I tried. I really did. Despite my tears. But I failed.
I previously shared our intention to wean Immy from her midday breastfeed as my DH was on holidays and could help me settle her at sleep time without the feeding part of her routine. I knew it would be a hard task but I had no idea how hard.
On day 1 she had a tantrum and was crying and calling for me. My DH stayed with her, consoling her until she fell asleep, exhausted as we had had a busy morning. At the same time, I was sobbing in the lounge room, feeling completely devastated. I kept trying to tell myself it was just one feed (of three) but it felt wrong, she was so upset and couldn’t understand why she was being denied something that she has enjoyed her whole life.
Day 2 saw more of the same for both of us, lots and lots of tears. Day 3 she cried less and did not have a tantrum but it took a long time for her to go to sleep. Day 4 she was very tired but oh, so difficult to get down. Day 5 was much better, she fussed much less.
Day 6 was the first day I tried to put her to sleep as DH was heading back to work in two days and we wanted to see how she would go if I put her down. Amazingly, she did well. But it was not to last.
Day 8 we were back to lots of fussing, which started as soon as she knew we were heading to her room to get ready for sleep time. She has not resisted her daytime nap since she went to one sleep. Usually she is really ready for it.
Day 9 saw more nap time resistance and 45 minutes of tanties, protesting, crying and fidgeting in the cot before she fell asleep face down. And then she only slept for 50 minutes not her usual 1 1/2-2 hours.
And from there it just got worse. Longer to put down and only sleeping for one sleep cycle before waking up really upset and once again asking for her ‘booba.’ As well, she started asking for ‘booba’ at other times (which she has not done before) and she was stretching out her morning and evening feeds as long as possible.
Finally on Day 12, I decided enough was enough. I was getting tired and emotional trying to settle her. I was getting nothing done during nap time as she was sleeping for such a short time. She was getting emotional going down and on waking and would stay that way for much of the afternoon as she was so tired. I gave in and we are back to breastfeeding three times a day.
I know she doesn’t need it for nutritional reasons anymore but I think her emotional health is just as important and emotionally she just isn’t ready yet. Yes, I am tied to her three times a day. No, I can’t yet go away for a girls weekend. Yes, sometimes sitting there whilst she is feeding I do wish someone else could take a turn. No, I don’t want to become an earth mother feeding a four year old child. But this is what I signed up for. I believe motherhood is about putting my child’s needs before my own. I hope it won’t be too much longer until she is ready. But until she is you will find us together morning, noon and night.