E. is weaned.
It started when I weaned myself off the dom.peridone. E. was happily drinking all or close to the maximum 16 oz. of cow’s milk a day recommended by his paediatrician, so I didn’t feel I needed to artificially raise my milk supply any longer.
My milk supply fell off a cliff as a result. It was incredible. I went from pumping 5-8 oz. each morning (more if E. hadn’t fed much that night) to 1. So that was the end of pumping. We were away visiting grandparents for a week, and it was obvious at the night feeds that E. wasn’t drinking much and they really had become about routine and habit rather than nutrition.
When we got back home we had one night like usual, and it turns out that the night feed that night at 2:30 a.m. was the last time I ever nursed E., as the next day at dinner, Q. looked at me and said, “We should sleep train, right?” We didn’t have any more excuses- no upcoming visits, no conference to prepare for-, plus we’re going to visit his relatives in the not-so-distant future, so if we didn’t bite the bullet and cut off the night feeds now, we’d be commiting to night feeds until August.
So I, with a lot of trepidation, went off to sleep in the basement, and left Q. to deal with E. “Just don’t get angry with him,” I said as I went downstairs. I think Q. was confused. “I’m never angry with him,” he answered. “Besides, if he goes on for too long, I’ll just come get you.” He laughed, and off we went.
I don’t know what I was expecting. I guess I figured since Q. has less patience than I do when it comes to E. that he might get really frustrated, that he might not be able to see it through. I was expecting the worst.
E. did wake up, at 12:30, with a dirty diaper. And it did take Q. until 2 to get him back down. The crying comes down the vents into the basement, so it did wake me up, but according to Q’s report the next day there wasn’t actually all that much crying- it just seemed like it to me. Q. woke me back up at 3 when he came downstairs to get a snack, so at that point I went upstairs with him.
E. slept until 7 a.m.
The next night I slept in the basement, this time with my trusty earplugs. I woke up around 4 and had a terrible time getting back to sleep. I took out the earplugs, since I figured I would have missed whatever antics had gone on upstairs, so when E. woke up screaming at 5:30, I heard him. Again he had a dirty diaper. Once Q. changed him, he was all smiles and up for the day. And that was the FIRST time he had woken up that night.
Saturday night I figured it was safe to try sleeping upstairs again. E. slept straight through until 6:15 without a peep.
Last night? Well, he went to bed very overtired, courtesy of an afternoon nap refusal, so he was asleep probably by 6:55 or so. He slept until 7 this morning! He popped up twice that I heard with a very brief cry (5 seconds or less) before settling down again.
TWELVE hours, readers. That is unheard of for E.
I know we’ll probably have some regressions and more wakings, especially given he is (still) teething like mad, having cut one molar and with another molar plus three canines moving around. But I know he can do it now.
My son sleeps through the night.
I have mixed feelings about weaning, of course. I don’t feel torn about cutting the night feed or stopping pumping, because I haven’t really felt we had a good breastfeeding relationship ever since E. day weaned at 10 months. I regret that we weren’t able to continue, but if I am very honest with myself, my regrets stem mostly from the fact that I at some point decided that nursing past the year mark was the RIGHT thing to do, and that doing this made me a GOOD MOTHER, and the fact that I am the first of my close circle of mummy friends to wean means that I am somehow falling behind in the Mummy Olympics. I really struggle with self-imposed standards and it is so hard not to compare myself or E. to the other mums and bubs around us.
When you take away the stupid self-imposed ideology about what a GOOD MOTHER should do, and look at the reality of the situation, here is what you see:
– E was done nursing at 10 months. He wanted solid food. He wanted to get on with things. He probably would have slept through the night then if I had weaned entirely
– I couldn’t wean him because of the MSPI. I had to get him to the year mark. So I got up twice a night, started taking domper.idone and herbs, and started pumping twice a day.
– I did get him to the year mark. I got him to 13 months. I got him to the point where he not only had outgrown the MSPI, but he had grown accustomed to the taste of cow’s milk and, indeed, even liked it. This is a seriously big deal in my world. I mean, read that sentence at the start of the post again. I have a son who guzzles close to 16 oz. of cow’s milk a day with NO side effects whatsoever. A son who devours cheese in any form, at any meal, at any time. A son who not so long ago, at Christmas, was up screaming in pain in the wee hours because I had eaten potatoes that were cooked next to something that had been cooked in butter. A son who at nine months writhed in agony and wept while I held him because we’d fed him yoghurt.
We’ve come a long way, baby.
So while I do mourn for the loss of our nursing relationship, I can admit to myself that it’s the imagined ideal that I mourn, the place I thought we’d be in back before he started solids and I was determined to nurse to eighteen months or beyond. It’s not the reality of these last three months that I miss. He was done. I was (mostly) done, even though a part of me dearly loved the cuddles and the closeness that came with those remaining night feeds.
And I mourn the idea that I might never nurse a baby again because, given the struggle it was to get him, it is always, always at the back of my mind that E. might be our only baby.
But it was time.
Now if I could just reteach my body to actually sleep through the night, we’d be golden…