My breastfeeding-addict boy, Baby B, just weaned himself from nursing just few days short of turning 27 months old about 15 days ago!
Sigh. I wish he could breastfeed longer as much and as long as he wants to, and I wish the event leading to his self-weaning was more heart-warming and tender but somehow he just stopped breastfeeding completely overnight without any warning nor reason and I am left standing cold turkey, drenched in guilt of a busy working mama.
The whole event started around two Saturdays ago when I woke up very early in the morning trying to tiptoe to the bathroom to get ready to work. I wanted to hurry to the office to complete a humongous project at work and knew I was going to clock in at least a half-day work because the deadline for the project was looming close.
We have always been co-sleeping because he is the type of wakeful nursing baby who wakes up every 2 to 3 hours to nurse for comfort. Co-sIeeping made it easy for me to just wake up lightly enough to hold him up on the crook of my arms for those endless breastfeeding sessions through the night without ever leaving my bed. And if I nursed him lying down sometimes, we’d both fall deep into the sweet slumber land shared blissfully between a nursing mom and her baby.
That Saturday, as I turned on the bathroom light, Baby B found me standing in front of my bathroom staring back at him. He sat up on the bed gently rubbing his eyes and called me back saying, “Mommy, baby wants Nan-Nan” (his baby lingo for breastfeeding). Ridden with guilt that I was going to work on a weekend off day, I quickly climbed back into my bed and happily obliged by giving him a quick nursing session while my mind went through a quick breakdown of all the details of the project like a super computer processing all the tasks that I was going to do that Saturday.
His body felt a little warm that morning so I checked his temperature with our digital scan but he was actually not having any fever. Still, I covered him with his soft baby blanket and informed Daddy Joe to make sure to check on his temperature again when he woke up later. I then sped off to work and soon got so caught up with all the work that by the time I reached home, it was already 8pm.
As I put down my non-woven bag filled with all the heavy working files, our family helper informed me that Baby B cried in pain when he was having his food and water throughout the day and that she suspected that Baby B could either be having some teething pain or mouth ulcer.
When Baby B saw me, he walked up to me happily stretching out his arms and asked me to carry him for a “Nan-Nan”. I sat on our nursing sofa in the living room and held him up as usual but just as I pulled up my t-shirt to breastfeed him, he quickly turned his head away and gently pushed me away saying, “Baby pain pain…” Baffled, I asked him if he was having any pain inside his mouth to which he nodded and repeated “pain… pain.”
I checked his mouth and saw a little ulcer on his right cheek but it was nothing major. We checked his temperature again and noticed that he was having a mild fever. After being fed a low dosage of fever medicine, he cuddled next to me and instead of asking for “Nan-Nan,” he asked me to give him a baby massage on his back. I felt that he really wanted to breastfeed but somehow the discomfort of the ulcer prevented his usual appetite for his favourite drink – his “Nan-Nan”. “Baby don’t want Nan-Nan”, he said repeatedly. And he has repeated that the next day too and thereafter. Just like that, my baby has self-weaned himself completely and started sleeping through the night!
I don’t really know what caused him to wean himself off completely and I guess I would never know. I feel a little sad because deep down I wonder if he had stopped breastfeeding that day because when he was feeling the discomfort from the pain and the mild fever during the day time, I just wasn’t there for him. In fact I was buried deep beneath my working files and a heavy work load.
All I know is that had I known that that very morning was going to be our last nursing moment surely I would not have rushed it through but instead made sure it was the sweetest memory we both could cherish.
To all the breastfeeding moms out there who wonder if all those sleepless nights and constant waking up for night feeding would ever end, well I just want to encourage you to hang in there and cherish it as it lasts because one day your baby will grow into a mini person ready to take on the world as it comes and the one who is not ready is often us, the cow mama.
On the other hand, thanks Baby B, for weaning yourself at 26 months old, which makes your sis, Pumpkin Mei-Mei the longest nursling champion in the family as she clocked in 27.5 months of breastfeeding and the shortest being your eldest brother, Cheeky Koko who clocked in 22 months of breastfeeding. You are not too bad, anyway, having at it for at least 4 months longer than your Koko. That’s equivalent to the time it takes spring to turn into summer and about half of the time it takes for you to stay inside mama’s womb as God slowly moulds you into the little darling that you are to our family.
Mama’s not ready as you are, Baby B, but I will try to get used to the idea that anyway one day you will grow out of it and it seems that you have fast forwarded your own weaning and made it so smooth and easy for yourself and for all of us.
On the plus side, now I do sleep through the night and finally I can wear nice dresses to shopping mall and dinners with you little fellas without having to worry about you pulling up my dress in the middle of the concourse in front of twenty random strangers staring at my old, awful panty while you make a demanding call for ‘Nan-Nan’.
Yah, not a bad idea, really. 🙂