Curious J recently achieved the age of 19 months old. She and I have been on a 2-3 times a day nursing schedule for quite a few months now, at least since Christmas. She enjoys nursing, and happily latches on whenever the opportunity is offered to her. She is still getting some milk out, as I sometimes check after she’s done, giving myself a little squeeze and seeing that, yup, there’s still milk in there. But she also enjoys comfort nursing as much as actual food-nursing.
So, it will probably come as no surprise that after 19 months of breastfeeding — I’m ready to quit. I’m tired of this. And truly, I don’t WANT to nurse her anymore.
The reason I continued as long as I did was because of her tendency to get bronchiolitis so frequently, which increases a child’s risk of getting asthma. Extended breastfeeding decreases the risk of getting asthma, so I kept nursing in order to tip the scales back in her favor.
My logical side says I should continue nursing, especially since she still enjoys it and because she’s getting immunological benefit from it. My other side agrees, but says that she’s already gotten a lot more immunological benefit than most kids ever get by nursing as long as she has. Furthermore, I just don’t want to do this anymore!
With my first daughter, I weaned her very gradually. First we were at three feedings, then I cut out the bedtime feeding and we were down to two. Then I cut out the naptime feeding and we were down to one feeding in the morning. And one morning, she didn’t want to nurse, and that was the end of it. It was picture-perfect, by the book, painless for everyone involved.
With Curious J, my second daughter, I can already tell that weaning will not be nearly so picture-perfect or by the book. But then, that’s the beauty of this second daughter — hardly anything to do with her has been that way! 🙂 Already over the past few weeks, I’ve already cut out the naptime feeding pretty consistently. And yesterday I never nursed her in the morning, either. When I nursed her at bedtime, she fed for only a few minutes, and then she just used me as a comfortable, warm pacifier. I don’t mind that, but … I’m ready to be done.
Part of me says I should just go cold turkey. Cut out all the feedings and be done with it. My hormones will probably go a little wonky from stopping nursing, so this month would be a good one in which to deal with that re-balancing. My anxiety levels are higher than usual right now, so adding the weaning into the mix would just fit right in well. Do all the anxiety-stuff at one time and get it over with it! This would be a good time for it, especially since JJ and I are actually fulfilling our resolve to regularly get to bed earlier. This would be the perfect time!
Continuing to nurse is really not that big of a deal in the grand scheme of life, and she can still use the immunological benefits. If it turns out that she DOES get asthma and I wean her now, I will feel guilty for having stopped “early.” (Ha! Like 19 months is early!) And, I do appreciate the super-simple birth control that breastfeeding provides for me.
What to do?
Well, I had already decided a few weeks ago that I wanted her weaned by the end of June. Weaning over the dry, hot summer seemed like a good idea. The idea of going cold turkey and weaning her now is tempting, to be sure. But, when I think logically about it, the first-thing-in-the-morning nursing is the easiest one for me to continue, mostly because I often nurse her lying down in bed. 🙂 For all intents and purposes, the naptime nursing is essentially dropped. I don’t think I’ve nursed her at naptime all week! So, that leaves the bedtime nursing, the one she is most attached to. That will be the trickiest one to drop, although she has gone to sleep without nursing before, for other people. I wonder if she’ll do it for me.
I remember that when I weaned Lyd at bedtime, I started substituting a bedtime story for the nursing. I started reading Curious J a bedtime story this week, so hopefully I can use that idea to help drop the bedtime feeding. I think I’ll give this until mid-May, and then see if I can drop the morning feeding, too. Hopefully, that will work.
And how will I deal with the guilt if she does get asthma? [sigh] Life is never perfect, I guess. Overall, the homeopathy is working real well with J, so we’ll keep that up, and just trust that the Lord is in control. What will be will be, and I know that I’ve done a good thing for my daughter by nursing her for as long as I have.
Yup. I’m ready to be done nursing.