Weaning is bittersweet.
On one hand, I’ve had enough of breast pads, nursing bras, milk storage bags and all the breastfeeding paraphernalia and am looking forward to tossing them into the back of my wardrobe.
I’m raring to finally detach myself from my breast pump, which I have been faithfully toting on my back to and from work, like a turtle carrying its shell.
I’m more than ready to give up washing pump parts over and over again, both in the office restrooms throughout the day and at home, in the dead of the night.
Coco, on the other hand, may miss her playthings once I’m done with them.
My husband, though, is shamelessly looking forward to having his playthings back.
Once they’re weaned, there’s no turning back. It’s the point of no return.
Once off the boob, these babies seem to grow up overnight. Coco watches me curiously when I nurse Claire. When asked whether she would like to drink Mummy’s milk, she smirks – with a smidgen of disdain – shakes her head and announces, “No. For Claire. Coco drinks from bottle.”
Remembering how Coco, as a newborn, would root blindly and helplessly for her only source of food back then, makes me wistful. Somewhere in my heart, a string twangs.
With Coco, I stopped breastfeeding when she turned 6 months old. Mainly because my period hadn’t returned. Having depleted our stock of frozen embryos from our first fresh IVF cycle, we were eager to start trying again soon after. For that to happen, we first needed to get my menstrual cycle back on track.
I’m not completely sure why I’ve set the same 6-month deadline for me and Claire, though. I still haven’t seen any sign of a period yet but it’s not like we’re trying for no.3 anytime soon. Plus, Claire is a breeze to feed. She drains both boobs in minutes flat (literally), sits up and looks around, ready to move on to the next activity. I’m just not a fan of the whole pumping regime, so I have total respect for women who put in the time and effort to continue expressing breast milk beyond 6 months.
Just like how I weaned Coco earlier, I plan to wean Claire before we leave for a vacation in mid-October – without her. Putting some distance between us helps us stick to the plan. In fact, the trip sets an inescapable deadline because caving in and nursing her “just one more time” is simply not an option.
I don’t foresee any difficulties in weaning Claire. She’s accustomed to drinking from the bottle since she was born, and has been on a mix of breast milk and formula ever since she WIPED OUT my entire freezer of expressed breast milk when I was hospitalised for rhabdomyolysis and couldn’t feed her. Since then, my supply has fallen drastically and we have been supplementing her feeds with formula.
Claire shows a huge interest in eating. Her mouth starts moving whenever she sees anyone eat. She makes a grab for food and utensils, and brings them straight to her mouth with uncanny accuracy.
When she turned 5 months old and was strong enough to hold her head upright and sit up (albeit aided), we started giving her tiny amounts of Healthy Times brown rice cereal twice a day. She loved it – and cried for more when the spoon scrapped the bottom of the empty bowl!
Since then, she’s gotten her little gums around mashed banana, Baby Bites (a rice-wafer baby snack), teething rusks (which are kinda hard and tasteless and piss her off because she can’t actually eat them) and we’re slowly introducing more variety into her diet now that she can sit in a high chair.
(Sssshh. Don’t tell Coco that Claire has been sitting in her chair when she’s not home because her parents have been slow to get Claire an IKEA high chair of her own.)
As for me, I’m gradually tuning down my supply by reducing my pumping sessions in the office from twice to once a day. When at home, I manually pump just enough to relieve the pressure and not empty the breast. When Claire wakes at night (which is not often and for this, I am grateful), I try the pacifier and gentle patting before resorting to the boob. So far, it has worked *fingers crossed*
So here we are, at the crossroads, as Claire and I prepare to leave behind this precious and much-treasured time in our relationship and move ahead together to new things and experiences.
I will miss nursing my baby.
As for squeezing onto the MRT with my breast pump strapped to my back, nah, not going to miss that.
Not at all.