Most of the available literature discusses coping with weaning from a child’s perspective. But weaning is not just a transitional process for children—it is for mothers as well.
For many women, anxiety sometimes comes hand-in-hand with weaning. It doesn’t have to, however. There are many reasons for anxiety during weaning. The best way to cope with them is to understand their cause.
Coping with Anxiety
First and foremost, it is important for mothers to understand that feeling a little anxiety or a sense of loss or sadness is perfectly natural during the weaning process. Weaning is as much an adjustment for moms as it is for children. For months you have become accustomed to comforting your little one at the breast, nourishing him or her and spending lots of personal one-on-one and comfort time while breastfeeding.
Your relationship with your child changes when you make the decision to wean, but not in a negative way. As a mother, you must understand that your child is developing and growing his/her own sense of independence, which may be expressed in part through weaning.
If you are taking weaning at a slow pace, your child will adjust well and likely take to feeding himself or herself quite naturally.
Finding Joy in Weaning
What can you do to relieve your sense of loss or sadness? Be sure to incorporate lots of activities into your day that involve bonding with your child. Hold your child frequently at times other than when you would normally nurse. Take the time to read together, sit and talk about your day, or cook dinner together.
Just because your child is weaning doesn’t mean that the two of you will lose the personal and intimate bond you shared when your little one was a baby. Your child will come to depend on you in different ways and learn to love and appreciate you for the guidance you bring while he/she is developing into a unique little person.
Yes, childhood is very short. Therefore, you should learn to appreciate and enjoy every moment of it. You can find joy in the weaning process if you learn to appreciate your child in new and interesting ways.
Accept weaning as an opportunity to explore the new independence and unique personality your child is forming. You’ll both enjoy these discoveries and come to appreciate each other in new and interesting ways.