Since July I have gradually weaned Meebs from nursing 3-4 times a day to one blissful bedtime session. This measured weaning was relatively easy on us both; we kept the one feed that mattered most to her and yet if she got sick or hurt I could nurse her more often and then quite easily return to our once-a-day routine. The secret to our success thus far, I believe, has been because Meebs knew mimi was always there if she needed it. And other than bedtime, she didn’t “need” it.

Well, the time’s come to wean Meebs for good—no more bedtime mimi. What a ride—the Tower of Terror of weaning rides—it’s been so far (well, the last 3 days anyway). I started with cutting down her nursing time, so bedtime nursing went from 20 minutes to 5 minutes over the course of a month; not so bad. Now, for the last three days I’ve remained outwardly firm, inwardly terrified.

Meebs: I want mimi.

Me: I’m sorry Lovey, mimi is all gone. There is no mimi left.

Meebs: I want to try.

Me: No, I’m sorry. It hurts mommy when you try to nurse and there’s no milk.

Meebs: Why?

Me: Lovey, your body told my body that you don’t need mimi anymore because you’re a big girl, so mommy’s body has stopped making milk. Without milk, then there’s no mimi. Our hearts have been talking and have decided that it’s time to stop. We can snuggle and cuddle as much as you like. Soon you will have your big girl bed, too. This is a very good thing. You don’t need mimi anymore. Let’s snuggle and rock in our chair…

I can hear the ominous click of the tracks as we’re pulled to the top of the first drop. Suspended at the top, the tension builds.

I am not sure who is struggling more, me or Meebs. I feel guilty and cruel. Meebs feels frustrated and confused. It feels like we’re losing something precious.

I was hoping for a gentler transition. I was hoping we would be celebrating a milestone and a new chapter in our mother-daughter relationship. Instead, I can’t help but wonder that I’ve done something wrong…

Our bedtime bonding ritual has morphed into an unsatisfying and unintentionally unloving event. There is no more nursing Meebs until she’s drowsy and gently placing her in her crib, while she sleepily mumbles “g’night; I love you, momma”. Yes, we still read a story and rock in our chair. But there is no more snuggle rocking—she’s not having it. Now, after a few moments of rocking and talking about our day, there is angry tugging on my shirt, which leads to squirming and hitting, and eventually a petulant toddler-sized apology. We rock a while longer, until Meebs has settled. Then I tuck Meebs in her crib. I whisper, “I love you; sweet dreams”, with no reply. There is mild to severe protesting on her part, with mild to severe guilt and self-doubt on my part. Thankfully, Meebs hasn’t cried for more than 10 minutes; I don’t think I could cope with anything longer.

There is such sadness in my heart. I have never been ok with letting her “cry it out”, but at the moment I have nothing else to offer—Meebs won’t allow me to rock her without giving in to mimi. I hope this is a temporary phase of adjustment. My optimistic side believes we will soon return to a rockin’ new routine instead of this roller coaster of emotions.

I anticipate that we still have a few barrel rolls and air-time on our wild ride of weeeeaning. And, just like a roller coaster ride there are moments of exhilaration, satisfaction, terror and pain. But I hope, at the end there is also that wonderfully satisfied feeling that “I did it and survived!” and “it wasn’t so bad after all”.