As a mom there are moments that are so hard to be ready for, that no one prepares you for. I feel like one of the hardest things for me has been doing stuff I know my son is ready for, but I am not. The milk transitions have been the hardest. Going from breast to whole milk in a bottle, from the bottle to a sippy, and finally to where we are now.
I remember the last night I nursed my son. At one year old I started weaning him over the next month to just a bed time feed. On our final night nursing I rocked him in his rocking chair and told him how that would be the last time we would nurse. I let him nurse until he fell asleep and the tears gently flowed down my cheeks. To be honest, I even nudged him a couple of times to keep him up a little bit longer. I knew that it was time, and I was more than ready after a year, but it still left me with this gutted feeling. I had been such a huge life support for him. After carrying him for nine months and nursing him for nearly 13 months, him being reliant on me was going to be over. After that night I knew there was literally nothing I could do that someone else couldn’t for my son and it was difficult to accept in an unexplainable way.
The next two days I found myself crying when he cried at bed time when I had to remind him I could only give him cuddles and he had to have his milk from the bottle. It took everything to fight wanting to just cave and give us a little longer nursing, but I knew it was time. After those two nights he was content having a bottle instead. In fact, he came to love his bottles so much that at a year and a half I knew I needed to switch him to a sippy cup for his milk because he was getting a bottle dependency. It made me sad knowing I wouldn’t see him carrying around his little bottle anymore, whether carrying it in his hand, holding it between his teeth when he had too many toys or books to carry or even seeing his bottle riding in the trunk of his tricycle or trucks. I realized he was moving more and more to being a little kid than my baby, but it was time. I wasn’t prepared for that battle as I did it cold turkey with no transition period and felt awful watching my son cry, but just like with his night time feeds he was perfectly content with his sippy after a few days.
Now he is two and a half and I know it is time to give up the sippy. He only drinks milk from it, but I know it is time because his dependency has increased. The weird part about this transition is it almost feels as hard as it did when we stopped nursing. Before nap time and bed time he always has his sippy while I sit next to his toddler bed. He holds his sippy cup with one hand and holds my cheek in the other, then once he finishes his sippy he hands it to me and then holds my hand. I know how upset this is going to make him and this will be the first time he can’t drink while lounging or in bed so I can only imagine the tantrums, but I know it is time. I planned to have him off the sippy cup by three, but with that so close to his sister’s due date, I don’t want any possible negative association between the two.
As much as I know, like I have in the past, that it is time I am struggling with the idea. It feels like he has been growing up so fast lately especially with preparing for baby girl’s arrival remembering when I did the same to prepare for him. What makes it harder is this feels like one of those last little links to him being my baby (Yes, I know he is far from being a baby, but my heart feels differently). When he first started talking he would say, “I need it/this” when he was tired and wanted milk. Over time it turned to “ideet”. Even though I always called it milk and he can say milk, ideet just became his nickname for it. It makes me sad wondering how soon after he is off the sippy will I no longer hear “please, more ideet” in his sleepy little voice. The thought literally brings tears to my eyes (okay yes, I am pregnant and hormonal, but still!). I know he will long forget that he ever called milk ideet, but I know I will always remember the way he said it and how it was often in the sweetest little voice.
I know I can’t be selfish and I need to encourage him to advance in all aspects of his development, but sometimes it can be so hard when sentiment is involved. People always say how fast kids grow, and the worst part about that is it is so damn true. Seeing the little person my son is becoming and how long ago it feels that he was just my little baby seems impossible. I want to freeze certain moments, but I know time is always moving forward and I hope I can continue to do what I know is best, even when I know it will be harder on me.