Well, I turned 30 last week. The big 3-0. It was hands down the best birthday I've ever had. My family, friends, and co-workers spoiled me to no end. My husband truly outdid himself and surprised me with a really fun gift and then threw me a little bowling party with some friends. It was a blast. I was not really bothered by entering this decade because most of my friends are already there and I keep thinking it's better to feel like the baby of the thirties than the old lady of the twenties. Turning 29 was probably weirder for me.
Anyway, the birthday has only been half of the drama in my life lately. Two weeks ago I started weaning Annabeth. Here's the whole story if you care about this kind of thing.
Annabeth had gotten good at taking an occasional formula bottle late in the summer, but by the time we got home from our Wyoming trip she refused it. Jackson had done the same thing at the same age and didn't take a bottle again until I weaned him at a year. I was really bummed to be repeating that scenario. I craved the flexibility of being able to give her a bottle if I needed to.
Annabeth had not been gaining weight properly and had fallen in her percentiles at her 6 month appointment. The doctor didn't tell me to start supplementing, but she did say to watch for certain signs that she might need it. So I watched and hoped that everything would be fine. What I knew was that Annabeth had never been a super enthusiastic nurser and was very easily distracted by everything going on around her. She wouldn't put in the time she needed to get her fill. In my mind, I had always sort of thought she would be weaned in October, but once she refused the bottle I put it out of my mind. At the Aggie football game she slurped down a bottle of water and I realized she might be open to the formula, too. I didn't rush into it though.
Our drive home from Irving two weeks ago was hard. Annabeth whined much of the time and I kept thinking that my baby girl was losing some of her sweetness. She had been a lot harder to please and was grumpy much of the time. I began to worry that she was too hungry. Plus, she'd just been to the doctor over those hives and I knew she'd hardly gained anything. As soon as we walked in the door, I gave her a bottle. She sucked it down and then was in the best mood I'd seen her in in a while. On one hand I was thrilled to have my happy baby back, but on the other hand I felt horrible that she had been so hungry.
The next day I supplemented her feedings with bottles and her mood continued to improve. That was twice as much work and I quickly decided we were only going to do one or the other. Nursing was obviously not working anymore, so that meant it was just time to wean her. Over the next week and a half we started dropping feedings until we were down to just one. I learned a couple of things during that time. One, bottle feeding is really sweet too. We were still snuggling a lot. Two, you can't really multi-task because it takes two hands. Three, bottle feeding gives you a lot more freedom, but there's a trade off because now I'm doing a lot more dishes.
One thing I discovered when Jackson was a baby is that you seldom know when something is "the last time." On the first day that I only nursed Annabeth once, I knew we were getting very close to the end. But I had no idea how long my milk would last. So that night I nursed her in the dark in our big pink chair and completely took it in for the last time. It was a very sweet moment as we said farewell to that aspect of our relationship. Not only that, but since we are not planning to have any more babies, I was saying goodbye to what has been a very big part of motherhood for me. I didn't cry or anything. It was just one last, sweet time for us.
I'm so glad we had that time, because for the next few days she fought me when she nursed. She'd do it for a few minutes and then cry and push me away. I was really only doing it so I wouldn't have to pump. (I haven't touched my pump since May. I hate that thing.) The last time I ended up nursing her was Thursday night. So I guess she's been weaned for four days now.
I weaned Jackson when he turned one and I remember being very emotional and tearful because of his birthday. This time would be a breeze, I thought, because I wouldn't be emoting over the birthday. I took everything in, but I was not going to let myself go overboard emotionally. I took my thoughts captive and didn't go there.
Nevertheless, last Tuesday I absolutely crashed. It started off with a crying meltdown when I had to clean the kitchen that morning for the third time. Then I couldn't stop it. I kept crying all day long. I left emotional messages on two of my friends' voicemails. I consciously said to myself that I felt like a teenager. That is NOT a good feeling. It was like Super PMS. Then I started suspecting that it was tied to weaning. So I looked it up online and found that when your body suddenly stops getting prolactin from nursing (which gives you warm and fuzzy love feelings), it freaks out. The symptoms are like major PMS. I even found two testimonials of women who said they felt like teenagers again. Ha!
I didn't have another day like that until yesterday. I felt like a nutcase. Then I discovered that I was experiencing the post-weaning hormonal craze with actual pre-menstrual syndrome. FUN TIMES, Y'ALL! But I lived to see today and my husband still loves me.
Weaning is done and now I just get to enjoy having more freedom and seeing my petite baby girl gain some weight. I am not taking that for granted. Nine-month-olds are supposed to be in that adorable, roly poly phase. We have two weeks to catch up! I'll probably have to talk about this at least two more times before the week is over, so consider yourself warned.