I hate breastfeeding! So why can’t I stop?!
For a girl who never wanted kids, you’d think weaning would be a welcome milestone. Ooooooohhhhhhh-oh-oh-oh no… this weaning thing has been the biggest mindf*ck of my entire life. Far bigger than actually becoming a mom, if you can believe it.
The thing is, I hate nursing. It’s physically painful, making time for it is annoying, I don’t feel like my body is mine… you’ve heard it all before, right?? From the get-go, it’s been the biologist in me (much more than the mom in me) that’s been committed to breastfeeding, because I know it’s best for Jack and I’m lucky enough to be producing plenty.
The mom in me hasn’t been shy in admitting that nursing is a chore that I can’t wait to be over (despite what the photos depict, which I just had to figure out how to squeeze into this post because I love them so much).
This article may contain compensated links. Read my disclaimer for more info.
But suddenly, in the blink of an eye, we’re 18 months in and breast-feeding is happening less and less… And I find myself freaked the F out that it’s coming to an end!
But I HATE it. I’m ready to stop. I’ve been ready!
So then, why does my chest hurt when I think about it? Why is my heart breaking in a million pieces? Why am I crying All. The. Time???
Why do I feel this urgent — scratch that, this desperate — need to pull Jack close to me and nurse one more time? And then one more… and then just one more…
(Don’t wanna read to the end? Check out the Loving Comfort book below – it’s the toddler storybook that helped me wean without losing my damn mind!)
So that was me, staring down the barrel of weaning. Desperate and in total despair.
Once nursing ended, there would literally never be another stage of my life that I’d share such an intimate mother-child moment with my son (duh, Captain Obvious). It took a while to figure out, but that’s what was what was breaking my heart. Like, literally crushing me.
So, how did I work through it? Surprisingly, I wasn’t quite getting the support I needed from the women in my life, who were just telling me it was time to move on, and offering other equally unhelpful pieces of “advice” that didn’t address my heartbreak in the least.
So, working through it initially consisted of me feeling isolated, then several weeks of denial, followed by several more weeks of me sobbing in my husband’s arms. Every. Single. Night. I couldn’t think about it for a second without bursting into tears. Super odd for a person who’s never been a crier. Even more super odd for a partner who’s hardly ever seen me cry!
But, somehow, Steev offered more support than I would’ve ever imagined possible from someone with no first-hand knowledge of the nursing bond between mother and child.
Gotta give him a shout-out for that (thanks a million, babe!). He wasn’t impatient, he didn’t try to talk me out of my feelings… he instead validated them. He told me, night after night, that my pain was understandable. He told me how proud he was of me, how proud he was of our son, and how grateful he was to me for nursing him all those months. Over and over, his words were full of pride, affection and appreciation. It was awesome to hear…
But, somehow, didn’t help in the least! After weeks, I still couldn’t think about weaning for a second without bursting into tears. (What I’m basically saying is that I didn’t work through it very well at all!)
A friend of mine told me that she didn’t have a huge problem weaning because her kid was so affectionate and snuggly, they were still going to have close, intimate moments regardless. She suggested I focus on that.
Problem is, my kid sucked at snuggling – and still does! He doesn’t want to hug, he doesn’t want to lay with me, doesn’t like to be held… unless he’s fallen or otherwise hurt himself. So, for me, the thought of losing the precious mother-child moments that came with nursing reeeeeeeally messed with my head.
Mindf*cked. There really is no other word for it.
So, she suggested an alternative: that I talk to Jack about weaning. How it was going to happen, what it meant for us, and how we’d get through it together.
Huh? Talk to my baby about it? How was that gonna help?? And where should I even start???
The Loving Comfort Book
She suggested we read a weaning storybook together, one that’s specifically geared to children. Enter the most kick-ass book: the Loving Comfort book. It’s a story about a mom and her son, Jack (coincidence?? I think not!), and how they worked through the weaning process together.
Well, my friend’s a genius, ‘cause lemme tell ya… reading this toddler weaning book with Jack DID help. Tremendously.
I mean, think about it… as adults, when we’re going through a rough transition with a loved one, we talk it out with each other. So, it did kinda make sense to talk about weaning with the person I was gonna be going through it with. Sure, he was a baby and maybe didn’t really get what I was saying sometimes. But still… talking to him, and reading the book together, made all the difference as we faced this big life change.
I’ll admit, the first time we read the Loving Comfort book together, I got exactly one page in before I started to cry. That went on for a while, but as time went on, I got farther and farther into the book before I started reading through tears. And eventually, I stopped crying altogether.
Honestly, it definitely helped me more than him. Which was fine, because I was clearly
the nut case in this situation the one having a harder time with it. He’d become so busy with his toys and his newfound toddler independence, that he had plenty more distractions to help him through the transition than me.
I’d only ever thought about weaning books as how-tos for moms, with timelines and weaning schedules, etc. I hadn’t considered there were books out there to help with the emotional aspect of it, and I certainly hadn’t considered there were even more that you could read to baby, to help you both through the process.
If you’re having a hard time, too, I totally recommend taking my friend’s advice… talk with your baby about it. And, obvi, get the Loving Comfort book to help! It could make all the difference…