Bidding Farewell to Breastfeeding


It feels like I have been breastfeeding my children for at least a decade. It is kind of true, though. Pratya was barely two and a half years old when Saral was born. I breastfed Saral even until after Sasha was born and tandem breastfed the first couple of months even though my husband strongly encouraged me to completely wean Saral. Poor guy still sucks his finger, a remnant of having stopped breastfeeding cold-turkey. I don’t know for sure, I am just guessing there may have been a connection.

Whenever she woke up in between, just like new moms caring for their little ones I woke up to nurse her back to sleep. No eye rolls, please! I was that mom.

 

I am on the other side of breastfeeding now. Sasha nursed for four and a half years. She will begin kindergarten in the fall. I thought I would wean her when she turned 4, but, I just couldn’t. I think it was more for me than her. I loved having my little daughter close to me. I liked how she looked for me whenever she needed a drink or comfort (when we were at home). I was happy to be sought by her in order to fulfill those important needs.

Soon after I took Sasha to the dentist, however, I knew things would need to change…soon. We try to limit sweets and other processed flour as much as we can, at least in the house. Her two brothers have had no issues with dental health. When we took Sasha to the dentist this time, though, he mentioned that a couple of her front teeth were rotting. But he was not so alarmed as to say that treatment was imminent. He said that all we need to do now was to prevent them from getting worse until they fall out on their own.

I still didn’t feel ready to wean her, though. You can tell I have been and am a major advocate for breastfeeding. Family and friends had encouraged me to stop. They said I had provided all the good I needed for Sasha to get nourished and it was time to stop. But none of that ever influenced me to stop it.

A week ago, though, I had this sense of exhaustion sweep over me. For the past four and a half years, I nursed her till she fell asleep. Whenever she woke up in between, just like new moms caring for their little ones I woke up to nurse her back to sleep. No eye rolls, please! I was that mom.

Now you may be beginning to wonder how I did stop. I don’t know. I don’t have any good advice either. There was one night that I just felt like I had to. She wanted to nurse as usual, but, all of a sudden, I had the strength to say NO. I just told her I wanted to save her teeth (although, it may or may not be the direct link to her deteriorating teeth). But that is what I said, as silly as it may seem. I told her how awful I would feel if I were not able to prevent her teeth from rotting further and explained how painful it would be if she had to get those teeth extracted!

Furthermore, I didn’t stop hugging her. I rocked her and sang to her while holding her. I told her how much I still loved her and that our bond would never wane. She kept wanting to nurse and I gently stopped her. After 4-5 nights of doing that, she has transitioned to sleeping through the night on her own. And, I am finally able to let it go.

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