Weaning off Your Baby – a Mother’s Experience

Becoming a mother, holding my little baby girl made me feel that I am the happiest and the most blessed woman in the world. I felt an overflow of emotions, looking at this perfectly beautiful little girl. She felt all mine, the little joy who I had carried for nine months, who was now swaddled and cradled in my arms trying to make sense of the world around her. The first time of feeding her was the archetypal struggle of the new mother, of whether I was doing it right. How much to feed her, how close should I hold her, am I doing it right? But a baby is a miracle. They know their way. Once she latched on to me, we were perfectly in sync. I realised babies find their own pattern and know how to demand for her food when she needs it

I wanted to do everything for my little Kyra. I wanted to bring the world for her. I felt I needed to understand her. Her every gurgle, every cry, every movement, her every need. My whole world revolved around her. My favourite time of the day was feeding her. I would always make eye contact with her when feeding. I felt I needed to connect with my baby in every possible way when I was feeding her. She would latch onto me, I would look into her eyes and would sing some of my favourite songs to her, a lullaby, or even an English number or I would just talk to her. She would slowly fall off to sleep after having her fill and I would rock her for a while and slowly put her to bed. I used to love this routine. It was exclusive. With family members buzzing everywhere, with caregivers always ready to take over all of Kyra’s needs, it was my feeding time which was just us, Kyra and me. I wanted to savour these moments with her. I knew that in another three months’ work would start and I would need to wean her off. It was then that the pandemic struck the world, and my immediate plans of getting back to work was put in the back burner. Simultaneously weaning off Kyra was also postponed. I was happy to have our “us” time stretched a little more. By the time Kyra was on her seventh month, I had introduced Kyra to boiled dal, mashed rice and vegetables. I was breastfeeding her thrice a day now.

Work started picking up, my meetings, deadlines demanded my complete time. I consulted my paediatrician and I was advised that I could slowly start weaning her off. I introduced formula milk with a lot of apprehension. And surprise surprise! My little baby girl took to it very well. But I? Perhaps I could not take the process very well. I was finding it difficult to have my baby weaned off from me. I was alternating between waves of guilt and separation pangs. A single loud cry would make me feel over anxious. I was reading, scourging through the internet on after effects of weaning. Things came to a head on when Kyra caught the flu. It was a simple flu but I felt responsible for it. I blamed the whole flu on formula milk and brought her back to breast feed and felt relieved. But somehow my anxiety caught on to Kyra and we were not so relaxed anymore. I was feeling guilty.

Speaking to a few elders, friends and after huge amount of self-introspection, I have come to the realization that a baby goes through different stages while growing up. Each stage is unique, each stage is beautiful and every phase needs to be cherished differently. What I was going through as a mother was a deep emotional anxiety of separation.

I have understood that being a mother is also a balancing act of meeting the needs of my baby and also fulfil all the other roles that life demands from us. As a mother, the deepest truth I have learnt is that of acceptance. We need to be able to accept that we are amazing, but even super heroes have limitations and we need to accept and understand ours.

Motherhood is a blessed experience and therefore it needs to be cherished and each moment needs to cherished and savoured. An anxious mother will only make the baby cranky. My Kyra is weaned off now. But every evening I still hold my baby close to me, look at her eyes, talk to her about things and sundry, as I am still awaiting a closure after weaning off.

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