Tomorrow I'm starting my life all over again
Today is a very auspicious day. I've spent ten of the last fourteen years breastfeeding various ones of my four children and today is the last day of my long (and dare I say it, extremely successful) wet nursing career.
Yes, I'm finally weaning my toddler.
And I know, I know. Many would say it's about time. After all, she is nearly three. But I have a history with long feeding. In fact, before now, I've never actually weaned a child.
When I had my first baby, I asked my mum when she thought I should wean her.
"I think once she can ask for it, it's time to say 'enough'," she said. Sorry Mum. It never quite worked out that way.
It was easy with the first one. She completely weaned herself at only five months. I was heartbroken. You see, I'm extremely good at breastfeeding. I can feed anywhere, any time. It's easy and I always had enough supply. I can't count the number of times people have likened me to a milch cow and said, "Your baby is on a good paddock." Yeah, thanks folks. It didn't help when I discovered that I detested the smell of formula. And bottles were such a lot of work!
With the second child, I decided to let him wean himself, basicaly because I was lazy. I didn't want to go to bottles and formula again if I could help it and besides, we were on a budget. Breast was cheaper! He finally let go on his own at the age of two, about the time I became pregnant with number three...
...who was a different story altogether. This child fed until the age of (and here I'm slightly embarrassed and whispering) *four*. Yes, four.
There were a couple of reasons. Again, it was easy and cheap. But as well, I was having daily tantrums and fights with the second child who had been diagnosed with ASD and who was in the very middle of his most chaotic and crazy period. Life was too hard. I just couldn't add another fight into the mix.
Happily, all by himself he reduced the amount he wanted until he was having one feed per day, just before bed. One night when he expressed a desire to be a 'big boy', I closed my nursing bra and it was over, just like that.
And so we come to number four. Who really, really loves her 'milky milky' or 'minky minky' as she calls it. This is a child who wants milk when she's hungry, when she's thirsty, when she's sad, when she's happy, when she's going to sleep and when she's waking up. She would be just as happy not eating or drinking anything else if she had enough of the good stuff.
As usual, I've been unmotivated, not wanting to wean, finding it easy and economical, and also worrying that if I put her onto cows milk, she might react badly, seeing as how all her siblings have turned out to have a diary intolerance.
But it is getting the better of me. I'm not enjoying it any more. I'm not sleeping well enough, my aches and pains aren't healing quickly and I'm tired and lethargic. It feels like she's sucking the life out of me.
So I'm going to wean.
Happily though, and with thanks to my generous husband, I'm not going to have to fight the weaning battles. And I get a little holiday as a bonus. Tomorrow morning I'm getting in my car and I'm outta here. I'm going to stay with my parents and let daddy and the brothers and big sister deal with the tears, screaming and sulking when little darling realizes there really isn't going to be any more milky milky.
I've been telling her for two weeks, "Soon Mummy is going to Sydney and then there won't be any more," but she just smiles and nods and opens her mouth for a feed. It will all hit home tomorrow.
Will three nights be enough? I certainly hope so. And after that I'm hopeful for more energy, bounce and zip in my step. It's been fun, but my breastfeeding days are through and I'm happy to let them go.
Tomorrow is the beginning of a new era. I can't wait.