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Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Weaning my babiest of babies.

About a month ago I started experiencing A LOT of discomfort nursing Lincoln. Until that time, he was still nursing before his nap, as well as before bedtime. He usually nursed for a few minutes and then he was asleep. Overall, it was really great. I no longer had to bounce him to sleep or hold him for hours while he slept. It's been a relief that he's sleeping so well.

That's one of the major reasons I never initiated weaning until recently. I didn't want to mess with a good thing. Any thought of disrupting his sleep practically gives me an anxiety attack. I honestly think if I hadn't started suffering from cracked nipples, he'd keep nursing for many more months to come.

But with the pain I had, I decided I had to start weaning him. I took away the nap-time-nursing on day one and since Kev was home, he put Linc down. He said he was easily able to lay Linc in the crib while he sat in the chair in his room. Kev ended up falling asleep as well and they both had a great nap. That first night, I nursed him for just a few minutes before unlatching and telling him it was time for bed.

I'd been gearing up for that, telling Linc lately that soon the Mama milk would be empty. But he'd look down my shirt and yell "THERE IT IS!" since he thinks the word "milk" is referring to my, *ahem* anatomy. Regardless, I kept mentioning it, telling Linc soon I'd be cuddling him before bed without any more milk.

The second day I tried putting Linc down for his nap and he cried unless I held him. After lots of cuddling, I put Linc in his crib and he just rolled around forever with no attempt to sleep. I couldn't leave the room, and eventually we gave up on the nap altogether.

For subsequent naps, I resorted to rocking him to sleep. I needed him to take that time for us both to recharge while Aspen was at school. I know he's not ready to give up napping so I've diligently been making him sleep without nursing during the day.

Over the last three weeks or so, I've been telling Linc before bedtime that there's only a little milk left. I'd tell him he could nurse for a little while and then he'd go in his crib. It worked really well and he never complained. I'd nurse him, put him in his crib, and then sit in his room until he fell asleep. Sometimes I'd leave his door open and go put Aspen to bed and by the time I checked on him again, he'd be asleep. It has been pretty smooth for bedtime and I'm really grateful (especially when Kev works swing).

But I've been really nervous about the whole situation overall. He's so much older than Aspen was when she stopped nursing (at 14 months) and he's extremely aware of what's going on. In a way that's helpful because we can talk about it. But it's also really hard because that means for nearly two years, we've had this bond. And now it's going away.

Last night, for the first time ever, I got Linc ready for bed and he didn't mention nursing. I just held him for a few minutes and we sang a couple of songs. Then I put him in his crib and sat down in the nursing chair. He played with his blankets and stuffed animals for a little while, and eventually he fell asleep after singing a song to Ernie. I commenced crying immediately.

I was not prepared for how emotional it would be. It wasn't anything like this when Aspen self-weaned. I was sobbing last night and mourning the loss of our nursing relationship. Yes, I was so ready for it physically! I'm tired of wearing nursing-friendly clothes and I'm tired of the discomfort and I really miss my pre-babies boobs. But the emotions just snuck up on me. I was so tempted to wake Linc up and have him nurse just one more time. JUST ONE MORE TIME PLEASE!! Thankfully I managed to hold it together and let the boy sleep.

For a while I may need to switch kids and have Kev put Linc to bed and I'll take Aspen. They've had a good thing going for a while (they've read all of the Narnia books, some Nancy Drew, some Rush Limbaugh historical fiction and so much more the last few months), but I don't know if I can handle putting Linc down right now since I'm an emotional wreck about it all. We'll see what kind of fuss Linc puts up tonight if Kev suggests reading to him and putting him to bed.

I really am looking forward to my new-found freedom, though. My sister-in-law is having a baby this summer and I joked with Kev that Linc will at least be weaned by September so I can take a solo trip to North Carolina to help her with the kids. I knew this was coming eventually and I'm glad it will make our lives a little easier in some ways. I just bought tickets to see Weezer (a band I've wanted to see live since high school!) this summer and now I don't have to stress about Sophia babysitting and not being able to nurse Linc to sleep!

Thanks, Linc, for all the good times snuggled up together. While I may have hated having to hold you while you slept, I didn't feel as strongly against nursing you. I've always been pretty proud of making you so fat, especially after all the grief the attending pediatrician and lactation consultant gave me after you were born. We had a good run, and I'll just go sob into my pillow now.

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