The suggestion is often made to have a “weaning party” when a toddler is ready to be weaned. Recently I have been reading the book Seven Times the Sun and she mentions a lovely, simple little weaning ritual that she did with one of her daughters (18 months). I wanted to share it, because I think a lot of people think about doing something to commemorate weaning, but that it can be hard to find ideas of what exactly to do. Both of my weaning experiences occurred during subsequent pregnancies and I was never quite sure when that “last nursing” would be. Both kids (during the different experiences—I never ended up tandem nursing) gradually cut down on their nursings per day until they were only nursing once a day. I was eager to leave this final nursing behind, because I am someone who finds nursing during pregnancy to be very unpleasant. However, I didn’t want to miss the “last time” and spent weeks remembering to cherish each nursing and fix its every detail in my mind so I would remember it if it turned out to truly be the last—I wanted the last to be emblazoned in my memory. I did successfully manage to note the last nursing for each of them in my journal (and fix some of the details in memory—though not as detailed as I had hoped, because there were so many potentially last nursings!), but we did not have any other sort of weaning party or commemoration.
Okay, on to the ritual idea:
The child is invited to nurse for the final time. Then, offer the child a small round object (like a pebble) and say, “From the time you were a tiny seed inside me, you were fed from my body.” Next, give the child a small baby doll or figure and say, “When you were born into this world as a baby, you were fed from my breasts.” And finally, give the child a silver cup (engraved with their name) and say, “Now I give you this cup, so you may feed yourself.” Then sing a song or blessing and close. The author of the book said their ritual took about 7 minutes, but was a profound memory for the family. I thought it was a delightful idea.