Let Them Be
The issue of weaning is something that continues even past breastfeeding. As a “good” parent you’re supposed to wean your child off pacifiers, bottles and milk in the middle of the night. As the good parent I am (yes, I’m gonna own that one!), I of course was concerned with weaning Brayden off his bottle, and I especially wanted to do it before he turned two (that’s the deadline-oriented person in me… always setting
unrealistic goals for myself). With Zackery weaning was easy. He took a sippy cup (and the bottle for that matter) no problem, and could care less where his milk was coming from, as long as he was getting it. He didn’t care if it was warm or ice cold straight from the fridge. Brayden, on the other hand, was a bit more picky (this certainly cannot be a genetic trait – ha!).
As his birthday rapidly approached, and amongst the chaos of our move, I hadn’t really come up with a plan or schedule (yes, schedules RULE) of how and when to start the weaning process. When my In-Laws were visiting in May, my husband and I just randomly began giving Brayden his milk out in the living room with big brother Zack (in hopes to at least be able to brush his teeth after all his milk). It kinda worked, but he still wanted that dark, snuggle time with his bottle in his room. I don’t blame him. The timing was probably not the best, and it wasn’t even really something we “planned” out, we just did it, and eventually he got the idea. No milk after we brush our teeth.
I think part of what helped Brayden with that transition and change in his bed time routine was watching Zack. He adores his brother (sometimes to a fault) and wants to do everything big brother does. So when we explained that Zack doesn’t have milk after he brushes his teeth, well then Brayden decided it was okay for him to have the same routine. He loves brushing, so now I feel better that the brushing is actually doing what it’s supposed to! And the dentist will thank me. 🙂
The next step was weaning him from the bottle to a sippy cup. Surprisingly enough, he mostly did this himself. It was another case of “I want to be just like big brother.” Zack had a cool sippy cup with his milk, and Brayden wanted the same thing. I remember the day it happened (not the date, but I probably wrote it on the calendar!). I was getting Brayden’s milk ready for his nap. He still gets milk after lunch and before nap. I put cold milk right into his bottle, and he pushed it away saying “No, Mommy.” I offered it again, and again he refused. I asked him if he wanted a sippy, and he said (very enthusiastically) “Yes!” I asked him if he wanted his bottle at all anymore, and he declared “No.” So, that was the last of the bottle. I put him down for his nap, washed the last bottle and set them aside to give away. Weaning done, and oh how easy it was!
It’s funny, all this stressing I did (or used to do) was really pointless. I guess it’s different with your first child, and probably each child is different all on their own anyway. Brayden turned two last week, and he’s been off the bottle for almost three weeks. In fact, it was the week we moved that he weaned himself. Yes, I said it correctly, he weaned himself. He decided when he was ready. He let me know that he wanted to be a big boy. And can I say, how easy and welcoming that entire experience was for both of us. There was no struggling, no feeling like I was depriving him, and he got to feel proud and all grown up.
Brayden has been such a blessing to me in so many ways. Aside from the obvious fact of just pure life, Brayden has taught me to just let go. It was the same way with the breastfeeding early on, and then the night wakings and finally sleeping through the night. I just let him lead the way. I decided that I would let him tell me when he was ready for transitioning. It was hard for me to release control of everything and not do things “by the book,” but the more I let myself just be there, present with him, the easier things got for both of us.
I could go on and on about the lessons he taught me and the ways I realized he was ready for something new, but instead I will just leave it at this: Our children are amazing, beautiful, smart, intuitive beings. If we observe them, listen to them, remain present with them and guide them, they will do what’s right for them. So what if your child doesn’t compare to the child next door. SO WHAT? Every child is different. Every child has different needs, and every child will reach their milestones at different times. It doesn’t matter. What does matter is that they are healthy, you are healthy, and that you love each other.
I say, let them be.
Posted on July 6, 2012, in Milestones and Development and tagged baby milestones, being present, bottle, boys, family, growing up, happy, mommy, parenting, stay-at-home Mom, weaning. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.