Wednesday, 27 February 2013

To Wean Or Not To Wean?

Those of you who have been following the blog for a while will know that I suffer from chronic pain. It's of unknown origin, so far untreatable, and a complete pain - literally! Haha. So far I've been pretty determined not to let my condition negatively impact my daily life with Bean (although of course it does in small ways all the time), but then recently the question of weaning came up.

Since Bean was born and I began breastfeeding I've always seen weaning as something far off on the horizon way into the distant future. It's funny because in the very beginning I didn't plan to breastfeed for more than a year max! But then towards the end of the first year people would ask me when I would stop and I would say "oh...sometime in the next 6 months." And that's been my response ever since! Now I'm almost at the end of my second year breast feeding Bean and I would very happily keep going another 6 months! I love doing it, and I love what it gives to our relationship.

However, as my illness began to get progressively worse when Bean was around 18 months old my husband and I were forced to consider the idea of weaning. We ultimately decided to wait till she turned 2, because I felt that I could manage till then and I'd always held 2 years as some kind of breast feeding milestone in my mind. The immune system is fully functional by 2 years of age, and the World Heath Organization recommends breast feeding for at least 2 years for optimal physical and emotional health of both mother and child. Of course, now Bean is almost 23 months old with her birthday looming right around the corner...and I know in my heart, as much as I hate it, that we need to go ahead with our agreed plan.

There is absolutely no part of me that wants to wean her yet, but I'm at the point where I need to take stronger medications to manage my day to day and I think it better if she weren't exposed to them long term. So here we are. Not where I wanted to be, but here nonetheless. And I'm going to do everything I can to make the weaning process as gentle and honoring as possible, both for Bean and for myself. I will share it all with you here, and hopefully any of you who find yourselves where we are (for whatever reason) will take heart, conformation and perhaps some inspiration from our journey.

Wish us luck!

B xx

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