By Lauri Jon
My daughter cried. Not a full-out tantrum cry, but a few silent tears preceded by a timid whine -- the type that indicated true emotional pain. I wiped her tears, enveloped her in my arms and rocked her gently, explaining that big girls don't have "mom-moms" and she's becoming a big girl. You see, I began the weaning process in earnest, eliminating the daytime/nap nursing. Some who read this will probably say, "It's about time." After all, Maricella turned 27 months on February 9. But I wanted to see if the was going to be one of those toddlers who lost interest on her own. Did she? No.
So I felt it was time -- recognizing that this change will give me more freedom and give Maricella more autonomy.
Of course, the fact that she's lactose intolerant has made it more difficult. In the beginning I tried to get her interested in soy milk, without success. Then a friend told me about rice milk, and although she's been drinking it for the past eight months it's still a struggle (even when I make it as chocolate milk).
Two or three times a day she's asked me for "mom-moms." And when she does I give her a hug, stroke her hair and tell her, "Sweetheart, big girls don't have 'mom-moms' during the day. We can have sippy milk or chocolate milk." Which is usually met with a whine and her pulling away.
When she doesn't go for milk I'll ask if she wants juice or suggest a snack, which has luckily been saving me. I'm also thanking God for juice pops, which are giving her an additional sucking outlet.
Weaning has affected her sleep. Maricella's not taking naps and for the first four nights she woke at 1 a.m., asking to come back to bed with me. She probably needed the extra snuggling time -- and I have to admit I've enjoyed it too. Although I'm happy that the next two nights she slept the night through.
My plan is to eliminate the night nursing next month, and then the morning nursing the following month -- making her totally weaned by 30 months.
By doing it gradually I hope to take some of the sting out of the process and make it as smooth as it can be.
I'm looking forward to entering this new phase in our mother/daughter relationship. A phase where we both have new freedoms and a renewed, albeit revised, level of closeness.
How did your weaning process go?
Lauri Jon is a forty-something-else mother and wife who lives with her family in California.