Goodbye breast, hello cup
Saying goodbye to the warm comfort of a mother’s breast isn’t easy for some babies.
(Catherine Goldfain )

As his mouth clamped greedily around the spout of the sippy-cup, I caught a glimpse of excitement in his eyes. My heart warmed as he let out little grunting, gurgling sounds and smacked his lips in delight. With the cup firmly clenched in his eager paws, I sensed a word coming on... ‘Yum-Yum!’ squealed my husband.

It's amazing just how far you'll go to wean your little one. Yet despite my husband's show-and-tell approach, the sippy-cup remains a bit of a white elephant in our household. While you'd think leading by example would do the trick, our little man's grown wise to our cunning behaviour. In fact his sole use for a sippy-cup, is to give the kitchen floor a generous sprinkling of water.

In the early months of breastfeeding, weaning was really the furthest thing from my mind. Now that we're heading towards his first birthday, I am sorely tempted by the thought of not hauling out the hooters every time he's feeling thirsty. What I didn't realise, was how insanely difficult it would be to lure my little darling away from his favourite milk machine.

It would seem most bottle-feds have no problem with the shift from bottle to sippy-cup. Some babies I've seen even seem quite addicted to them. But when all your baby's known is a fleshy teat, a plastic spout is bound to leave him unconvinced.

Breastfeeding at 5?

While I realise persistence is key, I must say I'm beginning to stress... just a little. My Gran's stories about her friend who breastfed both her children until they were 5, are not the kind that inspire me. How horrifyingly gruesome would my boobs look by then? Dangling just short of the floor, no doubt. Talk about heebie-jeebies.

But my son's reluctance to bid the breasts goodbye, seems to be testing the boundaries of my patience.  I mean it's not as if the sippy-cup's the only thing I've tried. I've already experimented with a full range of dispensers: from plastic tot glasses through to cartons with straws. I've tempted him with all manner of luscious liquids: from warm milk, through to tropical fruit juice and even sweetened Rooibos tea. But if it's not from a nipple, my little nipper's having none of it.

‘There's always the cold turkey approach, ‘my hubby suggested. But each time I pass our thirsty little munchkin over to Dad to distract him, he makes a beeline for his chest.  Once he's realised he's been had, let's just say it's open season in the nipple twisting department. Not really something Hubby had in mind when it comes to father and son bonding!

All in all, weaning seems a pretty woeful business to me. As much as I hate to admit it, more than one of us need to be weaned. While I long for the days of not feeling like a cow, I'll admit I'm rather nervous about this phase coming to an end. As frustrating as things may be now, I know the day will come when he grabs that sippy cup with grateful hands. And at times, I'm not so sure I'm ready for it.

Sure, I won't miss the wet spots on my t-shirts, or attempts at inconspicuously feeding in public. But I will most certainly miss the feeling of togetherness that breastfeeding brings. In the mean time, it's back to the drawing board on the whole sippy-cup story. Worst comes to worst, we'll just have to use it as a watering can.

What were your successful weaning techniques? Please share!

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