Monday, September 5, 2011

Jake-led weaning

This Thursday, I'll have been breastfeeding Jake for ten months. Ten months of pumping at work. Ten months of dropping what I was doing when Jake cried in hunger. Ten months of nursing in the car when I couldn't find a decent family restroom at the museum. Ten months of leaking when I heard another baby cry in line at the supermarket. Ten whole months, people!!! And there have been plenty of times I wanted to quit - when stealing away from the bench during an experiment for yet another 20-minute pump break; when eating lunch by myself in our pumping office instead of enjoying a communal meal in the break room; when cleaning breast milk spilt while trying to pump and analyze data simultaneously (on more than one occasion, thank you very much).

But my baby boy is starting to wean; table foods are evidently a much more preferable way to get his fill than through Mama (can I really blame him?). Our only consistently remaining nursing session is at 5 am, and Jake's even skipped that one a few times this past week. Along with his recently-acquired ability to stand unassisted, and the walking skills he's honing with his push cart, this is further evidence that our little Jakey is growing up, and I'm not sure I approve. Not that I don't appreciate the sleep (I DO!!!!), but I miss those peaceful moments, in the quiet before dawn, rocking my little boy in his nursery. For all its difficulties, nursing Jake has been an incredibly moving experience that I wouldn't trade for anything.

On the other hand, the day will come when I won't think twice about a glass of wine with lunch on the weekends, and I won't have to drop what I'm doing at feeding time. I'll no longer experience the awkwardness of breastfeeding in public, and I won't have to field questions like "exactly how long do you plan to breastfeed" (is that really an appropriate question to ask a coworker?). This bittersweet juxtaposition of yearning and promise is the reality of parenthood and life, and I keep reminding myself: the past is beautiful, but the future is evermore glorious.

So here's to moving on and growing up. Happy (almost) 10 months Jakey; I can't wait to see what happens next!

Jake celebrating... his shoes 


scienceofmom said...

Congrats on 10 months of breastfeeding and pumping! Especially the pumping - that part is a pain and just doesn't reward you like nursing does. Watching my baby girl grow has been a mix of excitement and pride and the bittersweet, every step of the way. My girl is 9.5 months, really close in age to Jake, and we're still really enjoying breastfeeding. Her feedings are quick these days though, almost too quick for me. I'd like to linger in the rocking chair and watch her a little longer (or, let's be honest, play on my phone a little longer:) I will cherish these days for sure. I admire that the weaning process for you is Jake-led. There is no affirmation that you are doing the right thing for your baby like having him decide it is time. Cute kid and nice blog:)

Lisa Moore said...

Don't worry! You will still have some moments of quiet cuddling. I got Westin to about 9.5 months. At 21 months, he is all little boy! It's amazing!! Congrats on getting him to 10-that's huge!! HUGE!

Mandy said...

@SoM - Thank you. Jake's feedings have gotten incredibly short too, except for when he falls asleep nursing. It's been a while since I've nursed while surfing the net, though. He's been grabbing at my face, hair, necklace and phone ever since he was about 6 months. Unless he's falling asleep, but then I tend to fall asleep with him. :)

@Lisa - Aw, those moments of cuddling are so much fewer than they used to be. I now take FULL advantage of them when I get them!