Passionate About Providence
and the Moms Who Live Here

She Who Must Not Be Weaned: When Your Mothering Plans Change

This isn’t your average breastfeeding complaint, and in some circles I understand that what I am about to say is basically sacrilegious. Regardless, here is the truth:

I’m all set with breastfeeding.

All. Set.

I have been trying to wean my 16 month old for the past three months or so, and I am going a bit crazy. It’s a battle of wills here, and she has made it crystal clear that she will not be weaned. 

The list of reasons why I want to end our breastfeeding journey grow longer and longer by the day:

  1. She is over a year old. I know that’s not a hard and fast rule, but one year of breastfeeding is always my personal goal. Everything after a year, for me, is a bonus.
  2. I am ready. My hormones are crazy, I’m still hungry all the time, and I am sick TO DEATH of wearing nursing friendly clothing. They don’t fit right. Ever. Not flattering, ever. On sale, never.
  3. I just did a quick calculation. Out of the last 7.5 years, I have been nursing for 5.5. That’s a lot! Half of my 4 children were able to wean themselves and one I had to stop cold turkey after a year for medical reasons. 
  4. I’m always exhausted because she-who-must-not-be-weaned does not sleep. She does not sleep because she nurses at night.
  5. Medication. I am managing my anxiety in part with medication. I would love to see if a different medication would work better for me, and not nursing would open up a lot of doors.
  6. Did I mention that I’m ready?

     Yep, I sure am ready. But unfortunately, guess what? My 16 month old ball of sweetness is not ready to wean. AT ALL. She flashes her “nursing sign” at least 12 times during the day. I try to distract her, feed her solids beforehand; all the weaning tips to no avail. Food pouches are pushed angrily to the floor, tears flow freely, Mama is yelled at and aggressively signed at (which I admit, is pretty darn funny and adorable). Homegirl is NOT having it.

     So, I’m waving my white flag. You may think it’s the cowardly way out, but I did the cold turkey thing once (against our will) with my second child and it was awful. I don’t think I can live through that again and keep what sanity I have left. 

     Listen, the reason I am sharing this is because sometimes motherhood doesn’t go according to your plan. Sometimes you intend on letting your child self-wean, only to realize in the middle of your journey that your desires have shifted. Please hear me when I say: that’s okay. It’s completely acceptable for your mothering style not to fit neatly inside of a beautifully labeled box. 

     Do you know what else is okay? Not knowing. I have no idea how this is all going to pan out. I have no advice to dole out to another mother walking in similar shoes. Just know, we are walking together. I’m with you.

Here’s to us:  The tired, the weak, the inconsistent, confused, sometimes frustrated Mamas. We’re human! Our plans won’t always be perfectly executed or fit under a label, and that’s okay. Let’s do what we can, and keep moving forward.


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