Weaned {A letter to my toddler son}

 

Dear Vito –

As I write this, you’re playing in the living room, just beside my work area. Listening to you sing “Old MacDonald” for the hundredth time in the last three days is driving me crazy, to be honest. The fact that you also were extremely challenging to take care of today is an understatement. It’s been a particularly rough week for me, in terms of work and doing the housework. But nothing comes close to the strange pain of wrenching emotions inside of me when I think of how it’s been 13 days since you last nursed from me. 

I never imagined I’d be nursing a 2 and a half year old. When you were six months, I remember sighing out of relief that I’d not be at your beck and call every two hours. Don’t get me wrong: I loved nursing you. I loved that I was able to rearrange my career so that I could work from home, just so that I could nurse you on demand. I loved that I could always be with you when you were at your neediest stage in life. I sometimes miss those early days.

But then, you changed. Slowly, you started to nurse less. After your first year, you shot up in height; you began walking faster than I could keep up with you. You began counting to ten and saying the alphabet, and spelling out words on billboards whenever we’d take a car ride. Of course, in many ways, you still knew you were a baby. Yes, you’d ask for “mami’s miwk” (mommy’s milk) when you knew you needed it, or when you were lonely, frustrated, in need of cuddles, or simply tired. But not as often.

You asked for my milk less and less.

In these past two weeks, you’ve not asked for my milk at all.

You’ve been rather independent. You’ve not been waking up at night.

You’ve not been looking for me to nurse you.

You’re weaned.

I never thought I’d admit it… but I don’t like this feeling now. Not the feeling of not being needed by you, but the feeling that, hey… you’ve changed, baby. You’ve changed, and you don’t know how it’s changing me.

The look on your face every time you’d ask to be breastfed has haunted me each night of the past week. Strangely, I miss seeing it. Tonight, I know you’ll be content to just lie beside me, with your hand down the front of my shirt and cuddled against me. You seem to have forgotten to turn up that shirt; you’re content to just cuddle. Gosh, I have been waiting for this. And yet, I wonder why I am not celebrating.

Photo: Mommy Matters

Letting you nurse for as long as you did, and being around you almost 24/7, they say, will be good for you. I’ve read parenting books and baby websites that have said breastfeeding you for as long as I did would be great for your health, your development, our relationship as mom and child, and whatnot.

But you know what I do know? Nursing you for as long as I did has turned out to be good for me.

I will always be grateful to you for teaching me that I could be a mom, and that no matter how many times I’ve failed you, I have always been enough for you. 

I love you, Vito.

Mommy

 

 

Comments

  1. says

    “Not the feeling of not being needed by you, but the feeling that, hey… you’ve changed, baby. You’ve changed, and you don’t know how it’s changing me.” Words that I felt but couldn’t verbalize when I went through the same thing with my Sprout. Such a WONDERFUL post, I’m sharing this with my Facebook family and friends. Thank you SO much Martine! =) *hugs*
    TheFoodnatic recently posted..I’m Melting…My Profile

  2. says

    What a great idea, to write a letter like this. I remember the feeling of closeness during breastfeeding. It’s been a long time since I was in this stage, my youngest is 13, but I miss it. I admit it. If I could go back to those days I would.

    BTW, You are beautiful! Not sure why you have issues with your looks (I read your other post already). Very feminine, and your smile radiates beauty that not a lot of people have. I love these pictures of you and your little boy.
    Trina recently posted..Fireworks!My Profile

  3. says

    Happy SITS day! I remember that feeling. I nursed all of mine 2 yrs too. So bittersweet. Happy but sad that they are growing up… Wait til he gets his learner’s permit to drive! :)
    Shell recently posted..On Quick TripsMy Profile

  4. says

    My son is 14 months now and I’ve been wondering when I should start weaning him. He only nurses 2 times a day now and I think he’s pretty much ready to stop but it is sad to think that this period is over. They really do grow so fast!
    Cheryl recently posted..Win This Bag – Week 3My Profile

  5. says

    Beautiful piece. You captured so well the connectedness that mothers feel for their children, how they are a piece of us.

    Transitions can be so hard. Especially in motherhood. Best wishes as you define the new you.
    misssrobin recently posted..Feedback on Your BlogMy Profile

  6. says

    It is so bittersweet when they self-wean! But at least he had the choice because he knows you’re there for him if he wants, you know? It’s nice to get some of your freedom back but you miss the closeness and the oxytocin high hahaha!

  7. says

    i’m not sure if its the hormones but i wept a little when i read this and then i thought about dw going to pre-school on his own. we drop him off every morning and he just walks to his classroom without any hesitation. such a big boy na. hugs to you marts and to vito too for being so wonderful. he’s lucky to have you. i agree with tine, marami pang moments where we moms would just have to stand back and *sigh* haaay!
    manilamommy recently posted..A Portable Medicine CabinetMy Profile

    • Martine says

      Awww, Nevs, thanks. You know those scenes in the movies when the mom is looking at her kid and wondering what happened to her life? Yeah, that. Marami pang ganun. Thanks for sharing your moment with DW, that’s going to be me not-so-far from now.

  8. tine says

    Welcome to the heartbreaks of motherhood, Martine Ü as we watch them grow to become the independent kids we raise them to be, there’s so much letting go involved too. My eldest is 12 na but I still vividly remember holding back the tears as I watched him walk fearlessly to his classroom on the first day of “big” school. Truly, weaning is not just a breastfeeding thing, and attachment parenting isn’t only something that involves babies & toddlers. Haaaay! You’re coping beautifully, Martine, hang in there Ü

    • Martine says

      Hi, Tine! *Hug* I’m better, but still a bit weepy. Huhu. I didn’t know letting go would be a strange feeling like this. You’re right: Weaning is a lifelong journey undertaken by every mom, no matter how small her kid is. It’s a process of letting go, from the time your child stops nursing, to the time he sets off for college and beyond. Oh, a mother’s heart is such a precious thing! Sigh. It’s beautiful to see my boy grow up, yet a little painful each time. I know right now this is a mix of hormones, but I definitely think I’ll have more of these “goodbye” moments to (gulp) look forward to.

  9. says

    That got me teary eyed martine. my son is almost two and I dont think I am ready for him to wean yet. But then again, you can’t control that. If your kid is ready then he’s ready. I guess I just have to enjoy our breastfeeding sessions….for now.
    tyna quimpo recently posted..False Positive?My Profile

    • Martine says

      Thanks for sharing, Tyna! It’s true, we can’t control it. Although I wish that I could nurse him again. Oh well! I suppose I will if he asks, for comfort. But I do miss being able to give him milk. I even had been missing having so much milk! Oh my… I guess I am hormonal.

    • Martine says

      Yeeeeeen! Huhuhu. I just put Vito to sleep and felt a bit weepy again. It’s such a new, different feeling, like life won’t be the same. And I know it won’t, but perhaps I’m just looking for the assurance that he and I will still be close.

  10. Ria D. Laab says

    ….ah I feel teary eyed.

    I can’t imagine what will happen to me when that day come’s, when my baby will wean himself from breastfeeding. I cried when he turned 11 months last May 15, my baby is getting older and is getting more and more independent as days pass by. I’m not yet ready. :(

    • Martine says

      I get you, Ria! It’s a different feeling, both good and not-so-good. I feel in many ways that my son is still a baby, but I can see that he really has grown up so much, sometimes faster than I’d like! Sigh. That’s why this time feels bittersweet, both happy and sad for me. Oh, motherhood!

  11. says

    Hi Ms. Martine! This is one wonderful and heart-warming letter to a son. I’m quite sad I only breastfed for a month and wish things were different. But you and other moms here I get acquainted to really inspires me to try hard to successfully breastfeed my next babies when they come.
    Pie recently posted..Kristoff Is Acting In Front of the MirrorMy Profile

    • Martine says

      Hi, Pie! Nice to “see” you here. Thanks for the kind words. Don’t wish things were different–believe that you did your best for your son, and that you still do your best every day. :)

  12. says

    I really wouldn’t know how I feel until I get there. Baka maiyak din ako — both happy and sad tears. My husband always tell me how fortunate we are that we are a breastfeeding family, especially when my daughter was hospitalized. That was probably the toughest 3 days of nursing for me. For one I was nursing a toddler with an IV on her left hand. She preferred direct nursing than eating and drinking (imagine me being glued to the hospital bed with her). But it made her well super fast, thank God! Kaya ngayon, I don’t regret that she nurses when she sees me, anyway it’s making up for the lost time since I’ve been working already. Weaning will come in its own good time :) you have a little boy who’s starting to find his way into the world. All the best!
    em alcantara recently posted..My mother, my heroMy Profile

    • Martine says

      Awww, thanks for sharing your story about your daughter. I can relate: Vito was hospitalized for a week last year, and nursing him during those hard times really made me feel special and needed in a whole new way. Happy, but sad. I guess motherhood is a mix of both, right? We’re happy to see our kids grow and progress in life, yet a part of us also is saddened because they are, in a way, “leaving” us behind. Huhuhuhu. That’s where I am now, and I know it’s just the beginning of more moments like this! I’m trying to stay on the positive side of things.

  13. says

    Aww, I love this post! I’ll always be a little sad that I only nursed my firstborn for 8 months. Stopped due to reasons that seemed important at the time. Now that I have another little one, I plan to nurse as long as I can. These moments are the ones we treasure forever.
    Helene recently posted..Baby Chic BoutiqueMy Profile

    • Martine says

      Helene, I know the feeling of wanting to stop for more “important” reasons. I struggled with those reasons, too. Somehow, there was always this feeling in me, prodding me to keep on going until Vito wanted to stop. After all, I was working from home anyway, he had access to me. I guess now, I’m just dealing with the fact that he’s not as needy as he once was, for me to nurse him. He’s needy in other ways now. :)

  14. says

    As always, what a beautifully-written, heartfelt post, Marts! :) I was surprised to see your FB posts and tweets about Vito not nursing anymore! :) Made me wonder when I’d be facing the same situation with Rysse, who turns 3 in July. :D There are times when I wish our nursing relationship would go beyond three years, and times when I don’t. :) I do wish though, that I had let Tim self-wean and not weaned him when he was 2 years and 3 months because I was already pregnant with Rysse and couldn’t handle the nipple pain whenever he would nurse. Those were stressful times for all of us. I would have gone for tandem nursing if I could have though. :)

    Anyhoo, thanks for sharing this! :) Praying always for you and your boys!
    Truly Rich Mom recently posted..Get a new Blackberry with Sun’s Social Plan 600!My Profile

    • Martine says

      Thank you, Tina :) I guess it was just his time! I’m a bit relieved in some ways, yet heartbroken in others!

    • Martine says

      Thanks, Kathy! I read what you wrote, and feel somewhat teary-eyed thinking about the last day my son nursed from me. It seems like so long ago, but we were in bed, and he ended up falling asleep on his own. He’s been falling asleep without cuddles from me! Just his hand slightly under my shirt, and that’s it.

      I left a comment over at Everyday Mommy, by the way. What a beautiful story! Thank you for sharing that. :) See you on Tribber!

  15. Ceemee says

    Gosh! This is so moving, Martine! I know I’ll miss breastfeeding my baby when the time comes for her to wean. After all, it’s my first time to nurse for 7 months and counting although she’s my third baby. And the last. Breastfeeding has made me grasp the reality that I’m a mom. With my first two, mommyhood felt surreal. I would probably cry too. That’s a beautiful photo of you and Vito.
    Ceemee recently posted..ABC’s of Improving Our Relationship With Our Children, Cymplified!My Profile

    • Martine says

      Hey, Cym! I’m so happy to hear your insight on breastfeeding. It really is such a deep, life-changing experience. I mean it was crazy hard for me at first, but I’m glad it worked out. I’ve just not cried so much in such a short span of time, I think that I’m a freak of something, hahaha! Thanks for sharing. :)

  16. says

    I don’t know if I am also waiting for this. My daughter will turn three next month and I am still exclusively breastfeeding her. I even showed her the picture on TIME magazine and told her that it says big girl should drink milk on glasses and not on their mommies anymore.. but she just shrugged off her shoulder and ran away. I’m actually looking forward on her birthday next month just so I can blog if she will wean herself or I will continue cuddling and nursing an acrobatic three year old girl:)

    Your letter to your son touched my heart.. Iba talaga tayong mga mommies:)
    mai recently posted..Birthday Post for HubbyMy Profile

    • Martine says

      Hi, Mai! I think kids just know when it’s time to stop. With Vito, it’s actually been a slow process. There was a point when he’d only nurse every other day, then it became every two days. Then it was only when he was feeling super tired or weepy. But in the past almost-two-weeks, he’s just gone to bed on his own, without nursing, without me needling to cuddle him either. He’d just roll around beside me on the bed and the next thing I’d know, he’d be fast asleep!

      Read your blog pala about your hubby. Sweet <3

  17. niña cabardo says

    I cried and cuddled my baby closer as I read this. What a beautiful, poignant letter from mom to child.

    • Martine says

      Thanks, Nina! I hugged my son so tight just now, while he was falling asleep. Haaaay. I miss his babyness, but I wouldn’t turn the clock back. He’s awesome the way he is.

  18. natalie miranda says

    got me crying….I’m a mother of a 7 month old baby girl now, and still breast feeding, had some trouble in my milk supply for the past 3 weeks and was depressed because my baby wont nurse that much because of the “new” foods that we’ve been introducing to her…

    oh man, that was only 3 weeks, and my supply is back ….but i know that in the future…this too will eventually happen to me…

    I know that it aches to see your baby grow up…::cyber hug::

    And thank you Miss Martine for the last sentence, I might have to remember that too when its my time.

    Your a good mom..you thought him to be independent in many ways! God Bless! <3

Trackbacks

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