"Wean Me Gently"
by Cathy Cardall
I know I look so big to you,
Maybe I seem too big for the needs I have.
But no matter how big we get,
We still have needs that are important to us.
I know that our relationship is growing and changing,
But I still need you. I need your warmth and closeness,
Especially at the end of the day
When we snuggle up in bed.
Please don't get too busy for us to nurse.
I know you think I can be patient,
Or find something to take the place of a nursing -
A book, a glass of something,
But nothing can take your place when I need you.
Sometimes just cuddling with you,
Having you near me is enough.
I guess I am growing and becoming independent,
But please be there.
This bond we have is so strong and so important to me,
Please don't break it abruptly.
Wean me gently,
Because I am your
And my heart is tender.
*editing is mine
Last night as my husband was rocking our daughter to sleep, he had a breakthrough moment. Our little girl's sorrowful cries pierced his heart and he decided that we did not need to rush her in the weaning process. "She can take her time growing up," he said. We have been trying to gently nudge her to give up her nighttime ninnie a little bit faster than she is ready by having Robbie rock her to sleep instead of me. He couldn't stand even five minutes of Lily's poor little broken-hearted cries and sniffles. It was the sweetest moment. What was a moment of embarrassment to him was a feeling of pride for me. I was so proud of his breakthrough!
You see, we have been having a funny little argument that it is time for Lily to wean. She is nearly 19 months old, and, well, according to Robbie, it's time. I have done very little to persuade him to come to the "extended breastfeeding" side. I have just said, "We'll just see what she has to say about that." At the same time that he has been pressuring me, albeit, very teensy weensy pressure, to wean, he coos, "Give her ninnie, " at the slightest indication that Lily is interested. Mixed signals?
As Robbie was having his breakthrough moment, I thought of this poem and how it could be his voice saying these words. This breastfeeding journey has not just been Lily and me. Robbie is the third member of this breastfeeding triad. He is our protector and our advocate. He is our support. Any time I needed to feed our baby, no matter where it was, whether it was at the mall or at Schlitterbahn, he sat beside us as our protector. He had that "I dare you to say something" look about him as Lily and I nursed. At least that's how it seemed. No one ever bothered us when Robbie was around. Come to think of it, no one ever bothered us ever. The only people to approach us as I was nursing Lily were women who were nothing but complimentary and encouraging.
He is our advocate. He made sure that our family knew that we were a breastfeeding family and that was that. He made sure that it was clear that Lily was not to receive solids before six months and with his matter-of-fact way about him, there was no arguing with it. I could always say, "Well, Robbie and I decided..." Having the "Robbie and I" in front gave me the courage I needed to stick with our convictions. He is an advocate of breastfeeding, period. I have seen him defend other women who have been attacked for breastfeeding, even if it's a silly attack over facebook. I couldn't be more proud when I see that.
He is our support. I could not have made it this far without Robbie. And now I know that he wants to allow Lily to wean when she is ready. It's the sweetest thing. So maybe, even after all this time, it's not Lily that asks, "wean me gently?" It's not me. It's Robbie. Her father. Her protector and guardian.