In seven years of parenting, weaning remains one of the hardest challenges I've faced. I never had any second thoughts about whether I was doing what was best for me and, ultimately, my family, but that doesn't mean there weren't moments when I doubted my ability to make it through. Fortunately, I was able to find strength from my wonderful support network, which is why I'm here to pay it forward and remind you of the weaning moments that prove you're an absolute badass.
I'm a firm believer that moms should be on the receiving end of fawning pep talks and on a regular basis. Unfortunately, since moms are often seen as the source of all nurturing, it doesn't occur to people to care for us and our needs as much as we deserve or require. But, gals: you're awesome. And you absolutely deserve to hear about how awesome you are regularly, and especially when you're making your way through a new parenting milestone.
Weaning might not always be easy, but you've been building up your stores of badassery to make it through whatever fresh hell is in store as you wind down your breastfeeding relationship with your littles. And in so doing you're going to become even more of a badass. So with all that in mind, here are all the times you will know, down to the marrow of your bones, that you are capable and glorious:
When You Decide It's Time
There's no one right answer to how best to feed your baby (though there are a lot of people out there who would have you believe otherwise), but the decision as to whether or not to nurse and how long to keep it up can be difficult to navigate — competing motivations as well as mixed messages can lead to confusion and ambivalence. But, for whatever reason, you've decided it's time and, well, good for you, girl! Because you know yourself. You know your body. You know your life and how to live your best one.
When You Make A Plan
Look at you, moving forward with determination and research. You absolute legend. You know this may not be easy, if only for the "breaking the habit" aspect of breastfeeding if nothing else. But you've consulted various resources — books, websites, your pediatrician, fellow nursing parents — and you have a game plan. You're prepared. Go you.
When You Make Adjustments
Of course the initial plan would take some finessing. After all, you've never done this before. And even if you've weaned before you've never weaned this child, who could be vastly different from your first. So by all means, tweak the plan a bit. We stand in awe of your adaptability.
When You Stick To Your Plan
Because you know this is it. There's no looking back now. Courage, lady!
When You Deal With A Pissed Off Kid
The anger of a weaning child is furious and righteous and, yes, it can hurt your tender mom heart. But you know that both of you are ready for this and, in the end, it's what's best for the whole family. A breastfeeding relationship is like any other: it doesn't work if one of the people in it isn't feeling it anymore. So keep the faith, friend! You know your course is true!
When You Deal With The Various Physical Challenges Of Weaning
Engorgement. Mastitis. Hormonal shifts. Or just the sometimes disconcerting, gradual droop of your breasts. The physical effects of weaning can range from disconcerting to jarring but, like, OMG. Look at you handling your sh*t. Unbelievable. You're a marvel. Your breasts may be going through some hard times, but your ass? Still bad AF.
When You Defend Your Choice To Naysayers
Because you don't have time for this. Not today. Not ever. And you're not going to stand for it. You are going to remain confident in your decision to wean your child and move on to a new stage of parenting. You are going to shut these mofos down, as is your right. You are defending not only yourself but the right of every mom to be respected for the choices she makes about her own damn body.
When You Get Help If You Need It
Because somethings this whole weaning thing an ordeal, and it's totally normal to be challenged in ways that require help — physically, and/or emotionally. It takes tremendous courage and self-awareness to recognize that need and even more to reach out and ask for it. Seriously, it's inspiring to see that kind of strength and comforting to know that those of us who face similar problems aren't abnormal or alone.
When You Find Great New Ways To Bond With Your Little One
You're a nurturing machine. You nurtured your baby with milk and now you're continue to nurture them with love, attention, support, and incomparable care. Evening nursing sessions have, perhaps, given way to dedicated cuddling time. Bonding over a boob has morphed into bonding over a bowl of blueberries at the kitchen table. Cooing to your baby as they nurse has moved on to cooing to your baby as they happily chug away on a bottle. You know that the same love can manifest in many different forms and you are broadening your horizons to find all of them.
When You Enjoy Having Your Body Back
Openly celebrating what your body has done and what it can do now that you're no longer doing that anymore can be an act of rebellion against forces that tell you there's other things your body should be doing and a certain way you're supposed to feel about (and discuss) it, at least in public. Because sometimes, as a woman and a mother, there is nothing more radical than self-love.
When You're Officially Done
You've accomplished something tremendous! Not only were you able to sustain another human life with your body, but you've gone through the process of moving forward from that as a parent. Congratulations, badass.