In the past week or so Ben has been refusing to nurse more and more often. I sit down at one of his usual times and he starts to scream at me as if affronted by the very suggestion. For a few days it seemed to focus more on the right side than on the left. He’d nurse on the left and then when I moved him to the other side he’d latch and release, latch and release as if very unhappy.
So I thought maybe it was a flow issue or some kind of preference. I started nursing him on the right side first and that seemed to resolve it. He was content to nurse for about his usual length of time so long as we started first on the right and then moved on the left.
But then there have been times like last night at bedtime he just flat out didn’t want to nurse at all., even though it was a time he’s always nursed. And yet he wouldn’t settle down for bed either. He screamed and reached for the door as soon as we went into the office where he sleeps. Finally, in desperation I offered him some cheese and raisins and water. He gobbled them up, still refused to nurse, but eventually did let me tuck him into his bed.
Then this morning when he first woke up I sat down to nurse him as usual. He screamed and screamed, tears streaming from his eyes. I got up and changed his diaper, walked with him from room to room, nothing calmed him until he saw the water Sophie was drinking. I gave him some water and he drank half the cup and then he grabbed an English muffin and devoured it.
I’m kind of heartbroken. I’m really not ready for him to be weaning. Not even a little bit. I know technically introducing solid foods is the start of weaning, he’s already been replacing milk calories and satisfaction with food.
Is that what this is, though? Is he making a decision to wean faster than I am comfortable with? Or should I be looking for some undiagnosed problem? Or is it possible this is just a temporary decision that food is more interesting and he’ll later go back to nursing as much as he was previously?
In the past couple of weeks he also become more…. well, I don’t know if articulate is exactly the word I’m looking for. He’s added a few new sounds and gestures but it’s more like he’s become better at defining in his own mind what it is that he wants. Instead of being vaguely upset and waiting to see if what I offer will satisfy that incoherent need it’s more like he’s formed an idea of what he wants and is unhappy until I can figure it out. So nursing isn’t what he wants and he won’t accept it as a substitute when what he’s really got his heart set on water and solid foods.
I’m sure that doesn’t mean that he’s done with nursing completely; but it does seem like we’ve gone to some new, different stage. And I don’t think I quite like it. He is definitely the most decisive and strong-willed of my children. He knows his own mind and won’t settle for anything else.
And no, I haven’t changed anything in my diet or habits that I can think of that might explain his disinterest.
I usually am frustrated by unsolicited advice; but this time I’m not just complaining or thinking out loud. I’m outright asking: Any of you more experienced or more knowledgeable moms out there have any ideas about what might be going on?
Photos: Ben eating beets.