Saturday, May 30, 2009


I'm weaning the boy. Or maybe he's weaned. It's hard to say.

The last time I nursed him, it was less than stellar. There was a lot of squirming and twisting and teeth-scraping and pulling a bit of "If you bite me one more time you're going to bed with no milk." The last time BE saw me nursing LE, he said, "You know, it is starting to look a little weird," and I said, "Yeah, but his face when he's nursing looks exactly the same as it did when he was a month old. He doesn't know it's weird to be 2½ and still nursing."

I was toying with the idea of weaning him, but not too seriously. I kept putting it off, thinking I'd like to have him still nursing for one more long-haul flight to the States which I hope will be happening in the next month. I'm kind of putting off finishing potty training him too until after the trip (he's 100% poop trained but not at all pee trained), but this weaning thing is making me re-think the potty training thing.

Here's what happened. I've been sick for almost 5 months, with something like a bad cold or a mild flu. It just will.not.go.away. I hate it. I hate being sick. I get sick maybe twice a year normally, so I'm not handling it well. I've been to the doctor once, about 6 weeks ago. She said it was a sinus infection and gave me antibiotics which did nothing. I was mildly sick until the pills finished and just got sick again. Plus my ear has been ringing this whole time, but she didn't seem to think that was important. Stupid cheap hospital.

So last Wednesday, after developing a nasty dry cough and having both sides of my nose completely closed and some white shit on my throat we went to an expensive hospital. That doctor also said sinus infection, and prescribed some serious, hardcore super-mega-ultra-multi-spectrum antibiotics that can't be taken while breastfeeding. I gave up. I don't want to be sick anymore. LE's only nursing once or twice a day. It's time to kill whatever I have, and I figured even if the doctor was wrong about the sinus infection, the monster antibiotics are bound to kill every disease I harbor, plus a few future ones.

Instead, the antibiotics just make me feel nauseated and dizzy on top of everything else. On day four of the antibiotics the yellow green snot is gone, but the cough is still there and I'm still pretty congested. The ear is still ringing. I'm supposed to be moving house which is really fun when I have to sit every 10 minutes because it feels like the ground is shifting under my feet. Stupid expensive hospital.

Have I mentioned how much I fucking hate dealing with Turkish doctors? I think I have.

I thought LE would really freak out about getting weaned. He pretty much only nurses to go to sleep, plus he has a little milk snack after school but he's usually very insistent about having milk when he thinks of milk. I wasn't sure if I could make him sleep without the milk (he has always sacked out on the breast) or convince him that he doesn't need it.

So I've resorted to lying. I'm so ashamed, but I didn't think he'd get it about the antibiotics. When he asks for milk, I tell him it's all gone. "All gone" is a concept he can handle.

And you know what? He's totally handling it. Unless there's some deep emotional scarring he can't express, he seems fine. Milk is all gone? Okay, then can I have some candy? No candy? Okay, then I would like to climb the shelf to those bleach bottles if you don't mind. It's a world of 'no' in this house. When bedtime rolled around on Wednesday night I gave him some milk in his sippy cup and read him some stories and we had a nice long cuddle and he got into bed and I sang him a song then read my book next to him until he fell right to sleep. Same thing Thursday and Friday night. Can it really have been this easy?

I think he knows I'm kind of sad about the milk. He keeps lifting his shirt to expose his nipples saying, "Mama, milk?" so I pretend to drink his milk. BE is scandalized. LE also gives milk to his doll and his stuffed monkey he sleeps with.

I thought weaning would be hard and require lots of tantrums and long discussions about being a big boy. Instead, "all gone" seems to suffice. LE isn't sad. He isn't devastated or traumatized or bereft or forlorn or anxious or feeling abandoned.

Me, on the other hand...


siobhan said...

I've got tears in my eyes. It's tough, isn't it? Even though, you know it's the right time to stop, it's still difficult to get used to, especially when it is just no big deal for the kid.

Well done, you've definitely done your stint. Now celebrate, get drunk in the afternoon!

ms.bri said...

I am INSANELY jealous if this has really proven so easy. And I may steal, "all gone." But I don't think it will fly so well. I have a blog post in me about this but the shorthand is that yesterday I refused him nursing for the first time and it was a GIANT shitstorm of rage. I am in for it.

I know it is sad. I cried already and I have a ways to go. Definitely do something to celebrate. One of my friends bakes a big BOOB cake for every woman who finishes nursing, which is awesome.

Stranger said...

It's really weird to get used to. I don't think I could have done it if the antibiotics hadn't made my milk into baby poison. He's still asking for milk but there has not been a single milk-related tantrum. Now I'm starting to wonder what else is, in fact, MY big deal and not HIS big deal.

Getting drunk is tempting. At the moment I'm just enjoying not having to worry about taking aspirin or decongestants that have been banned in the US.

Bri, I could have done with a cake. All I got was some eye-rolling from BE when I told him I'm upset about this, though I'm sure MIL will also have some choice comments I'm not allowed to smack her for. I haven't had a chance to read your blog in awhile (moving house, internet guys who say they're coming then don't turn up and shut their phones off, that sort of thing), but LE also threw major shitfits about being refused a breast, his most recent only about 5 days before he got weaned. So I was TOTALLY shocked it went as well as it did. I think the little monkey gets way more than he lets on.

Melissa said...

I totally told Kian that the milk was gone! Now that it's been a few months, I'm starting to introduce the idea that it will be back for baby brother, but that big boys drink from cups. And Kian also has a dolly that he nurses himself. I weaned him back in Jan./Feb. but it is only recently that he stopped asking: "can I nurse? Just a little bit?" at least once a day. Just enough to make me feel guilty, then he'd move on. I definitely shed more tears over the whole thing than he did. A big huge cry fest (not in front of him) when I really decided to go through with it. My big motivator, of course, was being pregnant.
Glad to hear it's gone well for you.

Stranger said...

Thanks, Melissa. I think the hard part is starting now that the antibiotics are finished and there is still milk. Now it's down to me sticking to my guns. I have no idea how long the milk will be there, but I checked last night and some shot into my eye. I can't believe there's still enough to shoot!

I think it's so lovely that our boys associate nursing and nurturing like that, and do the same to their toys. You hear about kids acting out awful things that have happened to them on their toys, but you never hear about the sweet things.