Friday, 27 April 2012

Is it Time?

Breastfeeding, for whatever reason, always seems like such a hot topic. I find it kind of stupid that we pay so much attention to this one act: whether or not a woman does it, and for how long, and where, and what she wears (or doesn't wear) while doing it, and who she may offend by doing/not doing it. The list goes on... There are so many issues in our not-so-evolved Western culture around parenting that exist because many of us have the luxury of not having to work and can discuss our breastfeeding woes or preferences.
Alas, here I am at home on a Friday afternoon because I have the privilege and luxury to work flexible hours so I can be with my kid. I mean that earnestly. And here I am on this Friday afternoon wanting to share a story about breastfeeding.
Cedar is now a year-and-a-half old. He has a full set of teeth, and we are still going strong with breastfeeding. He doesn't take nursing lightly; this kid is very serious about his boob. I have always loved sharing in this wonderful act with him. Lately though, I am feeling really annoyed by it. He is getting his back molars and because of all the discomfort, he has been especially needy and forceful with nursing. It can be very frustrating. This leads me to the question of whether it is time to begin the weaning process.
If there is one parenting philosophy that works for me, it is this: if you can't stand it, do something to change it. For example, I can't stand the biting and pulling and obsessing over my boobs. Makes me bonkers. When I am bonkers we all suffer - just ask my husband.
Although bonkers, I feel very emotional about the idea of weaning him. Just before his nap today I tried not giving him the breast and he cried and cried, then I started to cry too. This breastfeeding thing - this is ours. This is the most basic, beautiful, natural thing, other than love, that I feel I can offer my child at this point. When he is upset, the breast calms him. It is a simple communication, and no one else in the world can give this to him in this way. This boy grew inside my body, and it was my body that fed him, and my body continues to feed him through breastfeeding. So simple.
I feel emotional because I doubt that anything will ever be this simple again. I think about this huge, mad world that he is growing in, and I think about wanting to give him every tool there is to manage well within it. As he grows and changes, these tools will also have to change.
I imagine that every mother experiences this moment when she realizes that her baby is going to grow up and move on in the world. I have never experienced the movement of time at such a fast rate; it is mind-blowing.  While he is still on my breast, he remains a little person in so many ways. I do not want to force him, or myself, but I do want to change the stream of things right now so it is more comfortable for me, and in turn, for him.


Jess said...

'Emotional', 'obsession', 'bonkers', 'perfect'. All pithy, sublimely accurate words to describe nursing for both momma and babe! Thanks for sharing your feelings. A sweet warning, though, from one who's still nursing a 3.5 year old... they seem to love it more and more each year! ;) Imagine trying to wean someone who can engage in rhetorical debates, ranging from "Mommy, do you know why I love milk so much? Because...I just love it!" to "Mommy, I wish you had three breasts!" to "But I HAVE to have milk, Mommy, I'm crying, and you always give me milk when I cry!" Have fun - it's a beautiful journey!

Baker Babe said...

I wish you had three breasts?! Oh dear. I don't think I could actually win an argument with Cedar. Or at least - I think it would be a close race. Must be kind of cool with a 3.5 year-old...

Peter Marmorek said...

Well, I sure don't have experience to share, but just yesterday I ran a piece in Tikkunista about the controversies that swirl around breast-feeding, which might be of interest. You get to know that whatever you do, people will disagree.