I mentioned in a previous post that I was in the process of weaning my toddler. I am happy to report that we have had success! The weaning process took a bit longer than I anticipated, however our second goal date was achieved!
It’s All About Distraction
This has been a gentle process, and I am so happy that the toddler mind is maleable. With our son, changing his routine and keeping him busy has been the key. Daddy has taken over many roles, this worked out well with our timing and the Christmas holiday. Now that daddy is back to work, I am working to keep him distracted.
Our morning routine is pretty strict. Ezra naps between 10:30 and 11 each day, so I schedule our morning chores in that early morning window. We are home by naptime and he is so sleepy, he just tells me bye and falls right to sleep in his crib without nursing.
Bedtime has even been an easy transition, although the last to go. It has been a similar process. Dinner, bath, and then we move away from our typical nursing spot (my bed) and on to the sofa. We pick several books and have storytime before bed. I will read one and daddy reads another. Then we say our goodnights to one another and to random objects in the house. He goes to his bed, rolls over and falls asleep without a fuss.
Read to Me, Mama
I have placed piles of books in our typical nursing spots. Ezra loves board books with silly rhymes or recognizable pictures. For several days, each time I would sit down, he would collapse in my lap and sign milk.
Instead of obliging, I would pick up one of his favorite books and start reading. After a few sentences he would quickly forget about the milk and become absorbed in the book. After 3 days of this, asking for milk is no more. Now he brings the book to me and will cuddle on my lap for reading time.
Nurturing our Emotions
The nursing relationship is a special one. It is bittersweet to move on from this phase of parenting, and both Ezra and I still need to have moments of bonding that would resemble our nursing moments.
I wake up ready to nurse him in the mornings, even though I know it is over. Ezra is not cuddly for long stretches of time, however I savor those moments when he nestles his head into my shoulder for some extra mama reassurance.
It has taken diligence and discipline on my part. Breaking my habit of giving in each time he asked or whined for milk and being firm has helped define the boundary. Toddlers need boundaries and guidance to what is allowed and what is not. Once the boundary was defined, the whining stopped.
My deepest fear was losing the connection that Ezra and I shared. Breastfeeding is more than just nutrition. It is a hormonal bond, the release of oxytocin– the “love” hormone. I did have to grieve for a brief moment.
Parenting is a series of phases, and accepting that this phase needed to be over for my comfort and sanity before the birth of our next baby was crucial. After accepting it, and allowing my little bird to grow his wings so he can move on to his next phase has been quite a journey. For Ezra, he is using this time to develop his language skills and show us what he has been trying to say!