May 21, 2008

Weaning

You guys, I hope I am not going to be too much of a DOWNER around here over the next few weeks. I'm starting to wean Henry, and I have learned from experience that this is a hormone shift to be faced with teeth clenched and elbows out. I KNOW that it is temporary, and I KNOW that it has happened before and I have come out on the other side, but BEEZUS the mood swings! Even taking the process slowly just means the mood swings last longer.

Yesterday evening I was sitting with Elizabeth while she fell asleep (sleep issues with her AGAIN), and I started thinking about how I was in the prime of life, and about how it won't be long before my little mirror-time frettings about whether my skin is or is not getting saggier, and whether that wrinkle is or is not deeper than before, are going to be totally MOOT as the skin basically starts melting off my face in folds.

And then I was thinking about how one day my CHILDREN would be showing signs of aging, and this is when I started thinking, "Hey. Self. Remember how this happens when you're weaning? Maybe you should STFU and go self-medicate with some bakedy stuff or something." But I was stuck there in a darkening room, quiet and cool and not a baking pan in sight.

So my mind continued. My mind informed me that one day Paul and I would be dead. I was a little sad, of course, but it's not like I hadn't realized that. It's one of the reasons I like having a big family: my kids will have each other. So my mind told me something I hadn't realized, which is that one day my children would start to lose their siblings. And the immediate mental image I got of this future situation is what told me I'd better stock up on baking cocoa and mint chocolate chips.

This is totally par for the course for me: when I'm weaning, I tune into the "Your Children Will One Day Get Old and Die" channel. This is not a subject there is any point thinking about. There is no sense at all in sitting around thinking heavy thoughts such as "In 100 years ALL of us will be dead," is there? IS THERE?

No. Because that is the way things go. It is only because I'm in a "good for the preservation of the species but bad for my psyche" mothering mode as well as under the influence of the weaning hormone cocktail, that I am plagued with such thoughts now. I am not mourning, am I, that my great-grandfather grew old and died? No, I am not. Am I mourning it for the species in general? No. Only for my dear babies, and OF COURSE I would not want to think of it in their case. The word "duh" comes to mind.

I have already been to the kitchen while writing this, to mix up some peanut butter and powdered sugar and oats in a bowl and eat them. It is a fortifying mixture: the fast boost of sugar and fat; the lingering comfort of protein and fiber.

50 comments:

EMama said...

Weaning is the pits. But PB, powdered sugar, and oats sounds delightful.

-R- said...

I am impressed by how in tune with yourself you are. I sometimes know that I am just moody for whatever reason, but I haven't figured out yet what will help with the moods.

Erica said...

Is there anything that bakedy goodness can't help? I submit there is not.

Nowheymama said...

I think that part of these feelings might also be genetic. I know I am like my father, who has been known to say, "I hope we all go together."

Weaning sucks.

CassJustCurious said...

I'm going to have to try your oat cure the next time I start to have a freak out - I lost it the other day thinking that one day this baby girl will scream that she hates me and I broke down into a pile of nothingness for a good 20 minutes. To which my husband said "could this be a hormone thing".

Joanne said...

I always think it's so unfair that when we're at our craziest, we have to be up in the middle of the night, because that is the Craziest of All Crazy Times. I have to say, I never think about my children getting old and dying but that is because I can never picture them in any stage that they are not. I can remember when my 3 year old was little, but I can't imagine him going off to school, or driving, or having a girlfriend, or any of it. It's weird to be this way, too, because it leaves me completely gobsmacked at every new stage. I walk around in shock, like all the time. And I'm not even going to be weaning my girl for several months!

nonsoccermom said...

MMM, peanut butter, powdered sugar and oats? Why have I never thought of this before? YUM. Going to remember this one the next time I am blue.

Weaning does suck, for many reasons. Hope you get to feeling better!

Emily said...

Well, I should go stock up on the ingredients, because your coping strategy sounds delicious.

Hope you get to feeling better. Good luck on weaning.

may said...

Wait a second, women get hormonal while weaning?? Am I the only one who didn't know this? I'd only heard that you get a boost of energy (yeah, right) and that you finally have your boobs to yourself again.

So let's say that I'm not trying to wean...that my kiddo is nursing pretty much the same as usual, but IS eating more solid food...and that I've turned into a complete bitch. Could this be hormones, or should I start to root through the closets for an old batch of Zoloft? Or a gun?

Jess said...

The whole hormone thing is so CRUEL. You KNOW it's just the hormones making you feel that way, but it doesn't make you FEEL any better.

Peanut butter, though. That is a great remedy.

Kristin.... said...

I'm pretty sure that anything bakedy helps any issue. Here's to a good snack. :)

"Constance-1-M" said...

Please post bakedy goody recipies for future reference.

I have a feeling that pregnancy hormones + screaming toddler will have me needing comfort food soon.

I have a bad habit of sitting in the rocking chair & crying about pregnancy / toddler growing too big to fit into rocking chair with me / general aging fears ... I normally just grab Hubs & make him snuggle with me for a while. But bakedy goodies wouldn't make a move on me & knock me up ~ better option!

Deb said...

Hm. Clearly I was in as much denial about the weaning hormones as I was about postpartum depression, because I don't remember any of this. Maybe it's because I do bakedy goods every day, so I've already got a low dose of "feel good bakedy" rolling through my system and numbing me all year long?

"Dad, where's Mom?"

"Son, she's out in the gardening shed, sniffing baker's sugar."

Angie said...

Wait what what that recipe? Peanut Butter? Powdered sugar? Oats? Sound heavenly. But not heavenly in the we-are-all-gonna-die kind of way....

KEEP BELIEVING

Anonymous said...

I never had any hormonal shifts due to PMS, or pregnancy, or (after my first daughter at least) PPD. BUT! When I weaned my daughter I cried for three days straight. I do not cry often so this became mildly alarming to my husband. Of course I did it cold turkey. I decided that it was the worst mistake of my entire life to quit breastfeeding so I pumped for weeks until I built my supply back up. Of course all of my friends pointed out the obvious . . . that I would have to quit again one day and what then?? Ha! I quit gradually over time the next time around and was much better. But here's to hoping you don't get TOO heavy and TOO mopey!

Marie Green said...

Ummmmm. Sorry, I forgot what I was going to say, because I started imagining myself mixing up that snack, and then I started going through my cupboards (in my head) and YEP, I have everything, and then I started salivating.

Oh, yeah. Weaning. I fall into despair too. I'm tuned to a different channel though- the "I may never get to do this again" channel. The "Oh, how I want another baby, but WAIT I'm not sure if I want another baby" channel.

Also, I gain weight, which hello, body, does NOTHING for the mental component of the equation.

Also, Henry cannot be almost 1. CANNOT. I won't allow it.

Linda said...

Yeah, I get hormonal with weaning, too. Going slowly helped, but there were still crying jags and morbid thoughts.

MAY from up above: if your kid is eating more solids or any solids, that is WEANING to some extent. You could definitely be moody because of it.

http://moxie.blogs.com/askmoxie/2007/08/qa-ppd-after-we.html

Alice said...

GAH. it is NOT FAIR how EVERY FREAKING STEP of this child-producing process has pitfalls like this.

it's so impressive you recognize it for what it is, though. of course, like jess said, knowing that it's hormones doesn't actually help STOP having whatever feelings the hormones are making you have.. hate.

artemisia said...

Hang in there!

Jess said...

Oh my couldn't agree more! And I don't think you've ever written a post where I haven't ended it thinking "she's the greatest thing since sliced bread." Your awesomeness astounds.

Oh and weird question. I weaned Lily at 6 months. She is now 10 months and I STILL have milk. WTF?! Is this normal? Same thing happened with my first. After I stopped breastfeeding and pumping COMPLETELY I had milk for about 6 or so more months. Not schloads of it, but enough were I could probably get a few ounces if I were determined enough. Again weird? Please tell me what this means wise one.

Tessie said...

A coworker has recently been struggling with putting her parents in a nursing home, and even though I am NOT particularly hormonal, STILL it has been sending me periodically to the BAD PLACE!

What if my kids grow up to be DICKS? What if I end up in a nursing home? What if I die in a smelly bed watching WHEEL OF FORTUNE? GAHHHH!

Ashley said...

I weaned my first while I was pregnant so who knows what hormones were doing what, I was just crazy. I am trying to wean my second now and it is not going well. He is totally not into it. I went for hormone tests because I am so whacked out and ALL my hormones are way low (no wonder I don't feel anything). It's time to wean and make sure it was the BF that is causing this and not something else. Weaning sucks ass.

Tessie said...

Okay, so after THINKING IT THROUGH, I am seeing my previous comment as NOT AT ALL HELPFUL, in fact, bordering on DICKISH.

Pretty sure the call was NOT for "more things to worry about".

Um. Sorry about that.

Anyway! Fun slash humiliating fact to compensate! Today is National Employee Health and Fitness Day and I am about to partake in a workplace SACK RACE. TRUE EFFING STORY.

Kelsey said...

I don't think I noticed this with Harper because she sort of slowly weaned herself. It was less of a decision than a, "Huh, I guess we're not doing this anymore."

We are still having minor breastfeeding struggles and if I end up stopping with Michael it will be much more sudden -- I'm glad to have a little head's up that it might do crazy things to the hormones, I hadn't thought about that.

Saly said...

I never tid weaing to moodiness. This explains a lot!!!! Baked goods will hep for sure, maybe some minty brownies.

Claire said...

Why didn't anyone tell me weaning was that bad?!? I'm totally freaked out now.

jonniker said...

I'm always so impressed with how well you know yourself. It's taken me almost 32 years to figure out the warning signs of PMS, even though I have a CALENDAR to SHOW ME WHEN.

Also, pb, oats and sugar? Yum. YES PLEASE.

Amber said...

Wow. I had something deep to say about thinking about those we love most dying, but then you started mentioning pb and oats and powdered sugar and mmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

Swistle said...

Claire- I don't think everyone has trouble with it. It's kind of like post-partum issues: some people don't have them, some people do---and among those who do, there's a wide range.

Swistle said...

Jess- I didn't write it down ("Dear Diary, there is still milk!") so I don't know for sure how long it lasted, but I do remember the milk hanging around a surprisingly long time. I'm always like, "Heh-LO, you can GO now!"

Swistle said...

Tessie- Ha ha! There is ALWAYS room for more worrying!

Anonymous- OMG ME TOO!!! I always feel as if the weaning is The Worst Mistake of My Life! I have made a Terrible Mistake and must try to Go Back! It helps a little that I can think, "I felt this way last time, too, and later did not think it had actually been a mistake," and it helps to go slowly instead of cold turkey---but MAN! That "terrible mistake" feeling is so persistent and strong!

Jennifer said...

I'm not weaning anything and I think about death, dying and loneliness all the time.

I'm starting to notice so many people that are my parent's age in the obituaries and I get scared. I'm 33 but I have no idea what I will do without either of them. I only have one brother and I worry about what will happen when one of us dies.

I worry too much, maybe I need to start baking!

Anonymous said...

Ok, so I'm facing weaning soon for my nine-month-old. I already had PPD (am taking very very small amounts of meds), but now that I'm reading this, I think I might need to up them! I'm hearing possible:
1) moodiness/sadness
2) negative thoughts
3) general crappiness
4) weight gain

What else have people faced?

Also, for those of you who faced these symptoms, had you already had your period while nursing or were you entirely menstruation-free while you were nursing?

Just curious to see what I'm up against! I have other stressful things going on in my life with my own health and the health of other family members, so I need all the advance warning I can get :-)

Swistle said...

May, Deb- As with postpartum and pregnancy, some people have trouble and some don't. I do get an energy surge when weaning---but it means I'm swinging back and forth between that and despair. Also: bitchiness.

Kristi said...

I've gone through the weaning thing twice - the first time while I was pregnant, boy that was fun. Just remember Swistle to cut yourself some slack and don't make yourself crazy over it - the hormones will take care of that for you!!!

AAANNDDD....2 years after weaning my second child I still sometimes have milk. Uh, wha???

Jen said...

ugh - i hate when i drift over to morbid-land. i'm not even weaning yet and i still find myself doing it. it's like this whole crop of sad that i haven't harvested before. ugh.

i'm so not looking forward to weaning but i've been thinking about it because the babe will be one next month. i'm thinking that i'll wait until after we move at the end of the summer though - that'll be stressful enough without adding an extra wrench in the works.

also, maybe it's the wrong time to blog about it but, when you feel like it, will you post a general guide to weaning?

because it's all about me and pumping swistle for info. :)

drowninginlaundry said...

The first time I tried weaning the Dictator I just about lost my nut. Seriously. I breastfed for an extra 4 months because my goodness my brain was NOT ready for that whole emotional roller-coaster.

Once I weaned him I used to wish I could just stick a boob in his mouth to shut him up. Seriously. A couple times I tried. It was a no-go!

Natalie said...

Did not know weaning can cause moodiness. Then again, I was 8-months pregnant when I weaned Olivia. So, who knows. I am trying to wean my 18-month-old from her 3 or 4 am nursing. It SUCKS. I'm never well rested enough to follow through w/my "plan." I have it marked on my calendar this time and maybe I'll actually go to bed early/take naps and follow-thru. B/c I could use a full-night's sleep! As far as daytime weaning, I'm doing the "if she doesn't ask, don't offer" thing. Yeah, not going so well. Even distracting her with food, drink, books, art, music, etc., doesn't turn this kid away. The tears and broken heart just do be in!

It sounds like things are going well for Henry. I hope you make it through it soon and the thoughts you're having will ease up. Good luck! Weaning is so not fun!

Oh, and your snack sounds delish!

desperate housewife said...

Humph. So I have this to look forward to as well as weight gain? Joy. Although, I don't remember this from weaning Adelay, but it happened so VERY gradually with her that maybe the effects of it were really dragged out and unnoticable.

Jen4 @ Amazing Trips said...

OMG, this helps to explain why I've been having some of those EXACT SAME THOUGHTS.

FREQUENTLY.

I'm not ready to feel bummed out. Maybe I should just nurse him until he's five.

Kim said...

I missed the hormone shift when I weaned my now-two-year-old last year.

Oh wait, no I didn't, I was already PREGNANT again.

But I don't think that's a good permenent solution to the weaning/mood swing problem.

Swistle said...

Kim- Paul has been concerned about my mood, and eager to help. I think I'll suggest your solution!

Jen Daily Dose- Good idea! My basic method is "Gradually give baby more foods, and absentmindedly notice that this means the baby doesn't want to nurse as often."

Anonymous 5-21, 4:45pm- Some people aren't affected by it, so you might not be either. But it's a good thing to be aware of and ready for. I usually notice it midway in the weaning process: that is, I cut out a few feedings with no effect, but then I get to a point where I'm nursing less than half as often as before, and suddenly I start noticing effects: scary/sad thoughts, general despair, feeling like I'm making a terrible mistake, etc. One thing you could do is start the weaning process, and if you notice effects, go back to the pre-effects level of nursing and consult a doctor about upping your meds before continuing the weaning. Oh, and you asked about periods: I've had mine back for a number of months. I say "a number" because I'm not sure how many. Six? Something like that.

Annie said...

Oh no. Weaning is so, so hard. We dropped from 7 feedings a day to 2 over the past month and a half, and I have noticed an exponential increase in irritability, hypersensitivity, and general surliness. It's enough to make a person breastfeed forever.

And I believe the milk does hang around for quite some time. Since we're at just over a year, the lactation consultant told me that it could take a few months of no stimulation before my milk completely dries up. AGH!

Hang in there!! This too shall pass, right? Right?!

Pann said...

oh, weaning. Such a bittersweet part of life!

Maybe that's why I put it off for 3 and a half years with my youngest!

Misty said...

Um, I am feeling a bit ignorant. Weaning = possible PPD type symptoms? Who knew? Maybe because my kids self-weaned, I didn't go through this?

Well, since some folks seem to be getting panic-y, just know that I didn't go through this. So it definitly doesn't happen to everyone.

the new girl said...

Before I had a baby, I thought I'd be very, very ready at a year to wean but I feel a little NOT ready yet. My girl isn't really eating that well, due to the non-chewing so I'm waiting for the eval to see and then when she's getting more food...

I think it's great how well you know yourself and how you have the presence of mind to Talk Sense to yourself.

RainyPM said...

Omigosh, you and your treats! I am not weaning, but just thinking about it has made me HAVE to try your delicious oat, PB and powdered sugar concoction. Any sharing of approximate ratios? Oh, and after that I'm going to be making brownies or chocolate cake, since you got me started on a chococate baked goods craving this morning. Really, there should be a law against yummy blogs when I'm this hungry!

Swistle said...

RainyPM- VERY approximately, I think it's probably a couple of tablespoons of peanut butter and a couple of tablespoons of oats, and then enough powdered sugar to make it good---half a cup? If it comes out too dry, add a teense of milk.

RainyPM said...

I did end up making this Sunday and it was satisfyingly delicious. My toddler didn't want anything to do with it at first until I told her it was cookie dough and then she dug in too. Thanks Swistle!

Mommy Daisy said...

I love that you know what to do in these times to make yourself feel better. And you recognize these things coming. It's pretty cool. You do what you have to just to make it some days...we all do.