Thursday, June 17, 2010

On Weaning

I'm going to be honest: It often feels as though I have about four readers of this precious blog of mine, and I'm a writer...and writers like an audience. Well, this writer likes an audience. But I persist because 1) I've persuaded myself that there are hundreds (if not thousands) of you out there just dying to hear about Hadley's life and 2) this blog has turned into a great way for me to process motherhood and record some of Hadley's daily life. When she's older, she can moan and tell me to stop sharing her life with the world, but for now, I'm in charge of this space.

But tonight, I'm going to post on a topic that's a bit personal, so if there are only four of you, I'm cool with that.

Hadley is in the amorphous place between babyhood and toddlerhood, and she's running toward toddlerhood faster than I can believe. She's walking all over the place; eating almost everything (last night, at Mumsie and Granddaddy's house, she ate olives and goat cheese, which is proof that she is indeed my child); expressing her opinion (more proof that she's mine); talking ("hat" and "toes" are new words); and looking more and more like a little girl every day.

But one remnant of her babyhood remains: nursing.

When Hadley was born, I was determined to breast feed her for a year. It was difficult and painful at first, but I got through those first weeks knowing that it was best for her. And then, one day, about a month into Hadley's life, it was easy--and wonderful. All that snuggling, all that togetherness, I loved it, and I could tell she did, too. I loved that nursing was convenient and free and formulated perfectly for her.

When I went back to work, I pumped at least three times a day, and in case you faithful readers have never pumped, let me assure you there is nothing glamorous about it. It added at least 15 minutes to my morning routine; it was the last thing I did before bed every night; I squeezed it in between meetings ("squeezed" being the operative word there); and it made me feel like Bessy the Milk Cow. But still, it was worth it.

Those first few weeks, I wondered how I'd make it a whole year. A whole year later, I wonder how I'll give it up.

We're down to two feedings a day: one when she wakes up in the morning, and one before she goes to bed at night. (Now, after we put her pjs on, she looks at Jason, waves and says "bye-bye." It's pretty funny.) My hunch is that she's nearly ready to wean, and I should just do it once and for all. But I keep putting it off. "Just one more week," I tell myself. "Not now, we're getting ready to go out of town. Not next week, Jason will be in Chicago for business." I have a million excuses, but the real reason I haven't done it is that I will miss it.

Her growing independence is such a good and healthy thing, but it means that she's often too busy to be held. One of the greatest joys in life--the best, simple gifts moms get--is the feeling of our babies pressed up against us. I can't let that go just yet.


  1. Another beautiful post :) I don't know what you are feeling or going through, but I'm sure you will know when it's the right time to stop. Until then, continue to enjoy it :)

    PS I would like to add that I check your blog probably once every 2 days looking for a new post :) Dedicated Auntie :) Love you all!

  2. Hilary, you are fortunate to have been able to nurse Hadley for as long as you have and that is wonderful, definitely a special bond between mother and baby. This is just one stage in Hadley's growing up, thus moving on to the next stage, being a toddler, walking, talking and just plain having fun with mommy and daddy. Mother and daughter always bond, from nursing, to sitting on mommy's lap reading many books, playing with toys, working puzzles, playing with dolls, having tea parties, combing each others hair, snuggling in bed when it is cold, or even when it isn't, swinging on the swing or hammock, going for walks, singing silly songs together, drawing, painting, baking, playing dress up with mommy's shoes, working in the garden,and the list will continue to go on and on to the shopping mall when Hadley is ready for her first prom, date, whatever! That bond will always be with you, so you may be letting go of a very special and precious bond, but you are moving on to SO many more! Enjoy! Keep the blogs coming, I love them all, and like Crystal I check on a regular basis. I love you all!

  3. Ok so mom's comment made me cry. Thanks mom! :)The bond between a mother and daughter is beyond words. I can only hope someday I will experience what you have with Hadley and your own mom, and what I have with my mom with my own baby girl!

  4. Hilary, I am one of your faithful readers! Although, I must say that I am always tearing up when I read your posts and feel like a hormonal, over-tired, completely in love mom...oh wait! That IS me! Anyway, I relate ENTIRELY to this post about weaning. I said all the same excuses and was NOT in a hurry to give up that special time with William. However, I think you will know when the time is right. He, on the other hand, would have nursed forever! I will say that I LOVE mornings now, and bedtime nursing periods are replaced by reading even more books (a great time to cuddle up to my precious little one in the chair and watch him point his chubby little finger to all the pictures!:) Anyway, just know you are understood and if you want to nurse till shes 2 or be it!