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.