Owl is now officially weaned, and I’m not sure he likes it.
We’d been slowly cutting down on the nursing for a while. When he was around 18 months old we stopped nursing on demand. He could nurse in the morning and in the evening and before naps if I was home, but he couldn’t just yank my shirt down.
By the time he was two, nap time nurse sessions had been cut even if I was home.
Then, a couple of months ago, he stopped asking for milk before bed. PH had put him to bed a couple of times in a row because I was out training dogs, and Owl didn’t ask and I didn’t suggest it, and that was pretty much that.
The morning nursing sessions continued.
Part of it was simply that we were unmotivated to try and wean him first thing in the morning. We were tired and if latching him on would get us another fifteen minutes of rest, we would take it.
But I wasn’t enjoying it any more. My breasts were producing milk but were never full, and Owl’s nursing just felt annoying.
But he wanted it, every morning, and I was reluctant to cut that last string.
Then my mother came for a visit, and that fixed it.
Mum would go to Owl when he woke up in the morning and he would spend an hour or more happily on her lap reading stories or watching videos on her tablet. In fact, if I tried to come into the room he’d shoo me away. “No, that MY Nana!”
And so a week went by wherein he didn’t nurse in the morning. When Mum left, PH took over distracting him in the mornings, so he didn’t go back to his old ways.
And that was that – he was weaned.
But I’m not sure he’s happy about it. He has asked for Mommy Milk a number of times, and even cried for it when he was feeling sick.
He will also just whine for Mommy, even when I am holding him.
“I’m right here, Owl, what do you want?”
“Me want YOU, Mommy.”
“But I’m RIGHT HERE! You have me!”
It’s heart breaking and frustrating. In fact, it’s a lot like when he was a colicky newborn. I’m giving you what you want – why aren’t you happy?
He also started chewing his nails a couple months ago – right around the time he gave up the nighttime weaning. He bites them right down to stubble, and no matter how much Daycare Lady hounds him about germs or how many times PH and I remind him that he’s giving himself “owies” by doing it, the fingers go back in his mouth.
Lately, he has started sucking on his fingers as well.
I don’t really know what to do about this. When I see it, I feel guilty for taking away his comfort, but after all, I nursed him for 28 months… that’s more than most kids get!
But yesterday, he pulled at my shirt and said “Me baby now,” he said cuddling up. “Me drink Mommy Milk.”
“Mommy Milk’s all gone, Owl,” I reminded him.
“Me pretend have Mommy Milk” he insisted and nipped at the shirt for a moment. Then he patted my breast and said, “Me finished the Mommy Milk. Me eated ALL the Mommy Milk.”
“That’s right, it’s all done,” I told him.
And I hope he doesn’t suck his skin right off his fingers as a replacement activity.
Kate R said:
“Me eated ALL the Mommy Milk” – I love that! You know, you have done soooo well – with the feeding and with the weaning. Give yourself an enormous gold star and let the guilt go. And if you solve that nail-biting issue, let me know. My 5 yr old got into that habit and still does it. I eventually gave up trying to dissuade him because it was a waste of my energies. That said, he seems to do it less these days so you never know.
I felt guilty after weaning at 15 months, especially when I realized that I no longer had a sure fire way to calm him down. To help, I reintroduced a soft sippy cup to ease his need to suck. Maybe you could find something to distract himself from his fingers…
I’m sure he gets it from me. I sucked my thumb until I was eight.
I remember sucking on all sorts of things when I was little–my thumb, my mom’s keys (I shudder to think of all the germs, but at the time I thought they tasted good!), and I had to be broken of my pacifier habit when I was around four. My mom took them all away, but I was allowed to keep one “for my dolls.” I would go in my room, close the door, and suck on it myself like a little addict. But eventually I stopped, and Owl will probably stop sucking/chewing on his fingers too.
Anyways, I have to say I’m so impressed at how long you nursed Owl, and at how good of an eater he is! You’ve totally converted me to the idea of baby-led weaning for when I have kids. And I hope I’ll be able to breastfeed half as well! 🙂
Ha, I totally get the addict comparison. Breaking my thumb sucking habit was HARD. And hurray, baby led weaning! I honestly cannot understand why anyone would do it any other way.
First, yes, congratulate yourself for nursing so long and so well.
Second, don’t beat yourself up over his finger-sucking and nail-biting. Right around age 2 seems to be when kids start those behaviours anyway, regardless of how long they were breast-or-bottlefed. (At least in my experience). Drawing too much attention to it often is counter-productive because it just makes them nervous about it, and then they seek the comfort even more, and… well, you see where this is going. :p
Thanks, that makes me feel a little better. I can’t really congratulate myself, though. Continuing nursing was just easier than stopping, and I’m worried I left it too long and that now he’ll miss it forever…
This might make you feel double-plus-good better… 7yo used to chew his wooden bed rail. Really. Like, when we moved him into bunk beds, so he was almost five when that started. It looks like a really large rat just went to town on it.
And I can assure you, breastfeeding was a distant memory for not only him but his younger brother too when that little behaviour suddenly started. It went on for a few months, then stopped. He’s still a nail-biter, but since I am too there isn’t much I can say about that. :p
Hi, I'm Natalie said:
Good for you – I only lasted 13 months before I started getting annoyed! Frances started sucking her fingers around the time Adele was born, so it seems like a really common comfort thing – Here’s hoping that it’s just a phase!
Don’t you worry! He will remember for a while, and even ask to nurse again here and there, but you’re not harming him in any way and he won’t miss it forever. I promise!
I’m not sure what to tell you about the nailbiting. I have a five-year-old nailbiter here. He even bites his toenails! *shudder, barf* It’s disgusting. We try to discourage it (especially the toe part, when we see it happen), but some kids are just orally fixated and will do it no matter what. I used to bit mine. My husband still bites his when he’s intently concentrating on something (like watching a movie or something). It’s gross, but it’s a nervous habit that some people just pick up. Hopefully, he’ll outgrow it sooner than later.
Owl is currently trying to put his whole foot in his mouth…
Hahahaha!! Really? Does it fit? That could be a great party trick!
wombat central said:
I nursed both kiddos for 12 months, and only one of them was a thumb sucker. I think it’s just part of their personality–either they are or they aren’t. She sucked her thumb from the time she was itty bitty! I was worried I would have trouble breaking my Girly of the habit, but when her top two teeth were loose (not from the thumb sucking–it was time for them to vacate!), it felt gross to her to suck her thumb and she was done!
When Owl was a baby I wanted him to be a thumb sucker, so he could self-soothe. But I’m not loving the nail biting!