Monday, March 19, 2007

The Impossible

I am trying to do something that is proving to be extremely difficult. I am trying to wean my daughter of nursing.

Over the past few months, Stella's obsession with 'boobie' has reached near frenetic proportions. I don't know if her constant pleas were due to actual hunger/thirst, boredom, or a deep need for my undivided attention and comforting. Whatever the case, I was beginning to feel convinced of the latter. Despite feeling touched by her attachment to me, I was also feeling suffocated by her clingyness. It was getting to the stage where I couldn't go an hour of work without her at my desk, peering at me with her big brown eyes, repeating the word 'boobie' like a mantra. It would be Dan's shift to entertain Stella, but I would somehow get suckered into multiple feedings on the futon, disrupting my work flow. Right around the same time that my exasperation was peaking, Daniel had successfully taught our little girl her first polite exchange - using the word, please. Now I had to listen to even more earnest and urgent entreaties for milk with the recitaion of 'pwease. pwease. pwease.' Stella turns into a broken record until she gets what she is asking for. If she finally exhausts herself of verbal repetition, she eventually crumples into a tantrum of epic proportions. Her back arches, her eyes squeeze out tears, and her little mouth widens to a rectangle with curved corners as she screams a cry that is the sister to fingernails on a chalkboard. Her fits have been truly spectacular and awe-inspiring. I find my own reaction shifting from fascination, to laughter, to commiseration, to fear. The hardest part is that I actually believe that she was feeling the serious pangs of rejection, and that is the LAST thing I want my baby to feel.

After only a few days of slowly trying to limit Stella's intake, and being met with the most pathetic sobbing, I feel like I am losing the battle. This girl is NOT ready. She does not want to give up this time cradled in my arms, satisfying her oral fixation. Both Dan and I will continue to try and distract her from multiple breast-feeding sessions, and I do try to give her lap time and loads of affection and tenderness that don't involve lifting my shirt, but I think this is going to take much longer than I originally thought. We are also concerned that she make the transition to drinking cow's milk soon, to replace the calcium she will lose from me (the calcium she is draining from her Mother's own bones), but she turns her nose up in disgust. That's my Father and my genes to blame. Despite all this sturm und drang, I will persevere. My goal is to be able to have either set of grandparents watch Stella for a long weekend, so that Dan and I can rekindle our romance on an exotic getaway. We need to feel like independent adults again, who actually schedule activities past eight at night, and have a good morning lie-in (oh jayzus, the mere thought makes me tremble with excitement and yearning).

Wish us luck.


Blogger Rein Morgen said...

Hi Sarah. I read this a couple of days ago and wanted to comment but I am always in a rush in the spring time. IEP's lined up until mid June at school across So. Cal..
Anyhow, I am sure the grandparents would love to have a Stella sleepover. You are blessed with two very involved sets of grandparents!

As for weaning, well I guess NY winters make it difficult, but when Tyler was 14 months I just had to wean him. I was prego with Morgen and was tossing my cookies. I would literally yank him off the boob to run to the bathroom. I accomplished it by driving. I couldn't do tabasco or any other one of those things. I didn't want to traumatize him. So, mid day when he wanted to nurse, I put him in his carseat and drove until he fell asleep. Same thing at bedtime. After about three days, it was good.

With Morgen, she weaned herself. She got a taste of real food and that was it. 12 months done. Of course with her I was working for Disney and pumped a lot.

Takoda, girl, I weaned him a couple of weeks before he turned two! (I work out of my home with him, unless at schools). His nursing was for mere comfort, attention, and to be the baby. Being age two, I just told the bar is closed! What he got in return was mommy and me trips to Starbucks and their organic milk..Horizon Vanilla milk. So, I replaced "his" time with me, with time with me. Just offered a "fun" way of having milk. Now, he even drinks milk at home.

Well, those are my experiences. Don't know if it helps, but they are alternatives for everyone who tells you to put something horrible on your breast. LOL

Good luck!

10:52 AM  
Anonymous Mom G said...

Pwease,Pwease,we'll take her.Of course we don't have all the equipment she is use to,but we could give her plenty of milk and cookies....Do some mothers really put something on the "boob" to make it taste bad? Ugh!!!!It must be very difficult to be at home all the time and Stella knowing you are around to grab onto.Wish I had some suggestions for you, but it sounds like Rein has some great ones(except for the car riding,not sure the cabbie would go for it)You are fortunate to have such a good friend,I enjoy reading her notes as much as reading yours.Stella is your "learning 101" so when the next on comes along you will have all the answers,Ha,Ha!!!!You are a wonderful,caring mother Sarah and I'm sure this will soon be a memory you will be laughing about and sharing many stories with family and friends.Poppy says this is TMI for him, but is willing to take her fishing? I told him tea parties,we are still discussing the matter.LUSM,H&K's

12:08 PM  

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