I think the time has come to night wean my daughter. She is nearly 9 months old and totally addicted to breastfeeding. This in itself is not a problem; she is just a baby and breastfeeding is so much of her world – comfort, sustenance, connection, security. Addiction to breastfeeding has naturally led to us co-sleeping, which is also in itself not a problem. Snuggling and snoozing next to a warm, sleepy baby is pretty great, after all. Seeing the smile on her face when she forces my eyes open at 5am almost makes it worth it. Spending all night crunched up in one place isn’t so hot, but the aches and pains just sort of merge into the general blarg of parenthood.
I’m happy to carry on breastfeeding for a while yet – it’s going well and thus my life is made easier by having all this comfort on tap. I fed my son till he was 13 months old and it was no problem at all. We were fortunate in this.
However, my daughter is quite a different creature to my son. He took a dummy; she would not. He took a bottle; she will not. When he woke in the night at 9mo, often as not you could soothe him back to sleep with some shushing and patting. Try that on Baby Bones and you might as well be shushing a fire alarm. One that’s attached to an angry octopus. She knows what she wants and she’s not afraid of speaking her mind.
So, while I value those qualities in my child and hope she carries them on into adulthood, I would also appreciate the chance to live my own life after dark now and again. I haven’t been to a gig in over two years. Mr Bones and I have spent about three hours in each other’s company sans children since she was born. My best friend has been living abroad for more than a year and I haven’t been over to visit her once. And there is a further factor in this decision: Baby Bones is on the cusp of crawling. Once that starts for real, no way can i have her sharing my bed every night, because she will be crawling over the edge before I can say ‘blarg’. Plus, I will need all my energy to manage her movements during the day., since her most desired objects include hot cups of tea, sharp knives, loops of string and my (fragile, expensive) specs.
So here we go. No more night feeding. It is the right thing for us at this time. But…seeing her chubby starfish hand reach out for reassurance last night as she snoozed by my side, there was a certain amount of grit-in-eye sorrow at moving on.