Monday, March 19, 2012

No more milk for you!

We threw Samaya a weaning party...3 months ago. Hey, at least it's getting mentioned at all. Just because I didn't blog about it, doesn't mean it wasn't a monumental milestone in our lives. It was. It just means I had two babies within 20 months of each other. Both of whom are as strong-willed as their father. 

Oh, ok. And their mother.  

Which is also why we had no idea how this whole weaning thing would blow over. This is a child who does things on her own terms. She needs to walk around something a few times until she is familiar with the space it occupies in the world. Once she has memorized the way the light falls on it from each angle, she might be willing to embrace it. After the first few ear-piercing visits to the doctor, we finally picked up on this. We scheduled her second annual check-up two months in advance and spent literally every day immersed in doctor dialogue, role plays, doctor kits, and doctor-themed bedtime stories. By the time of the appointment, she was tentative but mostly willing. 

I did the same with the weaning. I decided that December 12th, her half birthday, was going to be the big day. In theory, I would have let her self-wean on her own terms. After all, breastfeeding is really more hers than mine. But in reality, I was done. Strung out. At my outer-most limits. I had been nursing for 2 1/2 years, nursing two for ten months. We had returned from our trip to Ethiopia in September, and for the entire month of November I had bout after horrible bout of mastitis. It was an amazing trip, but it was also the most stressful two weeks of my entire life, and my body was letting me know it. The plane rides alone were something I cannot even let my mind return to. 

So making it to December was going to be an accomplishment. Every time she nursed (only at nap and bedtime), I would tell her that pretty soon she was going to be a big girl and she wouldn't need milk anymore. Her body would be getting everything it needed from healthy foods and, instead of milk at night, we would end our day together sipping tea. And of course, we talked about the party. By Samaya standards, this was to be quite a to-do because there would be ice cream involved. Not just any ice cream, but PINK ice cream. In 'ICE COMBS.' By Mama standards, it was simple and sweet. I found two lovely tea cups and saucers at the thrift store, made dinner and strawberry coconut ice cream, and invited our good friends over. 

It was perfect. We ate yummy food (I can't remember now? pizza?), played, then Samaya and her friend Mora each blew out a candle after a smashing rendition of, 'No more milk for're a big girl now.' The ice cream cones were brought out and Samaya savored her little piece of heaven (and the rest of Mora's too). Then we brought out her 'big girl' gift, which was really just a doll house that she hadn't played with in a long while and had been in our basement.

After our friends went home, we made chamomile tea in our new cups, the pouring of the milk being the real highlight. It must be said that what happened for the next 20 minutes will always be one of my most cherished mothering moments. It was perfectly ordinary. We talked about our day, we listened to each other. But it was one of those rare moments in which I was completely and totally focused on the beautiful little girl in front of me. I wasn't thinking of the million things that needed to get done as soon as she went to sleep. I wasn't thinking of one of the endless daily tasks involved in caring for young children.  Instead, I was wrapped up, enveloped, immersed in this beautiful little person who I am privileged to spend my days with. 

And you know what? It was delightful. SHE is delightful.

Amazingly enough, she casually asked for milk the next few nights, but you could tell her heart wasn't in it. If it had been apparent that she just wasn't ready, then I was prepared to pick a new end date. But it turned out we both felt it was time. And I am so very grateful.    


  1. I'll have to remember that for Moira--what a sweet idea! (Maggie found the taste of the milk when I was pregnant to be UNACCEPTABLE, MOTHER, and quit cold-turkey.)

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  3. Good job with weaning! I too recently weaned our big boy Ethan whom I nursed for two years. What a big relief really! Now i get to wear whatever I want to wear :-).

    Greetings to you, Sisay & your beautiful girls,