how totally freaky and unnerving the whole
experience would be.
Believe it or not, letting him suckle while I’m on the toilet
pre-dawn is the path of least resistance. What would happen if he
didn’t tag along? He would sit up in bed and scream for his “Na Nas,”
formerly known as my breasts, until they returned.
They are his breasts now. He strokes them lovingly through my shirt
and cups them with his palms. He blows raspberries on them and giggles.
He nurses in a toddler variation of Downward Facing Dog while
simultaneously thumbing the pages of Goodnight Moon. He slaps
my chest with both hands and shouts, “Na Na! Na Na!” when I’m trying to
discuss the finer points of a leaky faucet with the plumber. I am the
body attached to his breasts.
When he displays his more theatrical nursing techniques in public or
around people other than my husband, I find myself sheepish and
embarrassed. I worry that someone will find this whole situation
repulsive: a slapping, grunting, gulping little man waddling along
beside me, clamped to my nipples.
And then I feel guilty. He’s still just a baby — a very mobile baby,
but a baby. And he’s right to see nothing shameful or wrong about his
antics. But despite all the books and reassuring words about going at
your child’s pace, I can’t shake the feeling that I’m judged as a
weirdo because I haven’t figured out how to wean this kid. I thought
I’d be able to get over the cultural taboo that breastfeeding a toddler
is strange. But the scolding voices are there in my head: “A child who
can walk and ask to nurse doesn’t need to nurse anyway… If he’s old
enough to unlatch your bra himself, he’s too old to be doing it at all.”
Sometimes the voices are sitting across from me at the dinner table.
Consider this recent luncheon with my mother and her friend at a swanky
winery. My toddler hurdles onto my lap and nuzzles my breasts. My mum’s
friend, who breastfed about four kids, says, “Please don’t tell me
you’re one of those freaky Leche League mums.” When I unclasp my bra,
she fake shivers and shrieks, “Oh no, you are! Gross! He’s got teeth!”
It wasn’t always this way. Nursing the first year was bliss. I loved
it. We’d lie around together for hours. He’d periodically look up at me
and coo, but mostly he hummed and stayed put. In public, I tossed
modesty aside and whipped out my boobs if he wanted them. If anyone
looked surprised or uncomfortable, I didn’t care. I was a proud
Back then, I was nourishing a child. Now I feel like I’m
entertaining one. His fascination with the outside world has eclipsed
his ability to sit still long enough for the milk to arrive. Rather
than wait, he rotates his body in bizarre contortions — on, say, the
bus — as he tries to get a better angle or play with his toes. He is
After having a great breast-feeding experience with Luca and a horribly tough time with my daughter (hello mastitis), I’m adoring breast-feeding this time and get quite emotional at the thought of weaning. Remy is almost nine months and is quite distracted during feeds now but still shimmies down my chest when he’s hungry.
If you’ve ever breast-fed or are feeding now, how did you tackle (or plan to tackle) the weaning issue?