Saturday, July 4, 2009

weaning party

(my big boy who grew strong on mama's milk)

(we've come a long way from day 1)

My son is 3.5 years old, and for several months I have been thinking that it is time for him to wean. I think he is ready. I think I am ready (pretty sure of that). He and I have been discussing how soon he will be so big that he will not need to nurse any more and he can just cuddle instead. I have been more insistent that he only nurse twice on weekdays when I work and three times on the weekends. He seemed to accept the idea of eventually not "needing a boob" any more, but he was in no hurry to get there. There are some days that I think he would not have nursed if I hadn't been nursing his little sister. When she nurses it reminds him and then he wants to nurse.

A few weeks ago I was discussing weaning ideas with a friend and she suggested a "weaning party" - a party to celebrate the end of nursing. A few days ago I mentioned this to my son, and he jumped at the idea. "A party? With cake and ice cream" (even thought he only ate ~2 bites of cake and ice cream at his 3rd birthday party) "Now?!" I explained to him that if he has a weaning party he will not get to nurse any more and he can just cuddle with mommy. "No more boobs. Ever." And apparently he's OK with the idea. Last night before bed when he was about to nurse he told me "I'm going to have a weaning party and then me don't need a boob any more, me just cuddle with mommy." I have no idea how he's going to feel about that afterward, but we're going forward with the idea.

Yesterday afternoon we went to Target and he picked out party supplies. He picked out green birthday hats, striped candles, baseball plates, blue and yellow streamers, and birthday balloons. Since he can't read we figure it doesn't matter that some of the items say "Happy Birthday". He carried the hats and candles all through the store and to the van. This morning he woke me up to tell me that he needed his hats and candles Right Now! We have not let him open the packages on any of the party supplies, but he is obsessed with those hats and candles.

Today at the farmers market he announced to a friend (who sadly is moving far far away in a few days) that he was having a weaning party soon. When we took a bucket of green beans and a bag of basil to a friend (and my doula) he proudly told her that he was having a weaning party tomorrow. Maybe it's better to do this weaning party Before our son starts preschool so that he doesn't announce too much. Not that I'm embarrassed that we are still nursing, not at all, but some things are easier left unexplained. After the farmers market we went to the grocery store and he picked out an organic chocolate cake mix and coconut milk ice cream.

So, tomorrow is it. The big day. Unless he backs down. I'm willing to wait a few more weeks. Originally we had planned to have it next weekend, but he's so excited that we're planning on having the party tomorrow my parents house. I will let him nurse tomorrow morning. Hopefully we will be able to set aside a little time to have a nice last nursing session. And then that's it. It's over. 3.5 years of nursing him every day. Multiple times a day. Through pregnancy. Tandem nursing. Toddler nursing. Nursing a kid. I haven't really thought about how I will feel. I don't know how it will affect me. Right now it seems like a logical progression, but I'm sure it will be more emotional for me than I expect. We have been through a lot together - initial learning and latching, thrush/yeast, pediatricians telling us to stop nursing (what on earth!!!), dairy allergy (so I was dairy free for 3 years), late eating, two years of pumping at work for him, pregnancy and no milk, sharing the boobs with his sister, and now... weaning.

Part of me feels guilty. Part of me feels like I should continue since I am still lactating for his sister anyway. Part of me feels like it's bad to wean him at a time of so many changes in his life (potty learning, starting preschool soon). Part of me feels like I should continue since preschool will expose him to so many new germs and he could use the immune boost. Part of me feels like I should continue so he gets the calcium and good fats since he refuses to drink any other type of milk. But, another part of me says it's time and that he will be ok, he's ready, he takes calcium supplements, and it's really OK mama, get over it already. We'll hope that part is strong tomorrow.

And here are a few more pictures from his first year of nursing. (to complement the nursing toddler pictures here...)
(1st birthday)


  1. Many of the moms in our local AP chapter hold weaning parties for their little ones, especially for 3 yr. olds and up. At 2 1/2, I sometimes am surprised that I am still nursing my daughter, through my pregnancy too, and planning to do tandem nursing with her and our coming babe.

    Reading your post, I feel both excited for you and your little guy, since you are coming up on a huge mileston, but at the same time, I feel a motherly sadness too . . . when I nurse my daughter, I feel as though I am holding her just as I did the first time she nursed, on her birth day. Letting go of that time together isn't going to be easy (for either of us).

    Please let us know how your weaning party goes and how your guy responds in the coming weeks. When the time comes for us to wean, I know I'll look to stories like this one to inspire.

  2. The photos are beautiful!

    (You look so young) You are a good mom to nurse, tandem nurse, work,