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For the first time in nine years I am neither pregnant nor breastfeeding. I weaned Moonie, our youngest, a little over two weeks ago.
I wasn’t sure how I’d feel after she was weaned. At 2 years and 7 months, she nursed the longest of my four kids. I had been ready for her to wean for a long time. At first I waited patiently for her to be finished. As more time passed I became less and less patient. I was all done. I wanted her to be done too.
I’ve been thinking for a while now about my needs and hers. I’ve always believed that my kids had a right to be breastfed; that as their mother I have an obligation to tend to their needs, to provide nourishment and love the best way that I possibly can; the way that is the most natural and normal. Sure, I had some difficult times but overall, I never viewed breastfeeding as a chore, or as a nuisance.
So at what point did my need to be finished breastfeeding outweigh Moonie’s need to breastfeed? I don’t think there is a definitive answer to this. What I do know is that it was starting to feel like a chore, and I was starting to resent it; to me that was a sign that the end was near. I didn’t want her to remember breastfeeding in a negative way. I didn’t want her to see me gritting my teeth as she latched on. I didn’t want her to see my frustration.
I eventually realized that I would have to wean her. She was not going to self wean like her older brothers did; at least not anytime soon. So I did it. I weaned her. There were a few nights that were rough; little Moonie shed a few tears. It felt strange to refuse her requests but the fact that she was usually very easy to distract told me that it was okay. She may not have been entirely ready but she was mostly ready.
Moonie is our last baby and so I thought I’d be a bit sad once she’d weaned. I’m not. I thought I would miss it. I don’t really. I do miss the closeness and the cuddles but I get and give affection in other ways.
One thing that I did find a bit of a shock – although it shouldn’t have been – is that Moonie doesn’t need me as much now. Last week she fell off the couch and ended up with a big goose egg on her head. I rushed over to comfort her and she wanted Daddy. Daddy comforted her while I fought off tears.
As Mr. Family Nature said, “Her journey to the dark side is complete.” The boys all did it too. All my kids adore Mr. FN. He’s a wonderful attached and involved dad. They want Daddy to do everything: Daddy ties their shoes, Daddy gets them snacks and they follow Daddy around like he’s the pied piper. Once each of them weaned, it has become all Daddy, all the time: Daddy consoles them when they’re hurt, Daddy puts them to bed and Daddy is the one they call for in the night.
I’m interested in seeing what happens to my body – all mine for the first time in ages. I don’t even remember what it used to look like before I had kids. I’m sure it will never be the same and I feel mostly okay with that; the battle scars will fade over time. I don’t mind that I had to share my body for a while, but I’m glad to be moving on to the next stage.