For weeks, I’ve been mulling over the idea of weaning Super already. Both my first and second children were weaned a few days after their first birthdays, and I was thinking of doing the same with Super. My reason being, I’m already back to my prepregnancy body, and I want to maintain it at that. I think that breast-feeding plus lack of sleep equal skinny mom. That’s what happened with my firstborn Uno. I lost weight so fast and got so skinny even after a few months of breast-feeding. That’s why with my second child, also since I was working, I mixed breast milk and soya-based milk when she turned nine months old; with Super, however, I’m exclusively breast-feeding him until now. Since he is already eating solids, I only feed him three to four times in a day. Last feeding will be around ten or eleven in the evening. When he turned eight months old, he has been sleeping through the night, so I thought, Ahh, finally, I’m going to have longer hours of sleep. But just when I thought that, he would change his sleeping pattern again and will wake up to feed. This is true when he’s not feeling that well, like when he has colds or is teething, he wants to feed in the middle of the night. Recently, he has developed this skill of lifting my shirt and look for my breast. And if I don’t want to give in, he would cry and won’t go back to sleep. He would throw his teether and would strongly show his preference to the real teats by crying or throwing a tantrum—at three in the morning! So what do you think I will do just to go back to sleep? I conveniently offer my breast. Right.
Speaking of teething, the second reason I’d like to wean him is that he’s chewing on my nipples, which has become painful, sometimes scary, to feed him already. After feeding him, I would experience a needlelike sensation around my breast; and in order to relieve the discomfort, I have to put a cold compress. There were times when his two front teeth would leave a mark because of the pressure. My own mother advised me to wean him when I told her of my concern, but I haven’t come to that decision yet. Since I find pumping inconvenient (I work from home, so I prefer feeding him directly), I just endured a few days of this discomfort. Good thing he stopped munching on my breast and returned to normal pressure.
But since my husband and I are traveling abroad first week of December for our anniversary and will be away for five days, I thought it is just timely to wean him this month. And yet, with amid all these discomforts, a part of me doesn’t want to stop breast-feeding, at least not now. I remember telling my husband a few weeks after I gave birth that I want to mix feed because of the challenges I faced from sore nipples to lack of sleep. But now that I am almost at the end of my breast-feeding phase, it’s as if I don’t want it to end.
I was thinking since we’re planning to stop baby production (so technically, he will be the last baby), I want to extend breast-feeding with Super to as long as possible, meaning as long as I have milk. At the same time, I have read and heard stories of mommies who breast-fed their babies up to three years old and beyond. At first, I wouldn’t feel comfortable thinking of a toddler or preschooler still suckling from a mommy’s breast. It looks a bit funny, and it’s not any more for nutrition purposes as opposed to emotional attachment of the child to the mother or vice versa. For many mommies, they said it’s a bond that nobody can break, even when their kids would grow up to become teenagers. One of my friends who actually breast-fed her daughter up to five years old says that both she and her daughter are so close to each other because of the bond they have created earlier on. So I got encouraged to pursue this not-so-easy path.
Thinking I will be away for three full days, I need to pump as least thirty-six ounces (that’s an average of four ounce per feeding, three feedings per day). I’ve already started doing this since last week and have put my pumped milk in the freezer.
Based on my research, when babies take in solids and water already, their milk intake lessen. Also, they are adaptable and will find a way to get what they need. So while I’m away, I’ll let his nanny feed him more solids and water while I will pump when I need to to keep my body producing milk. When I get home, I will have to feed him as often as I can again and hope that I my milk won’t run dry . . . yet. When I ask myself why I’m doing this? My answer is, why not? I love the feeling of being needed, the feeling of his hand embracing me while he’s feeding, the feeling of his hand touching my face, the feeling when I see his satisfied smile after feeding him, the feeling of fulfilling my role as a mother with this simple act of nurturing him. It’s really more than just an emotional bond we share. It’s knowing that I’m giving him something only I his mother can give. And because of this, it has become a win-win (or should I say, wean-wean) situation that even with the discomfort along the way, I know it’s worth it in the long run.