Friday, January 8, 2010

And then there was one

For the last few days, Joelito has been quite critical of the taste of my breastmilk. At first, he merely commented sadly that it was really yucky, but he didn't mind. Then, as it changed to yellow from the colostrum he was fascinated and slightly suspicious of the color. A couple of days ago, he pulled off very quickly while making a face. "Mami, I think it is pink. Or maybe purple. Anyway, it tastes terrible!" He asked to try the other side and started gagging. Pobrecito. He skipped it altogether for a couple of days, then tried for a split second this morning. "It is still yucky, I'm done," he sighed.

So, while I know that he may still try it a few times, I think it is safe to say that he is weaning. He turns four in about a week, so he has had a good start. At the same time, I'd be a little happier if this was something that he stopped because he felt ready rather than because it tasted terrible. Also, Ariana stopped for the exact same reason at almost the same time in my last pregnancy. Soon after, she came down with the flu, pneumonia and a double ear infection all at once! She was fine in a couple of days, but her case was much more severe than Joel's (who had the exact same illnesses). Part of me would like for flu season to be over with.

Once Elena was born, Ariana began to talk about nursing again and tried a few times, but had forgotten how. (Just an aside to those who are unfamiliar with breastfeeding--the sucking process is entirely different from sucking a bottle. Once a baby or child forgets how to latch, they are generally unable to get any milk out at all!). I could imagine the same thing happening with Joel.

Breastfeeding has been a special part of our day for nearly four years--his entire little life so far. It is our chance to snuggle, laugh together, and rest quietly (something Joelito is not known for). Part of me is a little sorry to see it go.

The rest of me? Well, I don't enjoy nursing through pregnancy much, anyway, so there is also some relief. Another bright spot? I can eat without worrying about any of his allergens. Ask any breastfeeding mom of a food allergic kid, and they will tell you the day that you get to go back and eat your favorite foods is full of blissful dancing! And after all, we made it nearly four years. If it had been truly his choice, I would have been thrilled with him weaning at this age.

However, I've been reminding myself that he nursed through the low supply and yucky colostrum taste of the last pregnancy without slowing down at all. (Just as Ariana did during my pregnancy with him). So, perhaps, the fact that it bothered him this time was simply because he was ready to wean? I think that I will choose to look at it that way.

Elena has been completely unfazed by any flavor changes. She has been upset by nursing less than she would like, simply from low supply and my discomfort. I find that dry-nursing is nearly intolerable, so I usually stop or say no if there isn't any milk. She is still nursing about four times a day, though, and I doubt that will decrease during the rest of the pregnancy. It is kind of funny, but over the last six years of breastfeeding, most of that time has been nursing two. Nursing just one has become a bit of a novelty for me, and one that I intend to enjoy.

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