Excerpt from Lady's Hands, Lion's Heart, A Midwife's Saga ~ #41

Carol Leonard's picture

My own baby is growing up. Milan is two years old when
Valerie and I are at a staff meeting at the Health Center and
decide it is definitely time to wean our sons. We are listening
to our coworkers struggle with a consensus decision about
some piddling thing or other. It is hard to concentrate on the
discussion. Our boys are at the breast but are still playing and
kicking each other and laughing and generally screwing around
instead of nursing quietly. Milan loves to nurse and is usually
fairly serious about it, but Ammon, who is a week older than
Milan, has always been Destructo Boy. Now, he is rubbernecking
at Milan, but he is still at Valerie’s breast. He turns around to get
104 Carol Leonard
Milan’s attention without letting go. He stretches her nipple as
far as possible in order to poke Milan.
“God, Valerie, your nipple looks like a quahog neck,” I say
She groans. “OK, that’s it. I’ve had it with this. I’m tired of
being a cow. I want my body back.” She rolls her beautiful Latina
eyes. “Let’s go to the La Leche League meeting tomorrow night
to find out the best way to wean these guys.”
I admire the work done by the La Leche League in promoting
the global resurgence of breastfeeding. I agree to go.
The mothers at the LLL meeting are sitting in a circle, saying
their introductions. When it is our turn, we state that we are
there for information on how to wean our sons. The women
gasp in horror. Uh-oh. I suddenly get that we have come to the
wrong place and definitely have said the wrong thing. The LLL
women state that they believe children should nurse freely until
they wean themselves.
I think, "Yeah, right. At this rate, Milan’s going to want a nip of
ta-ta before he goes to the junior prom."
There are more disapproving statements until I begin to feel
as if we have accidentally mentioned infanticide instead.
“Oh, great idea, Chiquita,” I mutter. “Let’s get out of here.”
Chagrined, we head for the kitchen and the little tea
sandwiches and cookies. Valerie nods at the back door. We slip
silently out the door to the backyard.
“Hey, Val, we’re getting pretty good at this,” I whisper.
Just then, the resident backyard dog, who is chained to
his doghouse, lunges at us, snapping and snarling viciously.
Swearing, we duck under some clothes drying on the line. We
slink down the side driveway to the car, as every dog in the
neighborhood howls at our departure.
Valerie decides to wean gradually, but I know Milan and I
have to go cold turkey. It is all or nothing with this child. He is
no longer nursing for nutritional value; it is solely for comfort
Lady’s Hands, Lion’s Heart 105
and nurturing. The first night I deny him, I read him a bedtime
story, rub his back until he is nodding off, “forget” to nurse him,
and tiptoe out of his room. He screams for ten hours as though
being murdered. I am a shaking, sweating, hysterical wreck.
Several times I almost relent, but I know we will just have to go
through this all over again.
At dawn, he stops crying suddenly. I sneak outside and look
in his window. He has fallen asleep on his knees, holding on
to the railing of his crib, with his face pressed against the oak
spindles, as though doing time.
I sit on the lawn and weep silently. Mother guilt is a powerful
thing. Had I known then that I would never nurse another baby,
I would have gladly nursed him until the prom.
~ Carol Leonard, Copyright 2008, Bad Beaver Publishing


ascedarleaf's picture

so bitter sweet this motherhood gig...

The heart has its reasons whereof Reason knows nothing.
- Blaise Pascal

The heart has its reasons whereof Reason knows nothing.
- Blaise Pascal

freakinchillmom's picture

I'm wondering if it's time for my boy to be weaned- he's 2 1/2, and chooses which breast he wants: "that one!" The other day he leaned in close, put his ear to my nipple, and said, "hello, hello?". I'm a little afraid that if I don't wean him before this baby's born (in ~9 weeks), he'll hate his new sibling for stealing my breasts from him.

punkmama's picture
Submitted by punkmama on

that was great. you know, my little boy fired me, just full on quit nursing on his own, way too soon for me (13-14 months), and while i consoled myself at the time (and still) that "at least i didn't have to wean him", i still miss it so much, you know, at least in theory! haha. great story!

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

“You have your way. I have my way. As for the right way, the correct way, and the only way, it does not exist.”

Friedrich Nietzsche

Creatress's picture
Submitted by Creatress on

Oh, man. We're at this point. H is nearly two, and we only nurse before bed, but even then sometimes she just wants to d*ck around and it's very uncomfortable. I want my body back. This reiterated that it is time, but now that we're down to only one feeding a day, it's cold-turkey time, and with the flood/evacuation transition, I'm going to wait a few weeks, but GEEZE. If nothing else, she'll have to just wean when I go to my best friend's wedding and she stays at Gamma and Papa's house for three days or whatnot. When I come back, we're definitely not nursing anymore, period.

24/MN. Queer, veg, single, AP mama to DD1.5

25/MN and WA. Queer, veg, single, AP mama to DD2.5.