The word “wean” means a passage from one relationship to another –
not a loss or detachment from a relationship.
As a first time mom, nine years ago, I vowed to make sure that my infants would breastfeed. As a young African American mother, I realized there was a lack of support in our communities for breastfeeding. I wanted to normalize the idea and nutritional values of breastfeeding and create support for those who had chosen that option. Not only is breastfeeding cost efficient but The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends that for ideal nutrition, your baby should be exclusively breastfed for the first six months, and that nursing should continue after the introduction of solids for at least 12 months and longer if mother and baby wish.
In reality, breastfeeding can be tiresome. Working 10 hour days with three girls clinging to you is enough to drive anyone insane– not to mention the constant need to pump and carrying the god-awful pump around. I had become “antsy” to begin the weaning process. I began to ask myself questions about why I wanted to breastfeed and started to set personal limits for myself. Was I wanting to wean solely because I felt that it would make mothering easier? I needed to make sure that I allowed Corrine the time to be a baby; me stopping breastfeeding would not make her grow up any faster or demand any less of my attention.
I set one personal limit:
Corrine would not use breastfeeding for comfort and reassurance but for nourishment. I would provide comfort and reassurance in talks, affirmations, support, affections, and attention.
Breastfeeding is not the same experience for everyone. In some births you will experience an infant that latches on perfectly and breastfeeding is a breeze and in some births you may not. In my biggest finding, women should allow their intuition to guide them in weaning their children.
So my breastfeeding mommas , remember why you started this nourishment for your babies, set personal limits so that you are happy in breastfeeding, provide comfort and reassurance to your babies, and most importantly, remember that this is YOUR journey, follow your heart.