Monday, July 20, 2009

the end of an era

I never thought that Finn would go to kindergarten without being weaned, but I was beginning to wonder just a bit. He has been very attached to nursing from the very beginning, and if there was ever a baby who decided on his own that attachment parenting was a need rather than a parenting choice, it was Finn.

Oh, we had a few struggles in the beginning, like severe dairy and mild soy allergies that affected him through my milk, and Hand-Foot-Mouth Disease when he was 6 months old that made sucking painful for him. But there were so many more times when I was completely grateful for our nursing relationship, like when he contracted rotavirus and could only keep down breastmilk for several days, and when we traveled to the beach, the mountains, NYC, and Ireland and had warm milk on demand constantly.

As Finn turned 2 and closed in on 2 1/2, I just assumed our nursing relationship would slowly come to an end. I didn't really plan to attend the class at The Steiner Institute 2 weeks ago, but when Paul encouraged me to go, I knew Finn might need a little bit of encouragement in the weaning department. We stopped nursing in the morning with Daddy taking Finn out to visit the birdies in the morning, then Mommy conveniently started disappearing in the evenings right around bedtime. By the time I left for MA, it had only been 4 days since Finn's last nursing session. I wasn't convinced that he wouldn't return to nursing if he was given half-a-chance, since I've been away from him twice in the past for 4 days only to resume nursing as usual on return. It took Finn 2 days after my return from MA to ask to nurse, and I simply told him that he could have water instead since we were done nursing. That, as they say, was that.

Today makes 3 weeks since the end of our nursing relationship, and I must admit that I rather enjoy just reading and singing to him at bedtime now. I thought it might be as hard for me to let go of that evening routine as it seemed to be for Finn. I think we're both finding our way to a new normal. And developing a routine with a new kind of sweetness.

::Central Park, NYC, 9 months::


  1. Weaning is so bittersweet. I remember the feeling of freedom I felt to have my body back to myself; but then I missed the sweet bond that only the babe and I could have. Sounds to me like you are both handling it really well. Your such a great mom Joy!

    lisa ;)

  2. I have been stumbling upon lots of weaning stories in the blogosphere this week. I am pondering posting my own, but I am not sure I have admitted to myself yet. Zach said he was going to wean when he turned 5, and he did. We haven't nursed in about 3 weeks either. He hasn't asked, and I have been tempted to offer, but need to remind myself to follow his lead. It is truly the definition of bittersweet.

  3. Oh...this post tugs at my heart strings. And beautiful phase of childhood is always replaced with another beautiful phase. He's a sweetie for sure. ♥

  4. lovely post and one i can so relate to. what a thoughtful mamma you are.
    my finn and i weaned about 5 months ago. there have been a few times i have really missed it. it has changed our snuggling relationship and oh, did i wish i had it on the airplane this past week/weekend!

  5. Dear Joy

    Reading your post today brought back memories when I weaned my three children. Each one was difficult for me yet the time was right for both of us. With every weaning came special moments of togethernes. That bond does continue in other forms.

    Hope you have a wonderful day Joy. Hugs to your little weaned one.

    Warm regards

  6. I totally agree with what Lisa & Boatbaby said. Weaning is bittersweet indeed. But doing it in the way you & Finn did, it's a beautiful, gradual, and natural process. That's so wonderful that you nursed your son for so long!

  7. Reading your post reminded me of so many times I was also thankful for breastfeeding during sickness and travel and most of all for togetherness as my kids grew older. Weaning is a bittersweet time for sure. Lovely to read another attachment mamas story : ) The picture of you and your babe is beautiful Joy!

  8. When my last little guy weaned (unfortunately very early) I was heart broken that it was over because I knew I would never have that experience again. Those moments of growing up are bittersweet, aren't they?

  9. Joy, that picture makes me tear up. I can only hope I have one so beautiful of myself and my babe before we are done (and if I have MY way it will be when he's in Kindergarten, as much as we've gone through!) I'm so glad it was painless-- you done good, mama!

  10. Ahh, bittersweet for sure. A time for everything . . .

  11. Oh, I'm already thinking of will be so hard. Henry is 10 months and probably my last baby and I just know it is going to be hard to stop (when it is time--hopefully a long time from now).

  12. Joy, that's so sweet. I'm so glad that you guys were able to nurse as long as you did and that you were able to wean so peacefully. That picture is the sweetest.


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