On Weaning At 3.5

Moments after Arlo was born, at the instant he latched on for the first time, I remember laughing at the sudden and total reorganization of the function of my breasts. For a moment, I felt like an imposter mother. That feeling was quickly followed by wonder at how smart our bodies are. I remember my doula saying something like, “Get ready, this is going to be what it’s like for the next three years.” At the time I thought three years seems like a bit much.

breastfeeding for the first time

breastfeeding for the first time

Flash forward 3 ½ years, my son was still nursing. I knew it was time to initiate the transition to weaning because although he only nursed once a day I found myself getting annoyed by it. We had already weaned once already when I was 4 months pregnant with my second son, Avery (aka Honeyman). But when his brother arrived, Arlo became seriously interested in nursing again. In a moment of total engorgement, we regressed. It's been a year.

I often see on Facebook posts about breastfeeding in public and the negativity some mamas experience. Maybe it’s because I live in Northern California, but I have managed to not have any bad public experiences. I am not shy about when or where I nurse.  

There is a family story of my grandfather Belizaire, who we named Arlo after (Arlo James Belizaire). He was the oldest of four kids and he nursed until he was six years old. He lived on a farm in rural Louisiana and his younger brothers and sisters were also nursing at that time too. Hearing my mom tell me this story growing up, I got a sense that six was the limit. But that was a family story, now I was the breastfeeding mom. Three and a half felt enough.

I told Arlo that the “Milk Fairy” was coming soon. She was to bring a special gift in exchange for no more “ninnies”. Last month, early one morning, when Arlo crawled into my bed, I whispered to him that I thought the Milk Fairy came in the night. With a similar excitement as Christmas morning, he ran to the living room in search of the gift she brought. He was thrilled to find his first Lego set. It had a “fire rescue” theme -his favorite topic. The gift worked! He prefers playing with his Legos more than breastfeeding. He hardly talks about nursing. Recently he told me that sometimes my “ninnies” talk to him and say “Nurse me, nurse me” and he says “No, I am all done and have Legos now”. I have not delved into the psychological implications of this but whatever, it worked.

I recommend reading this fascinating article about breastfeeding. 



Interview - Jimi

I recently met Jimi at a children's park in Fairfax, CA. Jimi moved a year ago from Brooklyn to Fairfax. She teaches yoga and has three kids. For just meeting each other, we had a lot to talk about. I was immediately struck by her graceful energy, so I reached out to her for a brief interview.  This interview series was sparked by an interest in learning more about how others maintain their personal or artistic practices while navigating through the everyday obstacles of their lives. We have a lot to learn from each other.

Big sister and brother admiring the new baby. 

Big sister and brother admiring the new baby. 

Where are you from?
London (2001-2015 NYC)

What brought you here?
(Homesick husband and willingness to add another chapter to my life, aware that I could find small town living challenging)

What keeps you here?
Promised to try for 5 years.

How has this place helped you develop?
Found out what lostness is and am having to seek new ways to function. 

If not here, where would you be?
New York / Rome

What do you love about your home (domestic space)?
Stars at night, sound of creek in winter. 

Favorite place of all time?
London as a teen.

What is your favorite occupation?
Practicing / teaching yoga.

What are you passionate about?
Excellent people, good conversation, learning curves, not being dead yet, practicing the art of mothering.

What inspires you?
People, travel, new information, experts, wisdom, knowledge, beauty. 

What drives you?
School drop of and pick up and bedtime

Who inspires you?
My family, my friends. Great art - Cezanne, Bach

Why is it important for you to do your work?
So I don't go mad.

Do you find anything conflicting about your work?
Time time time.

Do you have a clear idea of success?
Yes, it's no regrets.

When something goes wrong, what do you do?
Swear and try again tomorrow.

How do you cope with disappointment?
I cry and leave it.

What is the most important quality of a friend?


What is a characteristic of one of your earliest friends? One of your more recent close friends?
Joy/ Ambition

What is something special you recently did for a friend?
Bring food / flowers

If you could change something about your family or friendships what would it be?
Regular time together.

Do you have any daily rituals?

Working on it - skin brushing and sesame oil / control breath and stop before I start cooking.

Weekly rituals?
Dinner out with kids and a glass of something. 

What is your most treasured possession?
Baby Thomas.

What is your favorite flower?
Black blue sage in garden that is watered by bath water and is daily food for hummingbird friend.

Who is your favorite artist or author?
Morandi paints.  Dickens.

What are your favorite names?  
Blythe, clementine, Beatrice, Ella, Gregory...

What is your motto?
Steady as you go kid.