It has officially been 2 weeks since I finished weaning Raelynn from breastfeeding. I know that might sound nuts to some of you, as you're no doubt thinking, "But Raelynn's turning 3 in a few weeks." I KNOW. I don't need you to point that out to me. Please. I'm happy I breastfed her and happy it lasted as long as it did. Of course, I'm also happy to have my boobs back. For a few months at least until the new baby arrives.
During my adventures in breastfeeding, I had so much support. From my amazing breastfeeding coach I met through La Leche League who came to the hospital right after I delivered to help me get Raelynn latched on to my husband who came with me to those La Leche League meetings to learn more about breastfeeding and even explaining everything he learned to his parents so I had their support as well. I had some great friends and family who always stood behind me for nurturing my daughter naturally too.
I also had just as many people make idiotic comments to me online about breastfeeding. I'm not here to tell you how to live your life, so please, don't tell me how to live mine. Doing something that women have done to feed their children naturally for thousands and thousands and thousands of years should not be frowned down upon. This list sums up a lot of the shit people said to me, quite accurately too.
One thing I do like about China is that no one EVER said a single thing to me while I was breastfeeding my daughter in public. You might think perhaps they were afraid to speak to me because I'm foreign and I might not understand but let me just tell you something about Chinese people: they will come up and say the most mind-numbingly stupid but well-meaning things to you in public. Once, I had a man run across a street to come up and tell me Raelynn wasn't wearing shoes. SHE WAS A SMALL BABY. She couldn't walk. WHY would I get her shoes to smush up her feet? She had on little sock booties that were plenty warm. My Chinese skills are not the best but I do understand much of what is spoken to me. When Raelynn was very small, Jeremy was always with me when we were out and about. No one ever said anything to him either because he would have told them to shove it.
Back home in the states, I have heard so many horrible things breastfeeding women have had to endure. It makes me so angry that people find this offensive in a country like ours, one of the most advanced places in the world. But attitudes like this really do set us back. I love that I could be out at a restaurant in the US feeding the new baby with a cover on to keep myself from being exposed and someone would find this offensive. Yet, if I walked into a restaurant with a top that showed off my cleavage, not one person would express disgust. If I'm still breastfeeding the new baby when we go back to the US, I'll let you know what people say to me but honestly, I'll be so happy if I can wean Baby Qu #2 over here first.
So, how did I finally get my girl to give up the boobies? Well, it took time to wean her. I know many people who weaned their children much more quickly. But every child is different. My breastfeeding coach said I would have to follow her lead and that I couldn't just cut her off cold turkey. I needed to start decreasing the feedings. I did, but it was a battle. And when I saw Raelynn fighting me on things, I backed up and would try again after a couple more weeks. This two-steps-forward-two-steps-back logic was what really worked for us. My friend Chrystal had suggested counting down from 20 to 1 which I tried with very little success. Raelynn just wasn't ready to let go completely.
Slowly but surely, I began to cut off her feedings. I did away with the one in the middle of the night and to calm her down, would just bring her in to sleep with us when she woke up crying for it. She wanted to be close to me. It took a couple weeks for her to stop crying about it. Then I had 3 left: morning, afternoon nap and before bedtime. Mornings were also hard to cut out. My husband would help me distract her, offering her something like milk or yogurt instead while I'd get ready for work. Soon, she forgot all about morning boobies. Naptime and bedtime were all I had left. As I potty trained her, I allowed her to have both, but once she got the hang of the potty, I began to count down like Chrystal had suggested earlier...and it began to work, finally! She was ready!
I waited for her to start school with me before I completely tossed the naptime boobies. She would fall asleep on me on the bus ride home and not need her boobies. She forget about that feeding too. And then, there was just bedtime boobies. I decreased the countdown to 10 to 1. And then one night two weeks ago, she didn't ask for boobies. And I didn't offer. She brushed her teeth, climbed into bed and happily listened to stories. She kissed me goodnight and went right to sleep.
And I went to our bedroom and cried.
I cried because it was the end of breastfeeding Raelynn. I knew it would come some day. And I wanted this day to come. But all of Raelynn's baby days flashed before my eyes and I realized my sweet baby was now a big girl. And while I'll miss her as a little baby, I have this amazing big girl to watch grow up into a little lady. Hopefully, a little lady who covers her boobs modestly and isn't afraid to breastfeed her children when she grows up.
Here's a photo of Raelynn and me when she was just a newborn, while we were still in the hospital. Before any anti-breastfeeding folks get their panties in a bunch, please know this is not a picture of me feeding her but was taken after, while I'm covered up and cuddling with my sweet precious angel.
And here's my big girl now!