Monday, August 21, 2006

The Boss's Executive Decision

It appears that The Boss is done sucking at the teat of bewildered maternity. She has had enough. If she could speak coherently, I'm sure she would look me straight in the eye, twerk my nipple, and say "Get that thing away from me, now!" But, instead, she just looks away, points at the ceiling fan, and shrieks "dat."

La Leche and Kellymom.com say that it's highly unusual for a child under 18 months to self-wean. Of course, I've heard the "unusual" angle before as it relates to childbearing. If I honestly believed that half of the things that happened during my pregnancy and in the first year of my child's life were so darn strange, I'd have long ago exchanged our home life for a suitcase and the circus. Ladies and Gentlemen! Children of All Ages! Hold onto your hats as we unleash for the first time into civilized society...the Amazing Self-Weaning 13 Month Old and her Bearded Mother!

It's been a process in the works for months now, which is something I realize in retrospect only. She went from several feedings, to not-so-many feedings, to three. But never during this period of gradual decline did she ever request the breast. Other toddlers have words for breastfeeding, and gaping, grasping mannerisms to indicate what they want. Not The Boss. She would drink only when I made the first move, and she would decline anything more than three times a day (upon waking, going down for a nap, and at bedtime). Now, when she wakes in the a.m., she will suck for a minute, only to come up for air making the teeth-gnashing growl of a child hungry for a high chair, a spoon she doesn't know how to use, and colorful foods full of taste.

It's fine, I guess, except that they said I had 18 months. Breastfeeding advocates everywhere swore that either mother or child is aberrant if weaning commences before 18 months of age. Thinking myself and my baby relatively normal, despite a startling number of indicators to the contrary, I counted on that number. I kept a calendar free of commitments well into the winter so that The Boss could get her thrice daily fortifications from mom. And I did it gladly, because that bonding time was just as important to me as it was to the Boss--if not moreso, as it would now appear.

If the real truth is written anywhere, it must be in that How To Raise a Child manual they forgot to give me at the hospital. Either that, or the nurse slipped it to me before the morphine wore off, and I ate it.

10 comments:

Whirlwind said...

Sorry to here about the Boss weaning. Although I didn't nurse any of my girls for the full first year, and only one of them past 3 months, it was something I always missed. Occasionally, I still miss it.

But there are other ways you and the Boss can bond. I always enjoy snuggling with one of the girls and reading a book, or singing songs.

Binkytown said...

Jeez. Couldn't the boss have at least scheduled a meeting so you could discuss this before she made a decision? You should IN NO WAY feel like you or the boss are aberrant. She's had enough. That's what toddlers do. They start deciding stuff. On their own. Without consulting us. Honor it's passing but know there are lots of new and gut wrenchingly amazing bonding experiences ahead.

Jenny said...

All kids (and bosses) are different. At least she's telling you what she needs rather than your body just giving you the big middle finger like it did me. If I could have gotten 18 weeks of breastfeeding I'd have felt like a rockstar. :)

Mother said...

I'm working on a real truth manual - in the mean time - my daughter weaned at 21 months (my prompting) however she never asked for it - even at your daughter's age.

Ever. I always offered it to her.

Amy said...

I think she will want it again.

Michele said...

FWIW, because I was a dismal failure at BFing, my sister, who bf four, had the same experience with her youngest. She just refused one day, at about a year. No explanation, no preview, just done.
"the nurse slipped it to me before the morphine wore off, and I ate it." - hahahaha. I must have flushed mine because I am totally winging it.

Anonymous said...

My twins, who are still nursing once a day at 23 months, didn't have a word for nursing until this month...

And nursing once or twice a day still provides benefits... and might be all she needs.

Not trying to pressure you to keep nursing, but just letting you know that her fascination with the world around her and her lack of a code-word aren't necessarily signs she's ready to wean.

ECR said...

Oh, believe me, I'm still trying. I go through the same routine every day, offering it to her at least the three times, plus randomly just to see if the mood strikes her. She will CONSISTENLY scream and arch away from me like I'm trying to get her to eat nails. She will have nothing to do with mama's milk factory. I'm also pumping just to keep the option open in case this is just a strange phase.

Jenifer said...

Don't feel too bad... I never BF my daughter even though i had wanted too. It just never worked. After a few weeks of stress on both of us we switched to the bottle and have been both much happier ever since. Of course she recently turned 2 and I have no idea how to get her to give up the 2 bottles of milk a day that she still INSISTS on having. The new baby boy is due any day and I have decided to bottle feed from the start (GASP!) Every child (and mother) is different, and don't let any "expert" or "manual" tell you what is right and what is wrong. My daughter isn't ready to potty train either... I have a cousin that I feel looks at me as an incompetent Mom because every time I see her the first question she asks is weather or not Paige is potty trained, AND reminds me her daughter was trained before 2. Good for her..... my daughter still doesn't recognize when she is wet.... things will come, with time. I don't worry about "standards".

Heather said...

My daughter, now 4, refused nursing so I pumped for 6 months, then formula for 6 months. She wouldn't give up the bottle until she was over 2 1/2. It was her one vice. Know what? She's fine.

My son, now 2, nursed constantly...I mean sometimes (most times at first) every hour. He was 20 lbs at 4 months...from breastfeeding alone. He self-weaned at 13 months. He was already on a sippy (never really took a bottle) and was just done I guess. He's fine too.

If I could just get him to give up the binkie...