It's such a debate these days. You know, the whole how-long-are-you-going-to-nurse-him debate. "Common sense" in America says one year. And thus begins the weaning process, usually between 6-9 months depending on the family and their lifestyle. Insert sippy cups, pumping, and cutting out feedings all for the sake of staying "on track." If I know anything about me though it's that I am not a status quo. And, as I am finding, neither is Adrian. He is such a sweet little peanut, and still so much our baby. Several months ago, I nonchalantly introduced the sippy cup (meaning, whenever my scatterbrained mind happened to remember it.) At first he only liked the leaky one that he didn't have to work much for! (Imagine that?!) But now he is fine with the one that won't spill all over tarnation if he happens to throw it (which he likes to do often.) I have never had a set feeding schedule with him, and on-demand has worked a lot better with our lifestyle. Now that he has solids it's easier too to fill in the feeding gaps with a snack and water if I'm not there or am busy. So, the plan? Introduce the sippy? Check. Eliminate some feedings? Check, I guess? It happens some of the time, but to be honest, it's easier to just breastfeed him instead of trying to get a snack ready. (Did you know that babies get all the nutrients they need from breastmilk? They don't really "need" all the food doctors and others push. Check out this fantastic article here written by a professional on that.) This all left me with mixed feelings. To start weaning now, or to just wait and see what Adrian did?
I am a firm believer in doing something for a week, seeing how it's going, and reevaluating. Why torture yourself with something that just isn't a fit for your family or needs tweaked some to continue working well? Or else, just to regroup and remotivate! I gave this a little more than a week though, just to see how things would go. I contemplated switching to just pumping and giving Adrian bottles to transition off of. Except he won't take them if I'm around. And then my pump sucked milk in and won't work now (I still need to call Medela on that one...) And then Adrian started teething full force and is wanting extra snuggles and sucking, which I don't mind at all. It just kindof puts a kink in the whole weaning plan.
I started thinking, what if we weren't worried about doing anything by a year and just did it gradually? What if we did what works for us? I don't think Adrian is really quite ready. And all that would mean less stress. (Since when was this parenting thing about being on a timeline anyways?) I mean, in all fairness, it's important to have balance. Sometimes kids need a nudge. What would happen if we just let them lead the entire way? They'd never face what makes them afraid or uncomfortable and you don't want them to end up in a bubble, not willing to face anything unpleasant. But at the same time, shoving them off the cliff to "sink or swim" might not be the best approach either (or close to it.) Our role is as parents, not best friends, and while it's important to maintain that, we need to make sure we are listening to our kids. She might not be ready for an overnight sleepover yet. He might not be ready for soccer yet this year. She might not be ready for potty training quite yet even though all her little friends had it nailed three months ago. He might have a deeper reason he won't have anything to do with pets (allergies? unrealistic fear of being bit? A special needs that isn't diagnosed yet?)
I'm realizing that while the stage and expectations have been set to stay "on track", that this is really just such a loose idea (after all, kids aren't cookie cutter alike!) we need to do (realistically) what works for us. For us, this means holding off a little longer on the whole weaning thing. It'll come. (Probably sometime next year?) For now though, in all of life's craziness, I am going to throw off the nagging feelings of guilt and celebrate what our own status quo and normal is. And, because my mama heart so needs this; this special bond only happens once and I fully intend to enjoy it just a little longer. The status quo doesn't know our sweet babies and kiddos and what they need.
Today, celebrate and take confidence in what makes up your own "normal", whatever way that might be(later bedtimes than "normal", no set schedule on Saturdays, watching movies all day on the weekends, ice cream for breakfast, blankies for alot longer than they "need" and so on), because from it so much security and memories and joy will come!