How old is your daughter now?
Oh, you’re still breastfeeding. Are you weaning her soon?
No, probably not.
*< Cue eye roll>*
I have had this conversation more times than I have cared to lately. Yes, I am still breastfeeding my two-year-old, and as of right now, I really have no plans of stopping. Four years ago, I might have had a different answer, but a lot has changed since then. I weaned my first daughter at 14 months. She was ready and I was pregnant again. We were both done with the experience. However, my second daughter has other ideas, so I haven’t tried to wean. Besides, right now I love it. Yes, that’s right, I love it. But I if I am being honest, I did not always feel that way.
Now before I begin, I am not on team “breast is best.” Both my girls had formula in addition to breast milk. In the end, all that matters is that the baby’s fed and that both mama and baby are happy. Being a mama is hard, regardless of the path you choose. This is just my journey.
Breastfeeding is a lot of work, which is why I always find the weaning question so infuriating. The newborn stage is a blur. I remember pain and exhaustion. The burning, chapped nipples. The ease of infection. Additionally, there was this constant feeling of being trapped. In those first few weeks, pumping did not really give me enough milk to share a feeding, so it fell to me. There were so many days and nights of just the baby and me. While we were bonding, it was isolating, which is hard when you are already trying to process so many other big emotions.
With my first, there was so much anxiety. Is she getting enough? Is she really hungry again? Am I doing this wrong? I meticulously recorded feeding sessions and diapers. The second time around was easier. I understood there would be hours where it would just be baby and me on the couch. However, the anxiety of pumping enough never really subsided. Even with an ample supply in my freezer, I was still up in the middle of the night feeding on one side and pumping on the other. I felt like if I had a freezer full before I went back to work, I would be fine. It may have bordered on obsession and I have literally cried over spilled milk.
Speaking of pumping, pumping at work brought forth a whole new world of seclusion. As a teacher, my only real adult interaction occurs at lunch, but for six months I spent my lunch locked in my room. I missed catching up with colleagues and decompressing. While the first few months proved to be really productive, it did eventually become Facebook catch up time. Additionally, I had a panic attack anytime I heard footsteps in the hallway. Did I lock my door?! Spoiler alert, yes, I triple checked, every time. Let me tell you, I happily packed up my pump at the year mark and sent it back.
That’s why this year has been such a dream. My daughter is no longer relying on me to sustain her. As the months have passed, our nursing sessions really just consist of sleep and wake times. I spend my days chasing this tiny little bundle of energy. She never stops. She is curious, precocious, and exhausting. I love our nursing sessions because they are the few times a day where she stops and cuddles. These days are fleeting and I am going to soak up all these precious moments as much as I can.
So to answer your question, no, I am not weaning her anytime soon. I put in a lot of work into this and I am going to enjoys these moments while I can. You can save your eye roll because it’s not going to change my mind.