Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Day 86: Was that It?

It's been about a week since the last pacifier bit the dust, and all the mayhem I predicted has yet to hit. A couple days with no nap, a few with significantly (and cheerfully) delayed naps, and not a single hiccup at bedtime. That was it.

What an amazing validation of the choice we made to let him outgrow his need rather than forcing him to separate from something we chose to give him for comfort in the first place.

It's almost surreal to think back to the tearful phone call I made to my mom when Jackson was just two weeks old. I was devastated because I had to give him the dreaded pacifier. I was supposed to be his comfort, not some cold piece of silicone. But with my outrageous oversupply problem giving him a painfully gassy tummy, I had no choice but to offer him comfort somewhere else - in my arms, but not at my breast. It was heartbreaking.

Six months later I had gotten over the feeling of failure that came every time I popped the paci in his mouth and my milk supply had finally evened out. But by that time he was so used to it - and so was I - that taking it away didn't seem right. I knew he was attached enough that it would be a struggle, and one not worth fighting (although talk to me again in 10 years when I'm paying his orthodontist). So we ended up letting him lead the way.

If I'm honest, I'm just glad it didn't take another two years! For a while I thought maybe he'd be taking it to college with him. But I'm so glad we respected his need while it lasted and have been able to give him what little support he needed through the incredibly smooth transition that came when he outgrew it.

And despite what I'm sure my family must think, weaning from the breast will happen before college too. Seeing how easily and painlessly we were able to walk through it with the pacifier only makes me more confident that child-led weaning is the right choice.

He will outgrow the need to nurse someday, and when he does I'll be sad and proud all at the same time. Sad that such a special part of our relationship will have come to an end, but proud that I respected and met his needs so completely for so long and proud that he will have grown confident enough in our relationship and himself to venture out into the world without needing the security of nursing. But hopefully we won't cross that bridge for quite a while.

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