March 2010

Just like everything else with parenting, weaning is a hot topic. I’ve heard everything from “forced-weaning is cruel” to “if you don’t get that kid off the breast, he’ll NEVER grow up!”

I’m a rare breed – a scheduler who has opted for extended nursing. Which means that folks on both sides of the fence think I’m either weird or doing irreparable harm to my child. You can’t please everyone, eh?

If you read my earlier post about Jonathan refusing milk from a cup, you know that I was starting to try to wean. Jonathan didn’t approve. So, in desperation, I offered everything from soy milk to Carnation Instant Breakfast to Nestle Quik. Seriously. If you know anything about me, you know that I’m a bit of a health nut and I don’t do things like give my kids Nestle Quik (except on very rare, special occasions!)

Then a friend reminded me that Jonathan IS still a baby and maybe, just MAYBE, he was trying to tell me something. Like, “hey mom…I was a month early and I’ve always been a little needier than my big brother and I’m just not quite ready to stop nursing yet.” Since he can’t actually say all that, maybe that’s what he was trying to tell me when he was hurling cups of milk in my general direction.

Even after two children, I’m still trying to figure out who I am as a mom, and I am for sure trying to figure out who my children are. As I try to figure out those two things, I’m also trying to figure out how to mesh who I am as a parent with who they are as children…and…sigh. It’s a tough job.

Here’s what I know:

While I generally favor teaching children those things that they need to know as adults as quickly as possible (I’m a fan of early potty-training, learning to pick up after themselves, getting dressed, etc.), there are certain things that can’t be forced. Just as you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink, you can give a child a cup of milk but, well, you see my point. And because nursing is both a source of nutrition and comfort to a child, it makes sense to me that those other important life skills may be easier taught if he’s feeling nice and close to me (and isn’t all hopped up on chocolate milk).

And, what is it about weaning before baby is ready that is beneficial? Wouldn’t it be better for me to continue to giving Jonathan his mommy milk than to try to force him to drink Nestle Quik?

James was ready to wean at a year. Jonathan is 18 months old and STILL not ready. And I’m ok with that. Rather than fighting the milk battle I’ve decided to add back the feeding we dropped, continue offering milk in a cup, and let Jonathan give me a hint (like taking sips from his milk cup!) when he’s ready to start weaning.

What I am going to do is be thankful that I have my mommy milk to give him. I am going to ignore those that say I’m babying him or that he’s NEVER going to wean if I don’t do it now. I am going to give my kiddo what he needs because I can. And I’m going to avoid nursing in front of those folks who think it’s gross to nurse a toddler.



So, my intention for this blog has been to share my motherly/housewiferly wisdom with the world. Like everyone else, however, I’m learning as I go. And I’ve hit a roadblock.

Jonathan, my 19-month-old is still breastfeeding, which is fine. I’m to the point when I want to begin weaning (I’ve actually dropped his lunchtime feeding already), but the child WILL NOT drink anything but water from a cup. I am hesitant to continue trying to wean when I can’t get him to drink milk from a cup, but I know we’re going to have to face this eventually, so…

Here’s what we’ve tried: cow’s milk, breast milk, vanilla soy milk, chocolate milk, warmed, cold, straw cups, sippy cups, Nuby cups, big-boy cups, not allowing him to leave the table unless he drinks his milk, getting big brother to “share” his milk, not allowing him any other beverage but his usual nursing and milk from a cup (which, by the way, leads to a thirsty child screaming, taking one sip of milk, and then throwing the cup at me while continuing to cry). I am at a loss.

He will drink water from a cup, no problem. He actually bypassed the sippy cup and just went straight to a straw cup. He will, especially at the end of a long fighting-over-the-milk-day, literally CHUG an entire cup of water. But after one sip of milk, he turns up his nose and throws the cup. Sigh…

I need help. Please tell me that someone else has been here! Really the only non-option is not giving him milk at all. I’ve read that milk isn’t “necessary,” and that you can supplement a child’s diet with other foods to make up for the lack of milk, but Jonathan is also a very picky eater. I am a big fan of milk (chocolate milk is actually my post-running recovery beverage – milk really DOES do a body good!!), so just not giving him milk is not something I’m willing to try. But anything else…ANYTHING!

At this point I’m putting weaning on hold until we get him accepting milk from a cup, so the quicker we come up with something, the better.

The lesson I have taken from all this, by the way, is that our next little Oliver will be getting cow’s milk at 12 months even though I still plan to breastfeed past the first year. Little did I know that it’s important for kiddos to get used to the taste of milk long before they really need to drink it!