Thoughts Upon Weaning

At some point this week, I will nurse my precious, funny Moses-man for the last time.

Doug & I have a trip planned for just the 2 of us (first time in about 8 years), and so I've been slowly winding down our nursing relationship.
It's so bittersweet when these moments of dependence and togetherness come to a close. It's so precious to see their little baby-neediness, at a time when they are also asserting their independence through walking, eating more independently, and such.

God has designed this special way for mothers and babies to be connected with each other and need one another. Breastfeeding is not always possible, but it is such a wonderful design from our loving Father, to bond mothers to babies and babies to mothers. I'm so thankful for this last year of spending time knowing, learning the ways of, and loving my little Moses Henry.

If you are a pregnant mom thinking about breastfeeding, I want to encourage you that while those early nursing sessions can seem long, and while there often are painful moments to persevere through, the first year is so short. It's such a small thing we can give to our babies, and yet God has designed us as moms with this gift to give. God's unique design is still far better than anything men have created to try to replace it. Consider nursing, and consider committing to nurse at least to the one-year mark.

WHO can now say with full confidence that breastfeeding reduces child mortality and has health benefits that extend into adulthood. On a population basis, exclusive breastfeeding for the first six months of life is the recommended way of feeding infants, followed by continued breastfeeding with appropriate complementary foods for up to two years or beyond.

Breastmilk is the natural first food for babies, it provides all the energy and nutrients that the infant needs for the first months of life, and it continues to provide up to half or more of a child’s nutritional needs during the second half of the first year, and up to one-third during the second year of life.
How long should I breastfeed my baby?
The AAP recommends that babies be exclusively breastfed for about the first 6 months of life. This means your baby needs no additional foods (except Vitamin D) or fluids unless medically indicated. Babies should continue to breastfeed for a year and for as long as is mutually desired by the mother and baby.

I truly am thankful I've been able to nurse each of our 5 children to at least a year old... with my oldest son, he nursed just past 12 months, our second son nursed to 13 & 1/2 months, our daughter was weaned at 14 months, and Silas nursed until he was 18 months old.

Moses just celebrated his 1st birthday, is now walking in his little stumbly, disjointed way, and soon will be completely weaned... it's a wonderful time of growth and a sobering point of independence in his young life.

I want to publicly express my joy, and a bit of bittersweet sadness, that this time is now coming to a close.

Sometimes you hear the stories of early pain, infections, or difficulties with breastfeeding, but we don't often hear the stories of just how precious this relationship is... dependence, connectedness, and shared moments of silence and met needs. It is so sweet to have him contentedly curl up next to me and be satisfied at a time when he is also very physically mobile. To know that he still counts this time with me as a worthwhile time to slow down, snuggle, and have his needs met is meaningful to me. Each time I've weaned a baby, I've felt this bittersweet sense of awareness that they are indeed growing up, and I am very grateful to have this milestone to celebrate.

Be encouraged, pregnant or nursing mom, that it is worth it to press on if you can, to meet your baby's needs in this way. It is worth it!


BellaBrown said...

I truly understand. I have nursed my daughter who will be nine months in a few weeks. I intend to nurse til she is a year. I'm already trying to mentally prepare. I will be praying for you and little Moses.

Tiana B.

Michelle said...

I fully agree. Lane nursed until 14-and-a-bit months, and I was so sad when it was over. Yes, there were hard times, but there were so many sweet times as well. I plan on nursing all of our babies until at least a year, if possible.

Cat said...

I'm sorry...I know this is a bittersweet time. My 5th recently weaned at 14 months. I had hoped to go for 18-24 months (historically mine have all weaned by 15 months on their own) this time, but a cancer diagnosis in January and ensuing treatment cut things short for us and it took some time for me to be okay with that. Quitting my part-time job as a breastfeeding counselor was necessary for me during this time.

Hang in there. And I hope you have a wonderful time on your couple trip!

CPB said...

Hey Jess,

I have been a long time reader but I don't think I have ever commented. I just started breastfeeding for the first time. My little boy is 5 weeks old. I had planned to do it because that was "what you do" and honestly, because I wanted to lose the baby weight and because it was free. Now that I am breastfeeding I love it! I love the sweet time with our sweet Jude of cuddling and bonding. I love when I lay him down (usually on the boppy, I still need it) he quiets right down because he knows he is about to be fed. He is growing like a weed and I am constantly amazed that God created him in my womb and now he is sustained by the food from my body.

Thank you for this encouragement. It really is one of the sweetest things I have ever experienced and hope to nurse as long as possible!


Sandrine said...

It's great that you were able to breastfeed for so long. My first weaned himself at 11 month (I was two month pregnant by that time and my supply just dried up). My second was less interested in nursing than my first; I still managed to make it till 9-10 month, but then he weaned himself in about a week... much too quickly for me! By that time I learned that I was pregnant again, so maybe there is a link there. We'll see how it goes with the third :)

Kati said...

Ah, I understand! I just recently weaned Karlyn, who will be 8 months next week. It was a pretty emotional time for me as we weaned but I feel like the timing was right. I am SO glad that I perservered through the early days and kept going. Breastfeeding is an amazing thing we can do for our babies and I do feel like she was/is healthier because of it. So am I! I hope your time of weaning goes smoothly. Congrats on nursing all 5 of your little ones!

Charisa said...

Amen! I nursed my son until 15 months and was so sad when we decided it was time to wean. Now our daughter has arrived (5 weeks before her due date!) and I am so thankful and blessed that she can breastfeed and so well, as a preemie. Such a precious thing to be able to do for your children.

Brittany said...

It wasn't until I was completely finished nursing that I missed it :( Now that we're unable to have any more children...I wish I would have savored the moments much more. You don't know what you have until it's gone :(