13 Emotional Stages Every Breastfeeding Mom Goes Through When Considering Weaning
Confession: I’m not an expert on weaning because, um, I’ve never actually done it. However, I think I can confidently claim to be somewhat of an authority on thinking about weaning because I’ve been doing that for almost two years now. Pretty much since my son’s first days at home, before I even got good at it, I’ve been debating about how and when to stop breastfeeding. There are emotional stages every breastfeeding mom goes through when considering weaning, and I've (for better or worse) become familiar with damn near all of them.
When I first started breastfeeding, the inevitable decision to stop was, I thought, going to rest solely on my son. I was determined to go as long as possible for him. Now that I've been breastfeeding for, well a long time, I've been thinking (rather frequently) how I actually get off this ride. I've never weaned before, my son has obviously never weaned before, so exactly how do I go about this process and, perhaps more importantly, are the emotions I'm feeling when I think about weaning, normal?
To be fair, we’re only down to one feeding a day and it’s happens at a pretty regular part of our routine so if you twist my arm, I can admit that I do have a few ideas how to proceed. But I’m not sure I’m ready. I think he would be, if I tried, but I’m not sure I want to. But maybe that means I should? Isn't it more about him? Motherhood is so hard, you guys. If only someone had warned me! Alas, let’s dig a little deeper into the mental gymnastics that occur when a breastfeeding mom contemplates weaning:
Wean? You must be joking! What a funny joke you just told. If I was a 90s tween, I'd say something about it being so funny that I forgot to laugh, but since I'm a "mature" lady, I'm just going to politely laugh while silently seething.
Don't be silly. I mean, I understand that, yes, someday I will need to wean and I suppose it's technically possible that this day could be coming sooner than I thought, but I really don't think so. That's just not how this works, right? Nope.
Ugh, FINE. I'll consider it.
Uncertainty About The Future
I don't know how to be a mom who's not breastfeeding. I mean, this has been part of my identity for a while now and I've finally grown accustomed to breastfeeding my kid and, now it's just over? I don't think so. Honestly, knowing that this will all change (and probably soon) is slightly unnerving.
A Lack Of Confidence In How To Proceed
So, I just go about my day without pulling my breasts out? What's that like? I can't remember.
Daydreaming About Your Breastfeeding-Free Future...
I mean, it sounds sorta okay. And by "sorta okay," I mean absolutely amazing, like I want to stand out the roof of a limo driving slowly and sing to pedestrians.
...And Then Mourning Your Breastfeeding-Free Future
But the feelings, guys. The feelings won't go away. I will no longer be able to feed my kid with my body, and that's such an amazing thing. We won't have our ritual or our snuggles or that unique bonding time and just, no. No no no.
Absolute Refusal 2: Refuse Harder, The Undergarments Edition
You can take my life, but you can never take my comfy bras.
Trying To Look At The Bright Side. Maybe We Can Have A Party?
I've heard about people throwing actual parties when their kiddos stop breastfeeding. Any word yet on how Chrissy Teigan feels about these? #momgoals
Celebrating The Parts You Most Definitely Will Not Miss
BYE Mastitis. BYE nipple chaffing. BYE blocked ducts. Peace.
Worrying That You're Losing The Bond You Have With Your Child
Logically, yes, I know that I'm still his mom when we stop breastfeeding and that we'll have plenty of bonding moments ahead of us. But emotionally, I feel like I'm going to lose a piece of the puzzle.
Lamenting About Having One Less Reason To Snuggle
Because, seriously, there can never be too many reasons to snuggle a toddler, and here I am, willingly/maybe about to give one up.
Fine. FINE. I'm just going to need a minute. Or a couple days. Or maybe another month. Is another month OK?