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Naturally weaning my two year old

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My daughter and I are somewhat of a pair.  We tend to be overly dramatic with (everything) we do.  So we have two weaning stories.  A horrible weaning story.  And a beautiful, natural, gentle one.  We nursed for two and a half years.  And we loved every minute of it.

How we naturally weaned -- ending nursing after two and a half years -- wildflower ramblings

Our horrible weaning story

{I wrote this at the time in the present tense.}

Coming home from our wonderful trip to Jamaica last December, I didn’t expect to feel so broken. So disheveled. My daughter is shy and talking with a lisp. She looked at me and said, “mommy” but didn’t run to me and questioned that I was even there.


And when she finally did let me come close to her, she kept looking at me strangely, peculiarly. This is not something I had expected or anticipated. I was completely left in the dark about this stark reality after coming home from our first vacation.

My son was asleep. Because he hadn’t slept all week. Thinking back to all the harsh realities of Jamaica.  My children? In their cushy homes with toys and love and (grandma’s) cartoons? And I still feel sorry for me and this pit in my stomach that my children felt a twinge of abandonment. When I am there every day, meeting their needs.

But tonight, when we told her it was time for bed. Put on her jamm-e-as, she explained “daddy put me nigh-nigh” My heart broke in two. She has always asked for me. Every time.

Daddy even asked if she wanted to nurse. I hand-expressed all week. Because I left thinking we were done, that that night before we left was the last time, but while in Jamaica I realized that I couldn’t do that to her (or me) and I couldn’t let it go.

But she said “no nurse” and that was the end of it. We walked her into her room, laid her down, she cried for daddy to put her down. I lay with her in her bed and she cried for daddy. My heart broke in two. I laid down, hoping she’d ask for nurse. It never came. Through silent choked back sobs I cried and prayed she’d ask for nurse and it never came.

She let me kiss her cheeks and tell her I loved her. She said “love you” back in a too-soft voice that whispered to my heart-soul that she felt abandoned and doesn’t quite trust me anymore. Nigh-nigh. We’ll see how tomorrow goes. Dear God, help her to trust me tomorrow and love and trust and build this home again.

Now knowing, even more, that we are so blessed and every moment I spend with my precious children are moments I can’t get back. I can’t get back the times I’ve ignored them or let them fuss or fight or just ignored the follow-thru with discipline. Or the heart times when I knew I should have done more. I had become numb, or abivalent, because I was tired. But I don’t know tired. Not now that I’ve seen hard-work and tired. Jamaica, you changed me. I know that much.

I know that I love more and am grateful more and am thankful more.

{some imperfect, but beautiful candids – John took this first one}

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And a better weaning story

After the second day home, my angel asked for “nurse.”  And there wasn’t much left.  Not but a few drops of milk.  But she asked for it again, and we nursed almost every morning for another month or so.  Then it became more distant.

Your pitter patter to your brother’s room instead of begging for me.

Your wanting breakfast instead of me.

And you just drifted away.

From me.

Because nursing just became a past time and at bed time it really was not helping you become tired or putting you to sleep.

And in the mornings, it was weighing you down from the fun you and your brother were having.  But the snuggles.

Every now and then you would still ask for it. Every few days. And we’d nurse on the couch. If it’s just you and me, and you woke up early, then you’d still nurse for 30 minutes or more, but if it’s during the day, you’d nurse for one minute and be done.

This is right. It was your choice. I let you decide and keep going and you decided that you don’t need to anymore. You still desire and need our deep snuggles. Your head buried in my chest and neck. Your soft wisps of hair. Your sweet breath. Oh I love those hugs.

Without asking for “nurse!” I adore this new stage. I don’t mourn the last one. Because the transition was so perfect. And right.

This may have moved along because John {my four and a half year old} had been really wanting me to lay with him for bedtime. I had been putting May down, while Dad did John, but sometimes we tried for me to do both. This was very tiring for me, and it also caused May to have tears when she didn’t understand that I’d be back out for her after 10 minutes. Putting her down had gone from ten minutes to 25 and was getting exhausting and uncomfortable.

So, slowly, she became comfortable with her daddy. She realized, with us being completely honest with her — that reading books while snuggling mommy on the couch, and then having daddy read more books in bed for more snuggles was a good deal. When I tried to sneak off, she flipped. But when we told her mommy was leaving, she was okay with it.

We still nursed in the mornings, but only sometimes.  Days between.  Now weeks between. It was natural and peaceful.

This time created a new bond for father/daughter and assuredly for mother/son. John has always been my baby. And I missed those days when it was just him and me.  No competition for my attention. He needs me. He calls me “soft” and that’s why he loves me and wants me to lay with him. Oh what sweet words.

And my girl? She is so so content. This transition has been so much better than the December-weaning disaster that didn’t happen. And I’m so glad we followed each other’s lead and had a little more bonding time.  More time before saying “it’s time” and “it’s okay.”

Just the other week, my son asked if May had to “nurse.”  It was interesting because she hadn’t in some time.  May’s ears perked up and she said “nurse! want to nurse!”  So I sat down with her, and oh I did want her too.  But she sat there for a second, my breast at her mouth.  She looked up at me, “all done!”  It was a wonderful moment to say goodbye.

There is so much more in store for our relationship and I can’t wait. I want to be present and thankful for the years we had of “nurse.”

And I’ll say it again, it is my mantra. If I play with her and read with her every day, then I feel confident and happy and good about my role as a mother. She is oh so loved. And she knows it.

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More baby posts:

Home birth of my son

Water birth of my daughter

breastfeeding through pumping for 6 weeks and a tongue tie

breastfeeding through thrush and teeth

weaning my first born 

nursing through bleeding and a tongue tie

still nursing my sweet girl

generations of breastfeeding joy

soothing sore nursing nipples

babywearing my girl

babywearing my son

babywearing for kids!

must have baby items

baby play toys 3-6 months

baby play toys 6-9 months

baby play toys 9-12 months

our montessori baby room

treasure bins for baby

This post is part of the Every Parent’s Guide to Natural Parenting and Earth Month Blog Hop!! Check out more Peaceful Parenting ideas at Natural Beach Living. Check out the Earth Day Blog Hop for many more posts on Green Pregnancy and Garden!

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