Friday, July 20, 2012

Confessions of a Closet Nurser

For about a year now, I have been a "closet nurser".  Each night, my almost 3 year old wants to nurse at night to fall asleep.  Most everyone assumes he's been weaned for a long time...but he hasn't. It's a topic that raises lots of debate.  (And, no, he does not nurse in army fatigues standing on a stool!  That Time cover was offensive and made extended nursing seem dirty...and that's not true at all!)

Luke has been a very attached child from day 1.  He had no interest in baby food at all at 6 or 7 or 8 months.  He just started on soft table foods eventually.  Thankfully, I have an ample milk supply and he was always a healthy, chubby baby!

Luke continued being an avid nurser as he reached the one year milestone.  He was also a lousy sleeper and would wake up several times at night and want to nurse for a few minutes before falling back to sleep.  Luke has always been emotionally needy and very attached to mommy...literally and figuratively!

When Luke was 19 months old I got pregnant with Kate.  Luke still had no interest in weaning.  My exhaustion and "morning" sickness..I don't know why they call it that since it lasts all day?...pushed me to at least start weaning Luke.  No more nursing on demand.  I weaned him to nursing only at nap time and at bedtime.  Around his second birthday, Luke gave up his nap so we were down to nursing only at bedtime for a few minutes until he fell asleep.  He was still waking up at night but he only got water!  But I still didn't get him to the point of giving up nursing before Kate was born.

Have you ever watched the movie "Grown Ups".  There's a scene where a little boy is nursing and the boy's father is asked, "How old is he?"  And the father answers, "48 months" to which his surprised friends answer, "That's four years old!"

For the last several months, every time Luke nursed before bed one of my teenagers asked, "What is he, Mom, 48 months?"  Smart alacks!

I wanted to wean him but I also didn't want him to feel rejected or jealous because the baby was nursing.  I wanted him to wean when he was ready....but I've been ready.  If I wasn't home, he would snuggle with Sarah or Jay and fall asleep.  The last two nights he fell asleep without me.  If I am home, it is a different story....until tonight.

Tonight Luke watched trucks working for a while on Jay's phone.  Tonight I brushed Luke's teeth and he climbed up on the recliner.  He mentioned nursing once...but I got him some water...and he didn't ask again. No tears, no tantrums.  I gave him a pillow and within a few minutes he was asleep.

My little boy has reached another milestone.  
I'm a little sad.  
But I am ready....and so is he!