Day 11: I was with my son’s feelings for around 20 min or so tonight. I am not sure of the exact timing. It was dark, and we were in his room. Maybe it was a half hour total. My partner helped for some of it. We were trying to make the bedtime – midnight no nursing rule. My little boy has a cough though, and I feel strongly that breast milk is one of the best things for him during this time. The conflict of trying to make a specific weaning goal versus my desire to help him get over this cough in a timely manner stuck with me throughout my time listening to his feelings and helped me pay even more attention to what I witnessed going on with him.
While he was crying, and while there was still enough low light to see, I completely experienced how terrified he was. It was as though he could not find the breast and could not bear to be without it. My partner says this is his first breakup. In some ways, I see how that is true. There is a love affair happening between my son and my breasts. I, as a whole person, am not always totally a part of that. Sometimes, he pushes my face away, so he can have some privacy with my boob! This is recent, but it started long before any weaning efforts. When it happens, it is simultaneously hilarious and offensive. Talk about objectifying!!! Yikes.
Anyway, we are breaking down this attachment slowly. With the terror I saw and heard and felt in my little boy tonight, I imagined him as a newborn in the phototherapy box. He was jaundiced and had enough risk factors that we consciously chose this approach to help him and give him the best start to optimal health. He was mostly happy in there, and he was always attended by a loved one, if not me. But once, when my dad was with him in the ICN (Intensive Care Nursery), he woke up really upset. My dad was able to comfort him, but it took me a while longer than usual to get down there (just down the hall) because I had fallen deeply asleep! I imagine my boy has been re-experiencing that old disconnection, absence, and disorientation.
I am sure he will make it to midnight now, after his cry earlier. He fell asleep early for bed because he did not have a nap today. It was a long haul for him to sleep from an early bedtime to midnight, especially with a cough. I definitely can say (after some experience), going from on demand to any kind of regulated breastfeeding is rough. It is tough on him and totally different for me. Different than how I used to be around breastfeeding and availability. I am just starting to wonder if I am doing the right thing.
He nursed 7 times today with an 8 hour stretch of not nursing. He has been really excited and happy about life in general. He played great with his friends this morning. He also played well alone at home for little bits of time, and we had a lot of fun together too! One transition around getting into the car was hard, and as I mentioned, he did not nap. Other than those two things, which are normal to happen every now and then, he has been so easy, great, and always excited about life! I just ask to be led in a good way with my son. I want to do the right thing for him, for me, and for all concerned.
Day 12: At this point, it is working pretty well to tell Storm when the next nursing time will be when he asks, and I am not presently available. The night time is still pretty rough – if he wakes between bedtime and midnight expecting to nurse. I can listen to his feelings and stay present with him a little better and a little longer though, so I appreciate us both for this progress.
I realized I am really unattached to him being completely done breastfeeding by my birthday. I know that is what the Ayurvedic doctor wants, and I know I felt very seen by her, and I do appreciate her perspective on Storm. It is just that, as Storm’s mom, I know he will not always nurse. I know that this is a passing phase – this breastfeeding phase. Our time nursing is so precious, I would be a fool to speed it up too much. All the same, I am enjoying a little more time and space not breastfeeding. I can feel myself a little more clearly. I like this process we are in. Slow, steady, and infused with love.