Operation Oscar Mayer: The Weanee Bites Back

8 09 2008

I swore that when this day came, things were going to change. Fast. But I do that all the time – swear up and down that things are going to change, and then the only thing that ends up changing is my mind. Completely. Some people might call that flakiness. I like to think of it as fluidity. Flexibility. Wisdom.

Squiggles cut her first tooth yesterday. So far, it’s just a jagged little saw blade of white jutting from her lower gum on the right side, but it’s there. And it’s growing. I can tell because she is bursting into tears at the drop of a toy, and she’s sleeping less and accosting my boobs more. I swore that when she cut her first tooth, I was officially done with breastfeeding. Actually, the original start date for Operation Oscar Mayer – the code name, so Squiggles does not catch on and start a war, because I don’t have time to quash a mashed squash rebellion right now – was September 3rd. With Neener and Roo in school, Mr. sliding into his role of stay-at-home dad, and me parked at the computer shaking my money maker, and occasionally banging it on the desk, for several hours a day, I figured it would be the perfect time to push for that next level of personal freedom: freedom for the boobs. I’m pretty sure the boobs are the reason Squiggles still wakes up a couple of times a night. I’m pretty sure the boobs are the reason she gets antsy if I’m gone for longer than a couple of hours at a time. And I’m pretty sure that if it weren’t for the boobs, Squiggles would be a ruthless tyrant rather than a benevolent dictator. But I had myself convinced that the time had come for Squiggles and my breasts to go their separate ways. Mostly because I was dying to get out of these trap-door nursing bras and back to my good ol’ padded underwire push-’em-up pop-’em-out bras again. So, 21st century mother that I am, I hit the internet looking for Ten Easy Ways to Get Your Baby Off Your Boobs. And here’s what I learned: there are, in fact, NO easy ways to get your baby off your boobs. At least none that don’t cause profound emotional trauma for mother and child, and thus dramatically increase the possibility that your baby will seek even more profound revenge. Think incessant screaming, head-butts, eye gouging and hair pulling, followed by rice cereal catapults and nuclear diaper explosions. Most of the advice I came across was aimed at weaning babies who are nursed exclusively, which Squiggles is not. For sanity’s sake, I never approached breastfeeding as an all-or-nothing deal, so, telling me to slowly cut back nursing sessions to two or three a day was not helpful. That’s pretty much where we are right now, give or take. And pointing out how babies also use breastfeeding for comfort, and that if you try to take that comfort away abruptly and suddenly you risk really messing with your baby’s little mind…well, that wasn’t very helpful either. At least not for the part of me set on weaning Squiggles ASAP. But, it may have done Squiggles a world of good. After much careful consideration, I’ve decided that I’m in no hurry to pry my nipple from my baby’s dear little mouth. Even though that dear little mouth is erupting with little pearly white nipple chompers.

My reasoning is this: I like non-screaming, non-hostile babies. I also like being able to comfort, feed, and make my tired Squiggles conk out in 30 seconds flat with parts of my body that, until I saw them in action, I was never really all that crazy about. And, I am a bit of a rebellious shit disturber. My favourite part of breastfeeding, apart from the general convenience and super hero-like status to which it has elevated me, is shocking people. Or at least trying to, since no one actually seems to be shocked and appalled by the sight of a woman breastfeeding a baby anymore. But I’m just waiting for someone to give me a sideways glance, or better yet a stupid comment about me breastfeeding in public, so I can calmly remove my nipple from Squiggles’s mouth and squirt that person square in the eye with a stream of breast milk. Juuuuust waiting.

Yes, I take great pleasure in doing things that catch people off guard. People including myself. I never really considered myself the type to nurse a baby til the age of two, but you just never know. I’ve changed my tactics in Operation Oscar Mayer. I think I’ll give Squiggles the control she so desperately wants and needs in this. It’s the concept of “baby-led weaning,” which means trusting Squiggles to decide when she’s ready to become the weanee. My push-’em-up pop-’em-out bras can wait. But, I also reserve the right to change my mind again, as the tooth population is Squiggles’s mouth grows. It’s all fun and games until somebody gets their nipple chomped. And there you have it. Fluidity. Flexibility. But most of all, wisdom.

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3 responses

10 09 2008
Lisa

I thought I already posted here…my friend who blogs just wrote a similar post and I know breastfeeding is parts emotional and physiological in addition to the physical.

You and Squiggles will know when to part ways. Good luck!

11 09 2008
isis

Good luck with everything! (And may I just commend you on your writing–amazing blog, all around.)

20 09 2008
Lisa

I’m toying with the idea of weaning Stefan. He no longer nurses at night –after 18 months of that, and working full-time, I just couldn’t keep getting up twice a night every night, so Winston took over getting Stefan back to sleep. But he’s got a mouth full of teeth, and has been nipping lately as he drifts off to sleep. And tonight it wasn’t just a nip. I screamed, which woke him up. And makes nursing almost pointless. Nathan nicely weaned himself at almost 24 months –when I was just pregnant with Stefan. Stefan is showing no sign of losing interest at 24 months. And my nursing bras are almost worn through. Sigh.

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