Thoughts on Weaning

Thursday, March 25, 2010

My son has hockey hair.

I mean like there's no getting around it.

Certifiable, makes Daddy proud Hockey Hair.

And people keep on talking about cutting it.

Which honestly makes me want to punch someone, because they are effectively telling me what I already know: my baby isn't quite a baby anymore. I'm not quite sure when it happened. I can't say that I turned my back on him and when I looked back he'd changed, because I never did. I never turned my back. I've been trying to be aware and living in each moment.

But all this birthday and hair cutting talk gets me thinking about weaning. There are so many reasons, good solid reasons, only a few of which are selfish that drive these thoughts. The most major factor being my relationship with Tony. We have coslept since Isaac was five months and both Tony and I enjoy it. We both like the proximity of our child and I honestly think that nursing throughout the night has been the deciding factor in my ability to breastfeed this long.

Tony without fail mentions weekly that his favorite part of the day is when I leave in the morning and he gets to cuddle his son. I know we made a great decision for Isaac in opening our bed to him and it's rewarded us greatly in return, but I recently heard a quote that stopped me dead in my tracks.

"You can't be a better mother than a wife." Chelsea Cameron

I think that Tony has been allowing me to pour all of my effort into our son and has been left to fend for the emotional discards that I sometimes offer, never mind the physical. Please, if the above quote has hit you as hard as it hit me, don't shy from sharing! It was like a literal lightbulb went off in my head.

While my son does need me, he needs an intact family more. I'm not saying things are/were even rocky for Tony and I, but I am saying that I was not fostering the marriage I know that I want to uphold. My husband needs to know that I am available to him, wholely. This is the primary reason that I thinking of weaning.

I do not feel womanly. I feel motherly. I do not want the caress of my husband, as I feel the stain against my motherly duties. This needs to change. I need to reclaim my strength as a woman and a mother, not only a mother. Maybe I am the only one who struggles with the demands of my body as a woman, wife and mother, but I highly doubt it.

I think we'll start dropping nursing after Isaac's birthday and transition him to his crib [the long, long, long ways a whole floor and half our house away]. I will forever cherish my bond with my son, the need and comfort he associates with me in a role that only I can fill. For his sake though, it must end. And let's be clear this is not just about boobs or sex people, there's a lot of emotional issues to be taken into account.

[The above quote is not to suggest that a woman should endager her life or that of her children to stay in an abusive or dangerous situation.]


Kelsey said...

I have soooo many thoughts on this topic, many of which would ignite some serious "Mommy Wars." Suffice it to say that I wholeheartedly agree with you!

Julie S. said...

Make a girl cry! Oh Leah, I can understand some of what you are saying. People have said something about cutting Brayden's hair too and have asked how long I plan of BF. I completely agree with you needing to wean because of your husband. I feel the exact same way.

Bekah said...

amen. I just wrote about this recently too. it hit me like a ton of bricks that the BEST thing I can give my son is an example of loving committed parents.

Leslie G said...

I 110% agree with that comment. One of the best bits of marriage advice I have ever received was the advice to "put your marriage before your children." That sounds like a harsh statement up front, but if you read into it, I wholeheartedly believe that this is the way God wants us to live. It's hard (especially with little ones) to do this- but I think if you strive to keep the commitment you made to your husband, your family and children will benefit the most from this way of thinking. Think about it- if your parents went on dates frequently, showed each other lots of love, affection, prayed together, talked together, etc- would you be mad at them for doing this? My answer would be no- and in fact, I'd probably try to live up to the example they set for me. (My parents were NOT like that, BTW- which is probably why it's so important to me) Again, I don't think it means to disregard what your children need from you- or to put them on the back burner. The way I see it is that your children will always be "your children" but your husband may not always be "your husband" if you don't continually work at it.
Just my thoughts. =)

Erin said...

I definitely agree with that quote, as hard as it is to put into practice, especially with a newborn! I can only hope to make it a year breastfeeding - I'd love to hear more about how it has been going for you lately! While we aren't having problems, it just isn't something I LOVE quite yet... hopefully I get there though. I do have the goal of a year, but 6 months would be awesome :)

Murdock's mama said...

I have so many thoughts on this [not so much the breast-feeding aspect but wife before mother]. My mom was [is] THE BEST MOM EVER. She taught me SO many amazing things that many people my age still do not understand but the one thing she didn't teach me was how to be a great wife. My dad traveled a lot and she basically raised us on our own. She loved my dad but was not 'in love' with him. I never saw any positive affection from them. It wasn't until I met my husband [and a few couples in his family] that I saw what it was like to be a wife and a mother. This quote is perfect! We'll see how I do after my first! :) Great topic & good luck with the weaning process!

abby said...

That is a wonderful quote and definitely gives some new perspective to both relationships. My parents didn't (don't) have what I would call a loving relationship, so it is very important to me that our children grow up seeing something different.

While I would have loved to make it a year like you have, my nursing days are over. And I can already say that I am beginning to feel more like a woman AND a mother again. Weaning has been the definition of bittersweet. Good luck!

Ashley @ Our Happily Ever Afters said...


When Evy weaned herself (yes, that's right--weaned herself) at around 9 months, I had one moment where I was very emotional and cried. Then, I loved the freedom it gave me, and I bonded with her just as much while giving a bottle.

But the biggest plus was exactly what you're talking about. It was SO MUCH EASIER to get into wife mode after I stopped nursing. It helped me SO MUCH.

I have been crucified (literally called a horrific and selfish person) because I didn't breastfeed for an entire year. And I don't care, because it was best for us. In fact, I'm considering making it the norm for our subsequent children. It was THAT helpful for my morale and everyone involved.

Email me if you'd like :)

Do what your intuition tells you would be best. This is a scenario where you will just know what's right.

Sarah said...

Great post, hands down. Even though my babies aren't here yet, i sometimes feel guilty that I haven't been the wife that I need to be to Mike because I have been wrapped up in "mother mode". I have been too concerned with growing these babies and let my relationship with my husband and his needs come after. What a relief to know that I am not alone here.

Julia Goolia said...

I say good for you, sister! You have made it SO far with breastfeeding and I'm sure weaning him and moving him out of your room is going to be really really hard....but I agree that marriage really does need to come first, for Isaac especially.

Meagan said...

So true. I love that quote. So many moms get into "Mommy mode" and forget that their husband is still virile and young (for lack of a better term) and he wants his woman. ha ha!

I read "Babyproofing your marriage" before we conceived and it helped me navigate around some of those pit falls. Not saying that any way is the right way, but I totally understand where you are coming from!!

Mindy said...

Wow, Leah, as I read this post tears were streaming down my face. I gave up brestfeeding when my daughter was nine months old (not by choice, but I was diagnosed with Ceiliac Disease and it put a huge dent on my supply with a strict diet change over night). I do identify with the wife/mother part though. Good luck!

Q, La, and Gooner said...

Oh my goodness though, how does sex work? I'd really go insane. I know every woman is different, but sex is such a huge part of marriage and my bonding with Q, I would REALLY miss that AND the spooning. I think you can still share an equally strong bond with your son, without sleeping with him, being as he will be one soon and that is your time frame. I agree, it is so easy to fall into putting our children first! We must not though, Christ is CLEAR on the order of things. I've started weaning Gooner and after the initial "I'm LOSING my baby!" and other emotions, it isn't so bad. I only feed her twice now, morning and night and the perks are awesome! Wearing normal bras, feeling sexy, like a woman, breasts getting smaller to a more normal and manageable size... That type of thing.

Justine said...

My son is only 4 months old and all these things have already crossed my mind. We don't bed share all the time, but I'd say at least a few times a week Theodore ends up in our bed at some point or another. And we both really enjoy it. Normally Theodore sleeps in a pack'n'play literally inches from my head, and I can't imagine having it any other way. Buuut, I do feel like it makes it hard on my husband and mine's relationsihp in some ways. I mean, we're not arguing or fighting or angry at one another, not at all. But, I think you get my point. :) I'm no where close to being ready to wean him, but I think in the next few months we might talk about moving him to his own room. :(

Thank you for your honesty on you blog. I really enjoy it! :)


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