What Is Weaning?

In the rocking chair
with you hitching in my arms
your head against my chest
I’m holding you so tight
How did we get to this place?

It was a simply request
on both sides
a request for comfort and love
in the way she knows best
a request to simply try
try to survive without

The clash caused upset
caused screaming, tears, anger
Don’t touch me!
Feelings hurt, but with understanding
This is hard
harder than we could have ever imagined

Even when I let you lead our way
I still must set limits
but how do I know those limits are right?
How can they be right when they cause you pain?

This is a poem I came up with while I was attempting to get Peanut to go back to sleep without milk. She had just gone to sleep less than an hour before, so she definitely had a full belly. She wasn’t sick as far as I could tell. She seemed to just randomly wake up and stay up for whatever reason. This is a fight we’ve had before, but it’s hard every time.

Of course you all know I’m against cry-it-out. What you don’t know is that my child does cry in the room with me. When she’s not falling asleep, but is really close, I sometimes unlatch her and try to get her to finish falling asleep on her own. I don’t particularly want to night-wean, but it would be nice if she could sort of fall asleep on her own. I feel like it’s the natural progression with the fact that she’s mostly sleeping through the night now. (knock on wood)

She of course fights it and gets upset. It does end up working sometimes. I’ll tell her “Just try and if you can’t, then you can have milk.” Sometimes she tries and it doesn’t work. Sometimes she tries and actually falls asleep on her own. Sometimes—like tonight—she tries, it works, then she wakes back up within a few minutes and gets milk. Either way, I try to stay consistent and make her try to go to sleep on her own before I give her milk, even if it’s just for 30 seconds.

While this feels like the natural progression, it also feels awful. I don’t like making her cry at all. Heck, I don’t like her crying at all. And when she’s screaming at me “Mama mil mil mil Mama mil!!!” it makes me want to cry too. I could solve her crying right then and there, but I don’t. I am choosing to let her continue crying when I have the answer to her problem—literally—right in front of me.

At the same time, I feel that she’s old enough that I can set some limits. In the day time, she’s mostly okay with it. If I’m in the middle of something and I tell her to wait, she may have a bit of a tantrum, but after she’s done she’s on her merry way. It’s only when she’s trying to go to sleep that she screams and cries like this.

So followers, what do/did you do as your nursling grew to set limits? Did you set limits?

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3 thoughts on “What Is Weaning?

  1. Your scenario is pretty much what mine is too. There are times in the night where I let Jules cry for as long as I can stand it (I don’t do cry it out either) and then I give in and give her milk while other nights I just right up and take care of it and we all go back to sleep. We, as mothers, are part of the nursing relationship and we have a say too. Or we try to have a say and then usually give in to our nurslings needs (usually). Nighttime is hard for mammals in general I think because it’s a primal instinct to survive when you are not near your mother (or don’t think you are) and you need to stay safe. All I can think of to continue my nighttime sagas is that she really needs me right now and sometimes I need to put her needs first and someday, someday, she won’t need me in this way.
    Good luck!

    • “We have a say too” is a perfect way to put it. I guess it’s just hard to think that way after entirely giving myself to this child for so long. I feel like now since she’s a little older that I can sometimes put my needs ahead of hers though. It’s kind of silly that that makes me feel guilty.

  2. I tried this off and on before awhile back (can’t remember what age my daughter was at the time but she is 21 months now) and it was just too hard for me. 😦 I felt pretty much how you described. Every once in awhile in the middle of the night, I can tell her to lay back down and she will and go back to sleep with little fuss but that’s pretty rare honestly. For now we still co-sleep and I nurse her when she wakes up and it works for us but that is basically because I accepted it for what it was and am not resentful anymore.

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