Kendi and I are starting a new and exciting adventure. We are getting weaned from breastfeeding. I say ‘we’ because it’s going to be as difficult for me as it is for her. I will miss our early morning alone time. It has been 18 months, and Martin and I have decided that it’s time. I will be starting a demanding job in January and we want the process to be as gentle as possible. How I’ve decided to do it is gradually- I believe in easing people into things- nobody needs a shock when starting something new.
So, I breastfeed her only twice a day now- morning and evening.
My baby is experiencing shock (poor child). She doesn’t understand why the thing that she has been receiving on demand ever since she was born, is suddenly not accessible. She is irritable and annoyed. She is slapping people and knocking things over.
This morning, as I was brushing my teeth, I saw her through my open bedroom door, reaching up onto my shelf for her father’s expensive cologne (cost doesn’t even matter here, just the thought of that bottle breaking and making my whole house smell like Martin-on-crack for 3 months is what scared me). I looked at her, shook my finger and managed a ‘mm-mm’. She looked at me, gave me her ‘mum, you’re so incredibly boring’ face, pointed at me and went to shut the bedroom door.
‘Change hurts baby girl’ I can almost hear her father say.
And her relatives are worse. It is as if it is them I am weaning. They want it for her. They need it on her behalf. Badly.
Yesterday, my father said to me, ‘Mama, mie amia. Ang’o ma itimo kode. Ibiro dhi tedo kode chai godhiambo?’ (Mama, just give her. What are you doing with it? Are you going to brew tea with it in the evening?) I laughed so hard I thought I was going to pass out while holding Kendi. One of my sisters- probably Tawi- came and took her from me, allowing me to fall over into the couch. Daddy wasn’t laughing. He was angry. He wanted to know why I was being so selfish.
Then Tawi, ‘Kitt, she doesn’t know what’s happening, just give her some, a little won’t kill her’.
‘Yes, but it might kill me’. We have gotten to the point in our relationship, Kendi and I, where she has more teeth and my body is getting more and more sore from her constant grazing of those little shark like teeth as she turns to look at something interesting, while she’s breastfeeding.
My sister Mich on the other hand, just keeps going, ‘oh my poor monster’ every single time Kendi complains. It’s exhausting.
It’s a long journey ahead and I’m so glad to have Martin in this with me (I am not stupid enough not to believe that some women have to pretend that they have ‘run out’ of milk, in order to have peace in their homes) and mummy, who is a constant pillar of support. ‘Oh please Rev,’ she admonished my dad, ‘if it was up to you, Kitt would still be breastfeeding Kendi till she was nine. You’re doing good baby’ she turned to me and said.