I realized this week that I am more than complicit in the non-weaning campaign of my son. When he was sick, I did a ton of reading on the couch while we nursed, but since then I've started to use nurse time as type time. He brings me the little pillow, and I get through a few emails or maybe half a blog posting if I'm lucky.
This week was a busy week in my volunteer/work life, so all those spare seconds were quickly used up. But there weren't as many spare seconds! Today and yesterday -- days with Daddy home, I ought to point out -- were days of nursing only upon awaking and going to bed. Finally, back to where we were two months ago! Less groping, but less guilt-free computer time.
Truthfully, though, I have no idea where we'll be tomorrow or, more importantly, where I actually want to be. About two weeks ago I mentioned just a few times to my son that maybe after he turned three, he wouldn't need to nurse anymore. I didn't go into detail but did mention that some other kids didn't nurse anymore and that it just might be time to stop. Then, on a Friday, we went to a farm with another friend and saw brand-new piglets. I actually captured on video a conversation that started talking about the pigs nursing and then turned into my son saying, "I like nursing! And I'm going to stop nursing when it's my birthday!" Yee haw, I thought! He's going to give it up without a fight! I wondered if I'd even need to put together the weaning party I'd been thinking of.
But the next day and for the rest of the weekend and following week, he copped a whiny, "I want to nurse" whenever the slightest thing bothered him. I picked back up Mothering Your Nursing Toddler and How Weaning Happens, both of which made me feel like if I just accepted that he'd naturally want to nurse until four or five, everything would be fine. That's an exaggeration; they are great books, but I forgot how late a lot of the anecdotes take nursing. (The Natural Child Project reminds us that chimps and gorillas generally nurse five or six years! Oh, and the book I probably really need is The Nursing Mother's Guide to Weaning.)
As I wrote recently on DC Metro Moms, I don't think I have it in me to keep this up forever, especially if we want to have another child and I don't want to spiral into a health or depression crisis. But neither do I feel ready to say my child is weaned, or to lose the connection that I think makes my son so grounded and usually keeps him healthy or gets him through illness without much discomfort and without worry of dehydration.
I have lots of friends (and sisters) who've nursed beyond three, so it's not an issue of feeling judged or anything for still going. And I know lots of folks who've stopped short of three, so I don't expect to be judged for stopping before it's completely child-led, either. It's about my own role and my own investment in feeling needed in a way only I can meet. And yet, I fantasize about taking off for a weekend to go to a yoga retreat or a writing retreat and knowing my son will be just fine (if my husband can handle it!)
The day after tomorrow, on my 36th birthday, I'm seeing one of the practitioners who's previously helped a lot with emotional blockages and ambiguity (a chiropractor, but she is not your average chiropractor). I write a lot on the other blog about this kind of energy work, but I have to say here that I hope in the appointment I can cut through some of the fuzziness around my feelings about my son's dependence on me.