Liam has asked to nurse every day since I got back. At least once, sometimes more. He's not getting upset about it when I say no, but it's clearly still on his mind. I'm trying not to feel like a bad mommy, cutting him off before he was ready. It has been nice getting my body back, and I mostly haven't missed it. Yesterday he was having a tired, sick day, and was getting really stressed out and hysterical, and I wished that we were still nursing, as that was a surefire method to help him get centered and relaxed in situations like that. But we made it through.

Bedtime is going much easier these days. He's resisting Eric putting him to bed, so we've switched again, with Eric doing bath and my doing books. This used to be hard for me because Liam would want us to stay until he fell asleep and then I'd be too tired to do anything. But now I read him a few books, turn off the lights and tell him a story, and then am able to leave while he's still awake. How this happens varies from night to night. It started with me telling him that I had to go potty, and then he'd fall asleep while waiting for me to get back. I think Liam realizes that it's easier for him to fall asleep if mom or dad isn't with him, but he doesn't want to admit that. So sometimes, like tonight, he'll ask me to get him water or something like that. But he never calls for me after I leave the room, so I think it's just his way of saying he's ready to go to sleep. This is a big improvement, and seems to be resulting in him getting to sleep a little earlier too, which is a good thing.

Unfortunately, he's been waking up early since I got home from vacation. Between the time change and his cold, the last couple of days have been particularly hard - this morning he was awake at 4:30 am. I tried to get him go back to sleep, but once he woke up he started coughing, and that kept him awake. I finally gave up at 5:15 and brought him downstairs. Fortunately, Eric gave me a birthday present and took over so I could go back to bed. I hope tomorrow morning is better - 6 am pushes my limits - anything beyond that is really stretching harsh.

And that's the state of the Liam.
Hmm, Liam thinks to himself. This morning thing isn't working so well at getting mom to lift up her top. Let's try bedtime?

"I nursing mommy in chair?" he asks hopefully, pointing over at my chair in the living room, where we used to do all of our bedtime nursing sessions (which we have been done with, I should note, for months now.)

Gotta give the boy credit for trying.

Oh, I should note that this weaning thing has gone painlessly from my end. Even though we were down to just once a day, I figured I'd have to deal with some engorgement or discomfort, but aside from a very minor ache when I was lying on my stomach on day 3, I've been just fine.
Last night, sometime around bath time, Liam was talking about things he didn't want. I can't remember what the first one was, but the second thing was "I (don't) want nursing either." (He usually skips the "don't" in these phrases, but you know they're negative by the "either" at the end.) I noted this internally as interesting, but didn't comment. I took a bath with him, because I was hot and sweaty from cooking, but wore my bra into the bathtub to remove any temptation.

He didn't ask to nurse this morning. At the time when I think he would have been most likely to ask - I was sitting up, cuddling him on my lap - he said, instead "I not a baby anymore. I Liam." And then we got up and went on with our day.

Sniff. Sniff.
Liam woke up just as I finished writing my insomniac LJ post. When I got up to his room to help him get back to sleep, he immediately asked to nurse. I told him no, and he protested a little bit, then I told him sorry, but the milk was all gone. He asked for milk in his sippy cup, but I told him he couldn't have milk in the middle of the night and he settled for water instead. He did, however, want to "put my hand dere?" This is something we started back when we were nightweaning him. He couldn't nurse, but he found it comforting to be able to put his hand between or on my breasts. Unsurprisingly, this practice has picked back up full force with this latest weaning. It's a little annoying, as he's more twiddly than he was last time, but I figure we'll work on one thing at a time, and if this makes the transition easier, then that's a good thing.

When we woke up for good around 7:30 this morning, though, he didn't ask at all, so that's progress.

While he's certainly having some problems with the transition, I think he's also feeling proud of his new big boy status. On Monday or Tuesday evening, we were playing out at the play structure when baby Daniel came by with his parents. I pointed baby Daniel out to Liam, and then said (mostly to my self) "although he's not much of a baby anymore." Liam yelled across the playground to Dale and Becky "I not a baby anymore! I not a baby anymore! I had weaning day!" We've been encouraging people to give him high fives and other encouragements about his new status.
He not only asked again this morning, but was MUCH more insistent. I even got a heart-string-tugging "Puh-leeease!" But I stayed strong. I think he'll ask again for sure tomorrow, but I hope that he'll be done after that. We'll see.

Edited to add: I just remembered that this morning I actually decided to play the "milk's all gone" card, since he was being so hard to distract otherwise. I didn't like lying (because the milk isn't actually all gone yet), but felt like it was time to impress upon him the finality of it all.

I'm feeling like an evil mom right now, taking it away before he's ready. :-(
Sure enough, Liam woke up this morning asking to nurse with mommy. I reminded him that yesterday was weaning day, and that he didn't nurse anymore. He was a big boy now and didn't need to. "No, I a baby!" He asked again, and I suggested we go downstairs to watch a show, and that's what we did. So no big deal, but not a non-issue either. We'll see how tomorrow goes. Put your bid for how many mornings I'll have to say no before he stops asking in the comments - maybe there will be a prize for the winner!

Edited to add: Note for guessers - I'm going away next Tuesday morning, so that sets a limit for the maximum number of sequential days, anyway, although I won't be at all suprised if he asks when I get back (Saturday night).

Weaning Day

Oct. 8th, 2006 10:25 pm
So, today was Liam's weaning day. We've been leading up to it for weeks now, and it was quite the festive day.

We started off as per usual, with him waking up and nursing. I let him nurse as long as he wanted, this last time. Then he and daddy got up while I tried (and failed) to nap. Then I got up and started getting us all packed up and ready for the zoo.

We got en route only about a half hour behind schedule. We were already on the highway when I realized that although I had packed lunches for all of us, we had forgotten to bring diapers. And wipes. We thought about going home, but we were already running late, so we just stopped at Meijer instead so I could run in and grab the missing items, along with some water and some Chex Mix for lunch.

We picked my mom and her husband up in Detroit and zoomed up I-75 to the zoo to meet [livejournal.com profile] scottij and [livejournal.com profile] sueij and progeny. It was a great day to go to the zoo - very sunny, but not too warm. So the animals were pretty active, and we didn't get overheated walking around. We did all get a little sunburned, however. We got some great close up looks at the giraffes. Eric got to fulfill his life long dream of getting to go into the "kids-only" prairie dog viewing tunnels. The coolest thing had to be seeing two polar bears playing in a pool, and then another one swimming over our heads in the polar bear tunnel. I got some great pictures of that one. It was amazingly cool, but also a little sad - the polar bear was swimming the exact same path over and over again - we think he's probably pretty bored in the zoo. But since his path involves swimming right where everyone can get really great looks at him, it's probably good for business... I'm uploading pictures now - I'll post them tomorrow.

We stopped midway through and had a picnic lunch, and headed home after about 3 hours at the zoo. Which doesn't sound like much, but when you have kids who need to nap, it's enough. The Detroit Zoo is large, both in number of exhibits and sheer physical area. Despite our two visits this summer, we've still got lots to see. This time we started off at the back of the zoo by taking the train up first, which I think is a really good idea - most of the interesting exhibits are back there, but it's a really long and tiring walk to get there - better to start when everyone is fresh!

Anyway, Liam had a really fun time, despite having a cold and a cough and feeling a little under the weather. He fell asleep promptly when we got into the car to drive home, and got a pretty good nap. I was making a dinner for Eric and I that I thought Liam wouldn't particularly like, so I made him his favorite dinner - macaroni and cheese with peas. And after dinner our neighbors Jay and Tracy and Seth came over to share weaning day cupcakes with us and sing the weaning day song. You know the one - "Happy Weaning Day to you, happy Weaning Day to you, happy Weaning Day dear Liam..."

Early today, when we were getting ready to go to the zoo, etc, Liam said "I *love* weaning day." We'll see if he thinks that tomorrow! He did ask to nurse later this afternoon, and I reminded him that we're not nursing anymore (but we never nurse during the day anyway, so he wouldn't have actually expected me to say yes - he's just testing). Tomorrow will be the big test. He seems to know what weaning day is all about - if you ask him, he'll reply quite promptly "no more nursing mommy" - but tomorrow will tell if he really gets it.

I'm not feeling too nostalgic at this point. I'm ready to be done. I'll be sad about my breastfeeding enhanced boobs going away though...
Yesterday Liam and I sat down and had a little chat. We talked about how his best friends - Alex and Seth - don't nurse anymore. And that it was time for Liam not to nurse anymore. We talked about setting a date after which we wouldn't nurse any more. We talked about how we are going to celebrate his Weaning Day by going to the zoo.

Our official weaning day is October 8 - we would have done something sooner, but this weekend was too soon, and next weekend we'll be visiting Grandma and Grandpa. Liam thinks weaning day is something like a birthday, which - given how much he likes birthdays - seems like a good thing. I'll continue to encourage something other than nursing in the morning as we build up to the big day. If we are done before then, all the better, and we'll just use October 8 as our celebration day.

With a long trip planned in October and (potentially) a bunch of travel coming up for work, I decided it would be better for everyone to just get it done. It's time. We're ready.
I keep meaning to mention this and forgetting.

I posted a while back about Liam repeatedly biting to end his nighttime nursing session. So one night I told him "You musn't bite mama. It hurts me. if you bite me tonight, we're not going to nurse at night anymore." He bit me, I unceremoniously took him off and sent him upstairs to read books with his dad.

He's never once asked for bedtime nursing since then.

I was fully prepared to have to say no a few times before it sunk in. Nursing at bedtime was a built in part of the routine - bath, diaper, pajamas, teeth, nurse, go upstairs, read books with daddy, go to sleep. While we were in "don't offer-don't refuse" mode for that nursing session I'd ask him after teethbrushing if he was ready to read books with daddy, and he'd always ask for "Nursin mommy?" first. So it's just fascinating to me that he's never asked.

We're working on the last nursing session now - first thing in the morning. I'm doing don't offer-don't refuse, and so far that seems to mean that he's remembering to ask for nursing every other morning. Starting tomorrow, when he asks I'm going to be actively encouraging alternatives (his TV show, juice, milk). I actually started today, but he woke up with a leaky diaper and by the time we got that changed he had a one track mind and there was no convincing him to make a different choice.

I have a 4-night, 5-day trip to Chicago planned in about a month. It will be easier on both of us if we are done with nursing a couple weeks in advance of that, so I'm going to pick up the pace of the process. Maybe I should get some chocolate or strawberry milk to act as a really enticing alternative.
Liam and I have been stalled on the slow progress we were making towards weaning. We're down to two a day, morning and bedtime. The last few nights, maybe a week, he's been biting my nipple at end of the nighttime nursing session. Not very hard - kind of a warning bite like cats do - feel my teeth, know I have them, that kind of thing. So after he did it last night I told him that if he did it again tomorrow (ie. today) that we'd be all done nursing at night for good. Tonight, before we started nursing, I reminded him. I asked him to tell me what I'd told him about biting. "No biting." Okay.

And of course the little bugger does about 30 seconds into the nursing session.

So we're all done with bedtime nursing. Overdue really, I'd just gotten lazy and unmotivated about progressing to the next phase. He's clearly more interested in the idea of nursing than the actual act of nursing, at least at bedtime. He's better in the morning. Speaking of which, very funny story from this morning - he crawls into bed with me and says "I nursin Mommy?" Sure, I say. "Ahh, my favorite food," he says. LOL Wherever in the world did he get that one from!?

Interesting

Aug. 2nd, 2006 07:44 am
Liam didn't ask to nurse at bedtime last night. He didn't nurse the night before either, although IIRC he asked and I suggested we nurse in the morning instead. So we just went upstairs to read books. But this morning he didn't ask to nurse either, and that's probably a first. Usually "I nursin mommy" is the first thing out of his mouth when he wakes up. And then he saw me topless while I was getting ready to take a shower, and he didn't say anything then either! Wow. Of course, we've had short cycles like this before, so we'll see what the next few days bring. It would be really nice if he just sort of gave it up on his own without me having to say "no" a lot - I'd feel more like he was really done and I wasn't cutting him off prematurely.
I think I'll nurse Liam until he's 6.

My stepmom was pulling her usual crap tonight when I went to pick Liam up, and giving me a hard time about him still nursing. She's not his favorite person, and she thinks it's because she's been the bad guy who takes him away from nursing. But that's not the issue - the issue is that she's the bad guy who's authoritarian and needlessly controlling. I think she'd like to be able to blame it all on nursing, so me pointing out that it's not the issue just escalated the argument we were having. Grrr.

Liam had a very nice stay with the grandparents, and had an utter blast in the pool. He slept really well for them, sleeping in both mornings that they had him. My stepmother, of course, is insisting this is because he wants his own space/room. Which might very well help him sleep longer - Eric and I have been talking about how we want to manage that transition. But it's equally likely that it was caused by other factors like a) a darker sleeping environment, b) only napping for an hour each day or c) being in the pool three times a day!

But in the actual nursing and weaning news, I ended up pumping tonight. Liam asked to nurse a little while after I arrived to pick him up, but I told him he needed to wait until bedtime. Then at bedtime, he was busy doing other things, and when Eric asked him if he wanted to go upstairs to read books with daddy, he didn't insist on nursing mommy first. He said the words "nursing mommy" when he was putting his animals to bed, but that didn't seem to translate to wanting it from me, so I didn't offer, and off we all went to read books. But I was definitely feeling a little bit of pressure (it was interesting how I could notice my milk production kicking up just being near Liam and snuggling him in my lap) so I pulled out the pump to take off the edge.

I don't know what I should do when he asks to nurse in the morning. I think I'll nurse him, because I don't want to just all of a sudden be done nursing - I'd like to savor that last snuggly time or two. But I'm thinking it's time to cut out the nighttime/bedtime nursing session as the next step.
Liam is sleeping much better since we had daycare cut back on his nap. We're still not getting quite as much morning sleep as we might like, but he's gone from waking up around 4:45-5 am to 5:45-6:15 am. Sometimes even later. And bedtime has gotten much, much easier - he's going to sleep like a dream now. We'll continue to see how thing are settling out, and perhaps ask daycare to cut back even farther, down to 1.5 hours.

I'm still kind of conflicted about weaning, but we are continuing on with our program of cutting back. I figure I can stop anywhere short of actually weaning if I decide one of us isn't ready... It has been easier than I expected. This weekend we cut out the naptime nursing, and though he asked a couple of times, he didn't get upset when I said no. The first day he was satisfied with an extra book, and the second day he didn't even need that. This is the kid who at daycare walks into the nap room, lies down on his nap pad and is out like a light, so clearly he's capable of going to sleep without nursing, he just needed to translate that skill to home.

Morning will probably be next to go, and perhaps starting earlier than I had expected - this morning he woke up earlier than our accepted nursing time (6 am) and I told him he needed to lie back down and try to sleep, and we'd nurse in a little while. But he was very awake and clearly ready to get up, and when he gave up asking to nurse and just asked for a cup of milk instead, I decided to go with the flow and get up and do that instead. When we were heading down the stairs he said "I nursin mommy?" and I paused and reminded him that he had decided we should go downstairs and get milk instead of nursing. He nodded quite happily, and hasn't asked again since we've been downstairs.

The hardest part has been that he still asks fairly regularly at "off" times. He's never raised the slightest fuss when I remind him that we won't nurse again until bedtime, and is happy with a snuggle instead. So it seems like a good time to be doing this, but I still worry a little that I'm cutting him off prematurely and not meeting whatever need nursing fulfills for him. We'll continue on our slow and steady course and see what happens.
So surprisingly, dropping the extra nursing sessions has gone much easier than I expected. He asks, but I tell him "no, we'll nurse again at bedtime, let's do this other thing instead" and he rarely even asks again, let alone raises a fuss. Which leads me to think that he may very well be ready for weaning. The question is, am I?

As much as I would be happy to not have to deal with a jabby sharp nailed finger in my belly button every morning, when faced with the prospect of actual real weaning I get a little melancholy even for that. Breastfeeding is a really special relationship. I'm unlikely to have any more children, so when we're done, that's it. I'll miss that special closeness with him, although I know we can make it up in other ways. Then there's the "lazy mom" factor. Right now if I'm trying to finish typing an email or LJ post, it's easy to distract Liam for a minute with nursing. If I'm just too tired to play, it's an easy way to satisfy his desire for attention. And there's nothing better for helping him calm down from a painful boo-boo. Parenting without nursing will be harder.

On the plus side, it would sure be nice not to have to lug my breastpump around the country when I travel. And he's started biting again, which I am so done with.

I decided that last weekend we would still nurse for naps, but I let him know that starting this upcoming weekend, we wouldn't be nursing at naptime anymore. So that's the next step, unless we decide to speed up the program. Eric thinks that dropping the bedtime nursing session wouldn't be a big deal at all - there are many nights that he skips that now, if I'm out at a meeting or with friends or something. He thinks morning will be hardest. And while it's true that the first words out of Liam's mouth every morning are "I nursin mommy?," I think so long as I was willing to spring up out of bed and take him downstairs to watch one of his shows, that he'd be okay with that disappearing too. Although, gak, the thought of springing up out of bed at 5 or 6 am is a rough one.

Thoughts from the peanut gallery?
I haven't slept well in the last two weeks. Not because Liam is waking me up at night - he mostly sleeps through now, and we stopped nursing at night months ago - just because I'm not a good sleeper. Never have been really. But two weeks of restless nights is getting to be a bit much, and I think I need to starting thinking about going back on Trazodone[1]. Which is not really compatible with breastfeeding - in extreme circumstances it's considered acceptable (as are most SSRI's) but I'd prefer to not mess with Liam's brain chemistry.

And while there are times that nursing is a wonderful close warm bonding experience for both of us, much of the time it's become a battle against wandering hands, pinching fingers, kicking feet, and a little boy who pretends he's Cookie Monster while nursing, gets distracted, and pops off and on.

So yeah, time to think about weaning. We've got two times a day that we almost always nurse - first thing in the morning and as part of Liam's bedtime routine. We occasionally nurse other times too. Seems like a good first step would be to cut back to just those two times, in their specified places (bed in the morning, the chair in the evening) and cut out the extras. This will be relatively easy during the week, when our time together is limited, but will be more challenging on weekends. Especially since right now naptime on weekends is the only time that Liam still nurses to sleep. But if we can do that for a couple of weeks, then we can think about cutting out one or both of the others. I think going cold turkey would just cause us a lot of unnecessary pain, so we'll try a slower approach to start.

I always said that we'd stop nursing when either one of us thought it was time to be done. I'm all in favor of child-led weaning, but only if Mom's okay with that too - nursing is a partnership, after all.


[1] Trazodone is an anti-depressent, frequently prescribed for insomnia at doses that are sub-therapeutic for depression. Unlike something like Ambien, it's non-habit forming so can be taken every day - important for me, as when I tried Ambien I found myself wanting/needing to take it much more often than suggested. At a 50 mg dose it makes it easier for me to both fall asleep and fall back asleep. I still wake up after 5 hours, but I can go back to sleep after that. At the 100 mg dose it gives me panic attacks and incredibly bizarre and vivid dreams, so more is NOT better. I tried a bunch of natural alternatives before finally going over to the medical side of things, and I was very pleased with the results. I stopped taking it almost three years ago when I found myself pregnant.
Liam is just loving playing with his toy kitchen these days:
Pictures behind the cut )
In other news, I start to be able to believe that one day the kid will actually voluntarily wean. (I was doubting it for a while there, and thinking about local colleges.) He's still nursing a bunch, don't get me wrong, but usually for shorter durations, and not quite as often as he sometimes does. At the same time, his verbal skills are developing in leaps and bounds. Makes sense, in a way - he's too busy using his mouth for talking to want to keep it occupied with nursing.
And while I've got you here, one more picture of our little imp )
Edited to add: Oh, forgot to tell the potty story! He was trying to pull a too-small shirt on as pants. So, in an effort to encourage the dressing himself thing, we pulled his pants down around his ankles so he could pull them back up himself. Except he took this as a signal that it was potty time, and shuffled off to the bathroom and sat himself down on the potty! I followed him in and took off his diaper. He sat on the potty for a long time (we read his Blue's Clues book twice), but nothing came out. When I went to change him I noticed that he's got a little diaper rash, so I'm betting he was appreciating the air time, if nothing else. He's been very interested in the potty at daycare lately - two of the girls are in underwear now and use the potty all the time, and he's very intrigued by the whole idea, and even told me "Rio pee potty" one day.
So my recent posts about my stepmom and the whole weaning thing have been percolating in my mind, and I thought I'd note a couple of other bits.

Extended nursing isn't about nutrition. Sure, there are some calories, vitamins and minerals, immunological benefits. But those are just side effects. If Liam is hungry, he'll ask for a cracker or some cheese. If he's thirsty, he'll ask for some water or juice. If he wants comfort and connection and closeness, he'll ask to nurse. Put yourself inside a toddler's head for a moment, and you'll see that nursing is a comfort unilke any other comfort. It's rooted deep in biology - the drive to nurse is what's kept him alive. It's been a constant from the very beginning. It triggers hormonal releases that relax and calm. It's an entire sensory experience - smells, tastes, feeling of skin on skin - all things that drive us in our physical relationships as adults. People who have never nursed a child, or nursed one into toddlerhood, probably don't realize this, since the popular culture just thinks of breastfeeding as a different baby bottle, if they think of it at all.

When my stepmom tried to insist that I should unceremoniously cut him off, when he could and was asking for it, the idea of doing it struck me as such a violent act. Yet we have recently forced nightweaning on him, when he would certainly have preferred the status quo to remain. Why does the one bother me, but the other does not? The nursing at night was incurring great costs on all of us - sleep deprivation, and the degradation of parenting ability that accompanies it, declining immune system performance. To force the issue had its own costs, but on the balance, nightweaning was the clear winner. But nursing him the rest of the time costs me very little, if anything at all. As the last two weekends have shown, I'm not chained to him - he can and does go without nursing when I'm not around. When we're together, it's an enjoyable thing for both of us - it's one of the few times where he's even remotely still while being held, and I can smell his baby smell and stroke his baby skin. As long as we're both okay with it, what reasons would we have for stopping?
Thanks to everyone for the kind birthday wishes!

It was an okay day. I woke up too early when my increasing head, throat and chest congestion would no longer let me sleep. Also, I think my body is just used to waking up at 6:30 now, which was 5:30 today, of course. I'll be going to bed very soon to make up for it.

But I took advantage of my early rising to catch up on TV shows, and finish one of the books I'd been reading, so all was not lost.

Late morning, Eric and I headed out to Davison to spend the day with Liam and my parents at their trailer. He was still napping when we arrived, so Eric, my Dad and I went off to play mini golf. Which was a very fun birthday activity, especially since they were loudly broadcasting an 80's music countdown in the background. Eric and I tied, and since I had a hole in one and he didn't, I declared myself the winner.

As we were walking back to the campsite, my stepmom and Liam were walking out to meet us, and Liam came running up to us - very excited to see us, but not upset like he was last week. So that was nice. The only bad thing was that I almost immediately had a little kerfuffle with my stepmom when Liam asked to nurse and I let him - "It's been three days and he hasn't nursed. Obviously he doesn't need it. He's old enough to ask for it, so he doesn't need it. *You're* the one who's not ready to wean." She's right - I'm not ready to lead a weaning effort - if Liam stopped nursing, I'd be fine with it, but the strongest position I'm willing to take at this point in his development is "don't offer, don't refuse." I'm not going to impose full weaning on him, especially while he's still not entirely adjusted to the nightweaning we just imposed on him. And the whole "if he's old enough to ask for it" argument is so ridiculous! He's old enough to ask for a cracker - does that mean we shouldn't give it to him? Why is nursing the one thing where we're supposed to punish effective communication? Not to mention that he's been able to "ask for it" since he was born - his body language has always made it clear when he wanted to nurse. My sister's son had a bottle at bedtime until he was 2 1/2 - I bet no one was telling her that he shouldn't have it because he could ask for it!!! Grrr. "He's going to be four and still nursing," she said. Fine. I think we'll be done before then, but I'm not setting some arbitrary limit.

To make the whole situation even more frustrating, I still have laryngitis, so wasn't able to say any of the above to defend myself. I may send her an email with some of the salient points. Or I may just decide it's not worth the bother.

Other than that it was a nice visit. We took Liam up to the indoor heated pool to go swimming, and I got to soak in the hot tub for a while. Had a nice dinner of pork loin roasted with potatoes and carrots, with gravy and salad and corn muffins. Yum. And then it was time to come home. I shouldn't be posting, I should be sleeping, but I had to get the rant out or it was going to keep me up all night. I wanted to rant to Eric in the car, but I just can't talk that much. :-(

Profile

tammylc

April 2010

S M T W T F S
    123
45678910
11121314151617
18192021222324
25 2627282930 

Syndicate

RSS Atom

Most Popular Tags

Style Credit

Expand Cut Tags

No cut tags
Page generated Jul. 25th, 2017 12:43 pm
Powered by Dreamwidth Studios