Last week was International Breastfeeding Week and little Kaiju turned 30 months old. We’re deep into the Terrible Twos and heading towards the Threeanger stage at full speed! It also looks like we’re saying goodbye to boob life at 30 months. And, I’m not exactly sure how I feel about that.
Weaning in Japanese is called 卒乳 (sotsunyuu), “graduating from the boob,” and there’s something comforting about the term. After all, in life, graduation is not an end, but the beginning of something new, a new life stage.
Before we move on to that next stage, I think I want to savor the memories of these 30 months for just a bit… Because even when I look back on the newborn stage and those late nights, it wasn’t that bad.
From the first time she latched at the birth clinic, breastfeeding was a relatively smooth process for us. It helped that my birth clinic encouraged nursing with daily “classes,” but exclusive breastfeeding was never pushed onto us mothers.
It also helped that she was born in mid-winter. When faced with the option of getting out of a warm bed (or futon, in my case) to bottle feed a baby in her crib, co-sleeping and nursing just seemed to be the logical solution.
As the weather warmed and little Kaiju and I took to exploring Tokyo, I never hesitated to nurse in public. After all, would I dare disturb the “wa” or public harmony with cries of a hangry baby? I think not! Little old grandmas always encouraged me when they noticed I was nursing in public. I never noticed any strange stares, mainly because I was too fixated on little Kaiju.
At 10 months, she started daycare (attached to my kindergarten) 1-2 days a week , and I rarely took advantage of the opportunity to nurse at work, mainly because she hardly ever asked for milk!
Night weaning did trouble, but I realized that I shouldn’t push her to wean. Even though I wanted it to be over. I gradually* went from nursing to sleep, to nursing before bedtime, to not even bothering to nurse at all by distracting with story time and games. By this time, we were down to nursing in the morning and/or after school.
*By gradually, I mean 3-4 months!
And now, at 30 months, little Kaiju is showing less interest in milky time and only nurses when irritable. Or, should I say I gladly offer the boob at night when she’s super itchy and I can’t take the crying anymore.
During our recent visit to the US, the boob was a lifesaver when getting her to calm down and sleep on the plane. Nursing also helped me put her to bed when I tried to her to adjust to the time difference and daylight savings time.
Even though our journey has been easy, physiologically for me, it’s been exhausting. I’m all touched out and ready to reclaim my body, the first step in my wagamama journey.
At the same time, I can’t help but feel guilty for rushing her if she’s not emotionally ready to take this leap. I noticed that the more I try to free myself from her, the more she clings onto me.
Which is why we’re saying goodbye to boob life at 30 months… but we haven’t thrown in the towel yet.
In the meantime, I’m ready for the next step — potty training. After then I’ll be shipping her off to her own room to sleep in her big girl bed once I find a suitable one. The crib we converted to a bed is now too short to accommodate her ridiculously long legs.