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Weaning: A how-to guide to overcoming selfishness

Inspired by other mommy blogs, I present to you my take on advice pertaining to toddler weaning.

Dear Nursing Mama,

Welcome! I can assume that if you’ve made it here, you’ve been scouring your countless bookmarked parenting blogs searching for the answer to this question: How do you wean a child that is not ready to wean?

Well, first off, my off-the-cuff response to you, dear mommy, is this: You’re most likely having a hard time finding a how-to because, as I’m sure you know, most mommies can’t imagine depriving their nursling from the sole, simple thing that connects them to what they need most – YOU!

But I get it, mama. Oh I so get it. Once, when Barleigh was suffering through a double ear infection and the garlic oil hadn’t penetrated through the membranes in her ear canals yet, I hadn’t slept for about 56 hours and, in a moment of delirium, did not make eye contact with her when she nursed. I had that fleeting thought of, “my needs should be met, too!” Here’s the thing though, sweetie. Like all good moms, I shook that preposterous notion out of my head and, well, here we are. Darling Barleigh and I have not broken that sacred bond between mother and child since.

The braces, I will admit, do add an extra challenge to our routine, and scheduling midterms around our lunchtime session is surprisingly difficult at her school (when will the U.S really get behind ‘breast is best’, anyway?) but we both know that those problems are nothing compared to the benefits of extended nursing!

So forgive me if my brief introduction comes to you a bit harshly, but we moms can never be reminded enough of how privileged we are to provide comfort, nourishment and that deeply intrinsic connection with our cherubs. That being said, if you are still looking for advice (I won’t say encouragement, because, of course, no one should encourage you to wean!), I’ve done you the favor of creating a step-by-step guide to forcing your helpless child be stripped of the only activity she truly loves. Here we go!

Phase One: Instead of weaning, ask yourself: Why are you being selfish?

It’s a fair question, hunny. When we mommies decided we wanted to have a baby, we signed away our rights to self care – what sort of example am I setting for my sweet baby if I place her in a swing so I can take a shower? DH will be home at some point and, assuming your LO doesn’t need to BF (which, really, one never knows when they’ll get ‘hangry’! LOL!), then you can feel assured that a 30-second run of your hair under the kitchen sink will probably be fine. But even then – they made dry shampoo for a reason, babe!

But I digress. Did you think that breastfeeding would only last the first two years of your child’s life? If you truly believed that your responsibilities as a worthwhile parent expired after 24 months, you’re no better than the swarms of ‘mothers’ set on poisoning their babies with formula, or worse, a formula-feeding parent who vaccinates! While we’re at it, let’s just shove some non-GMO labeled snap peas down your precious creation’s throat!

No, mama. When we know better, we do better. Even though some misfiring part of your brain is telling you two years is enough time to nurse, deep down, you know in your heart your DD will always remember the day you baby-signed “milkies all done” for the last time. Milkies. All Done. What kind of monster are you?

Phase Two: Okay, apparently you’re fine with being selfish. Who’s brainwashed you?

You can be honest with me – someone is telling you to stop nursing, aren’t they? In today’s society of lazy, uninvolved mothers keen on letting iPads babysit and solid food sate their child’s hunger, you and I need to be the beacon of deep, unconditional love for our babies. The only way to do this is to unapologetically, firmly – and when it’s necessary, forcefully – insist our babies need breastmilk and our undivided attention at all times.

Barleigh plays this little game sometimes where she tries to physically remove my breast offerings out of her line of vision when her friends are over and then pretend-asks for a sandwich instead, but that’s the great thing about being a mommy – you can always tell when your LO is just being a clown! At the end of the day, you know she’ll want that sweet mommy-nectar to help calm her nerves before driver’s ed class.

So please, mama bear. Don’t let others tell you what’s best for your cub! Weaning is such a personal end to a personal breastfeeding journey, and no one should bully you to stop! It’s up to smart mamas like us to tell those who ruin their children they are the maternal personification of human waste.

Phase Three: You still want to proceed. How do you rip your nipple out of a suckling babe’s cherubic lips?

Fine, so perhaps you are more like my cousin Cheryl and insist that all good things must come to an end, even if it’s at the expense of your child’s health and wellbeing. “I’m not a bad mother for letting my kindergartener walk without a helmet and kneepads underneath her pants!” she claims. “Stop calling CPS because I weaned at 18 months!” she cries. I’m sorry, but someone needs to be the parent, here, and it’s certainly not that brainwashed bitch. She also let her child use a pacifier to self-soothe instead of offering the breast at every hiccup. Enough said.

Anyway, I phoned Cheryl to get a glimpse into the “other” side of parenting to offer you desperately self-absorbed ladies a diluted, less-traumatizing method for weaning that, I hope, will result in the least amount of emotional, mental and physical scarring for your nursling. I can’t bear to the think of the blood that will be on my hands should your poor, defenseless child suffer from something that could have been so preventable.

Phase Four: Cheryl’s tips for weaning (EDITED BY MOI FOR MINIMUM PERMANENT SCARRING)

1. If your child is under six months

Fuck you, you fucking savage. You get no advice other than a list of self-help links found at the bottom of this article. Get a hold of yourself!

2. If your child is one year old

a. Hopefully at this terribly young age, your baby is still offered the breast a minimum 16-18 times a day with unlimited opportunity to feed at night. There is no other option except to co-sleep at this age, unless you feel comfortable rolling the dice in those jail cell-deathtraps known as “cribs”. SIDS can happen at any time! That’s why Barleigh, bless her, still sleeps in bed with me. She jokes that if I didn’t lock the door, hide the key and surround her with a sturdy wall of pool noodles to prevent falling off the bed that she’d sleep as far away from me as possible. She’ll thank me when those antibodies from night-nursing stave off those first few STDs in college!

b.There is no option to wean at this age. Fuck you.

3. If your child is two years old

Congratulations, mama! You’ve breastfed the ABSOLUTE BARE MINIMUM span of time recommended by the World Health Organization. Think this means it’s okay to wean? Not so fast, hun! Kindergarten is just a couple years away—why would you even risk exposing your child to all the illnesses out there without her suit of breastmilk antibody armor? Surely you don’t plan to vaccinate her and invite even more poison into her body, do you? Best to just keep calm and breastfeed on ;-)

4. If your child is five years old

Here’s where it starts to get tricky, mommy, but you got this! Haters are going to hate hard if you’ve made it this far, but weaning now means giving up on something you’ve worked way too hard to achieve. I found that the best way to keep your milk supply up at this age is to inform the principal of your child’s school well in advance that you intend to BF at drop off, midmorning snack, before nap, after nap, afternoon snack, and at pickup. If anyone tries to tell you that you can’t nurse during school (YES, this still happens in the US of A!), make sure you look up your state’s laws on breastfeeding in public spaces!!

5. If your child is 9 years or older

You’re entering the golden years of breastfeeding, ladies. Enjoy it! And think of this way – Your babies are about to enter a stage of angst, hatred, hormones and so many awful feelings. How could you possibly take away their most cherished comfort source at this age? I was so afraid that Barleigh would turn into a terrible, moody teenager set on never speaking to her dear mother. But you know what? Scheduled nursing sessions that are planned into her daily agenda have really helped us remain close. She even tells me that she “literally” (don’t you love how they use that word these days?) can’t breathe from all the attention that I give her – so much that she’s suffocating! Can’t get any closer than that!

There you have it, mama! As you can see, there’s really no acceptable time to torture your wee one in the unimaginable ways you originally Googled. And with every SAHM itching to pitch their two cents in the blog-o-sphere, there’s more misinformation than facts! Mommy wars have gotten so rotten these days, so it’s crucial that we stick together to stop spreading these hate-filled lies. I hope this guide has helped you wonder women out there see how absolutely revolting your thoughts on weaning are.

Once you do wean that little miracle, make sure to check out my Facebook page for Rodan + Fields Dermatologist-Created Skincare Products for those trench-sized stretchmarks on your ta-tas and I’ll throw in some Jamberry nail wrap deals!!!

Breast Regards,

Carleigh <3

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