All the biting Finn's been doing lately has finally led me to the conclusion that he's ready to wean. Actually, it was Sue, my midwife/friend who helped me see the light. We were on the phone the other night and she was offering suggestions on how to deal with Finn's biting, and she finally asked me, "Does he cry to be nursed?" And I said in a small voice, ". . . no." She said, "He's a smart boy, Lisa! He knows what he wants. He's trying to tell you that he's ready to stop nursing."
Ahhhh, it hit me squarely in the heart. I knew as soon as she said it that she was right.
It's so fraught with emotion for me. Finn and I overcame so many breastfeeding hurdles early on - I still look back sometimes and am amazed that we were able to make it work. There was the delay in establishing breastfeeding because of his surgery; there were the nipple shields and lactation consultants and, oh god! the supplemental nursing system! There was all the anxiety over his struggle to gain weight. But we stuck it out and made it work and eventually established a beautiful nursing relationship, and Finn thrived.
And now it's over. He hasn't nursed for several days.
I wasn't ready for this. I really, really thought that this was just a speed bump and that we would struggle through it. I really thought I would nurse Finn for quite a while longer. I envisioned nursing him longer than any of my other babies - at least until he's two! Because after all, he has Down syndrome, he's more of a baby, he's more dependent . . . right? Wrong, apparently.
So I'm feeling sad. But also celebrating his desire to be a big boy.
The task now is to get him drinking from a vessel other than a boob. And in all honesty, that's not going so well. I really can't say if it's developmental on his part, or stubbornness, or what, but he fights anything I put in his mouth - straw, sippy, open cup, we've even resorted to trying a bottle. He fights them all equally. So I worry about his fluid intake, and therefore I am going to continue to pump for a while and make sure he gets some of the good stuff mixed with his food. So far this is working well enough to keep him hydrated - he's still pooping and peeing okay, which I take as the telling signs.