“He broke my nipple, and now he’s done,” she said. And that’s pretty much how the weaning process went around here. Bub was to go Cold Nipple.
Oh, if only it were really that simple. It would make this parenting stuff a lot easier.
We quickly found out that weaning, like so many things these days, is not completely up to us. Well, it is and it isn’t, as the doctor says. Like sleep training, you have to draw your lines in the proverbial sand with your little weaner. But he pretty much let us know that he was ready. Like Muenster cheese and even sweet potato, breast milk had become passe. Sooooo last year, guys.
It was a weird thing, especially for my wife. One day, he just sort of refused the bountiful flow of her bosom. It was like the sun turning down the dawn. ‘Yeah, sorry Day, I’ve got better things to do.’
She first thought there was something wrong with him, then of course thought there was something wrong with her. It was neither; he was simply growing up. Getting over it. Ready to move on.
Mixed emotions from the parental camp. Mom loved breastfeeding him, especially now that it was down to twice a day. It was a special connection, a bond between the two of them. And there is something magical about actually nourishing another living being with your own faculties. Not that I would truly know; all I could do was watch. Mammary envy.
However, it wasn’t all smiles and fluff, as evidenced by the quote above. It could also be persistently exhausting. I remember the Every Three Hour days, my wife’s unbending resolve. Hauling the pump to work, locking her office, toting the bottles to and fro, dumping if she had coffee or the occasional glass of wine.
My wife talked for months on end about just wanting her body back. That talk dissipated over the last couple months, as the feedings decreased. She is still producing milk, but it is waning. She fits in her old bras again. The word “engorged” hasn’t been in a conversation in quite some time. I might bring it back, for old time’s sake. It’s fun to say. Engorged.
What a long, strange drip it’s been.
I remember just after he was born, waiting for the milk to come down, gathering up a whopping 2 ccs of liquid gold to gingerly deliver to the nursery. The relief when it started flowing, bringing bigger and fuller bottles proudly to the NICU, sloshing it around, dripping without fretting. From the first time he finally latched to the bags and bags of the stuff filling our freezer. We had so much of the stuff we actually donated at one point.
Once he went down to twice a day, it wasn’t much of a stretch to cut out the night feedings, and then that, too, quickly fell by the wayside. He didn’t put up too much of a fight. But the transition to cow’s milk? Spotty at best, pardon the pun. First several times he simply refused, threw the bottle around, spat on it, gave me the bird. We worried about calorie intake and calcium and protein, etc.
But just yesterday, after several days, his little resistance plan was scuttled. He drank three bottles. And just like that, an era ended, a boy grew, and parents sighed. Mostly relief, part nostalgia, a tinge of sadness. Weaners and losers in all of us.