Bye bye baby

The time has come. Weaning time. But it is bittersweet, as weaning always is for me. I love the closeness, yet I resent the being tied and demanded of to this extent. I never want it to end on a bad note, nothing drastic. We will follow our own internal timetables. But I know the sadness will come, and the hormones will slump. There will be tears as well as relief. One of the final chords of babyhood, our intimate physical connection, will be cut. Not visible like the umbilical chord, the first cutting, but just as real.

She doesn’t need milk any more, she can eat caterpillars with a fork now!

As this is my last baba the feeling is even harder. This will be my last feed ever. But I am not prepared to go on and on, just for fear of this sadness. But the tears are rolling now. It is always a big step. And I know from friends who have weaned at seven months, two and a half years or four and a half, this bittersweet is always there. The visceral tug of the heart strings. I do not think that extending this will dissipate that sadness. It is inevitable. That is the nature of weaning.

But I am giving myself permission to, and ask that you respect this. I am not looking for people to encourage me to feed longer. I need to bring my energy back for myself, I am so drained and constant feeding and night waking is draining me beyond my capacity. She is 16 months. She has had a good stretch. My other two were 25 months and 16 months when I weaned them. In hindsight 25 months was too long for me. I feel comfortable that I have give them each a great start in life, but I do not need to be so tied to them. I feel a change of energy in feeding as they enter the toddler zone, a level of control that comes from their need to feed. A need I would prefer to meet in cuddles and kisses and other forms of togetherness.

I have made a decision to have an “end of baby celebration” when we wean, a kind of naming party – as we don’t christen our babas. We will bury her placenta ( which is still in the freezer) and re name her- she has been “baby Ash” since she was born. When I stop feeding her she will become her full name, Aisling (which means dream or vision in Irish), to mark her move out of babyhood and into little-girl-dom, and as a way of marking our movement out of being parents to babies for the past six years.

Baby curls – oh how a mama’s heart loves baby curls!

We will take each day at a time, it may be two weeks or two months hence. But I feel the change coming. She is more and more like a little girl every day – solid, cheeky, playing with the family, words and communication are tumbling out to surprise us almost daily. She is leaving her baby days behind and this is one more step on that road. I hope this ritual will help us all move forward in celebration and give us a chance to process our sadness. It will symbolise another step on our journey as parents, for us as a family, with three children, rather than two and a baby. And it will be a special day for Aisling, our sweet dream, herself.

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