If you chose and are able to breastfeed, then you know that weaning is an inevitability. You might not know when, or how, that process will go, but you do know that you will not, thankfully, be stuck breastfeeding your kid for the rest of your natural life. But weaning a breastfeeding baby isn't always easy, dear reader, and if you're parenting with a partner the ordeal is likely to cause a few, shall we say, disagreements.
I vividly remember weaning my oldest son, and I'm currently in the throws of weaning my youngest. And I can safely say that, well, weaning sucks. (No pun intended.) It sucks bad. I think what makes this parenting "milestone" particularly difficult is that the onus is primarily on me, the person who was breastfeeding. While my partner could be supportive and sympathize, the responsibility of helping my children transition out of the breastfeeding phase rests on my shoulders. And while I understand why — my partner can't lactate — I can't help but feel a tinge of resentment. Honestly, it just doesn't seem fair.
So, yes, every now and then my partner and I have some words, especially when weaning feels impossible or, at times, cruel. We made it through weaning kid number one, though, and I'm sure we'll make it through weaning kid number two as well. I just know it's going to involve us enduring the following fights, because parenthood:
The "This Is All Your Fault" Fight
I'm not saying it's my partner's fault he can't lactate... but it is absolutely my partner's fault that he can't lactate.
Alright, so that doesn't make a whole bunch of sense, but when you're in the middle of weaning making sense doesn't seem like a big priority. The process can be stressful, exhausting, emotionally taxing, and even sad, even when it's something you have decided to do, so sometimes you just need someone to blame. That, my friends, is what a romantic partner is for.
The "This Isn't Fair" Fight
Because it's not fair! Not even a little bit! Why is it that feeding your kid had to be my responsibility?! I mean, yes, I could pump and have my partner use bottles, but have you ever pumped? It's the worst! And yes, I can always supplement with formula, but engorgement is real, my friends, and it is incredibly uncomfortable. So to avoid it all I've been the one feeding your kid, and now I'm the one who has to wean your kid. All by yourself. Alone.
The "Why Can't You Lactate?" Fight
If your partner is a cisgender male, like mine, then you probably know why. But whatever, it's worth discussing.
The "I Am Always The Bad Guy" Fight
When I was weaning my eldest I felt like a damn Disney villain. I was ready to be done, though, and I knew that weaning was going to benefit my mental health. I also knew that the kid could've probably breastfed for longer if I was up for it, and that fun fact, of course, made me feel pretty guilty. Throughout the entire weaning process I felt like the bad guy... so, naturally, I took it out on my partner.
The "Who Is More Tired?" Fight
This really shouldn't even be a "fight," because the answer is clear. Still, your partner will probably try to argue that he is somehow just as tired, if not more tired, as you are. Don't let him win. This is worth you standing your ground. You win this fight, always.
The "Which Way Is The Best Way?" Fight
I mean, just how in the hell do you go about this whole weaning process anyways? Cold turkey? Just breastfeeding at night? Supplementing with formula? When you're a new parent and you're weaning for the first time, this whole "the end of breastfeeding" thing can feel like a wade into scary uncharted waters, and even though your partner isn't the one lactating chances are they're going to have some thoughts on how you should go about it.
Just remember that, in the end, how you decide to wean is entirely up to you. Your body, your choice.
The "This Was A Mistake & You Should've Known Better" Fight
There will come a point, inevitably, when you feel like the decision to wean was a damn mistake. You'll question your entire thought process, why you messed with what was hopefully a good thing, and how you can go about rectifying the situation. Then, of course, you will blame your partner for not knowing better.
The "We Should've Done This Earlier" Fight
And then, one magical day, you will realize that you've successfully weaned your child and have full, complete control over your body again. It will feel like a miracle. Like a godsend. Like heaven.
And then you'll blame your partner for not encouraging you to stop breastfeeding earlier, because OMG why didn't they want you to feel this freedom?!