Emmie is successfully weaned.
It was much, much less traumatic than I feared and went even better than I could have hoped.
Even just a month before we weaned, I was a sobbing mess just thinking about it. How could I give up? When I had worked so very very hard so she could nurse? What was I even thinking?
I desperately searched the web, a jumble of hormones and tears, trying to figure out what “they” say to do. I still don’t know who “they” are or what anyone “should” do, but I did find a lovely quote that was the measure of light that allowed me to let go. This lovely article said:
“The word “wean” is derived from a word meaning ‘satisfaction’ or ‘fulfillment.’ During most of history, weaning was considered a natural stage of growth, an indication that the child had finally had his fill. Today, however, rather than a natural process to be celebrated, many mothers dread weaning as a time of deprivation and unhappiness.”
Realizing that I absolutely was dreading weaning “as a time of deprivation and unhappiness” made me realize that I was going about this all the wrong way. I needed to celebrate the time that we WERE able to nurse, and recognize it as the gift that it was, rather than mourn its perceived “loss.” It wasn’t being lost at all. Emmie was fully satisfied, as evidenced by her truly minuscule nursing sessions. It’s no exaggeration to say that by the end, she nursed once a day for less than 10 seconds total.
The process then became almost a non-issue. We gradually did all of the suggestions recommended in that article, and it just… happened. It was wonderful. Emmie was informed before her last nursing session that it would be the last one and the milk was all gone. She nursed distractedly for MAYBE 5 seconds, said “milk all gone,” and was off and playing immediately. There wasn’t even time for me to feel sad or any sense of loss. She had gotten what she needed from it and me and was ready to move on to bigger and better things, as she should.
Just a week after her last nursing session, she caught a glimpse of me getting out of the shower. I had tried to avoid her seeing my breasts, to avoid her asking for more milk, but she only said “Mama milk all gone.” When we asked her what happened to it, she said “Emmie drink it all.”
It makes me heart happy to know that she knows (on some level) that I was able to give her milk and that she has all of it, and there isn’t any more because she doesn’t need it any more.
Emmie big girl, as she will tell you. And we both feel fulfillment and satisfaction with our journey’s close.
Beth Peterson said:
Beautiful post, Shannon!
I love that! "Emmie drink it all". What a big girl indeed 🙂
Rob Hill said:
Wow Shannon. I know this was far from your most important post, as that’s a field with almost unimaginable competition, but this might be the one I’ve enjoyed the most. Such a beautiful little window into your thought-process and life. Thanks so much for sharing it with everyone.
I’m sad to see fewer updates as late, but obviously am in the same boat. I hope you’re still writing, even if you don’t have time to polish and publish.