On Facebook, a good friend of mine posted a scientific article in support of nighttime breastfeeding. Amoung her comments on the article she mentioned that maybe her husband will stop wanting to wean so soon. His response was:
Asking when you want to wean him =/= me wanting to wean him a moment sooner.
I understand where he is coming from. It is an innocent question. He meant no harm by it. Unfortunately, most partners don't understand that asking about weaning is comparable to supporting weaning. Imagine your partner is running a marathon. When she runs by, do you ask her "Hey, when are you going to be done with this race?" Of course not! You jump up and down and make as much noise as you can. You scream her name and number. You shout that you love her. You enthusiastically tell all the strangers around you that was your wife and she's amazing. You make sure she knows that you are cheering for her; that you want her to finish. Our partners should support our breastfeeding journey in much the same way.
In response to his comment I wrote:
The breastfeeding relationship is a delicate thing. There's so many messages out there that are itching to break it down in order to sell something. There is a ton of misinformation out there too. It takes an extremely strong woman to go against popular opinion on any parenting topic, most of all long term breastfeeding and cosleeping. Did you know she is in the ~17% of woman in the US that breastfeed up to 6 months? That's incredible! But she needs you to be the most supportive partner you can be. Asking when she wants to wean brings up all the negative messages she received all in one big blow. I know that's not at all what you intend when you ask. What you can do is be her cheerleader. Not concerned at all about when this particular journey will end, but only concerned with how you can help her achieve what she wants to achieve. When/If she is ready to wean, you'll know. She'll tell you. She may cry about it. Or maybe not. But until then, you gotta be johnny on the spot with the ammo. Focus on her needs. Try to infer what she needs to hear when she's having a hard time. When other people come up and hassle her about weaning, be her rock. Tell them how incredibly awesome and rare she is. Know in your heart that she's doing the absolute right thing for her AND for your son :)
It's not a competition to see who can breastfeed the longest. I am not advocating weaning or not weaning. What I am advocating is partnership. They are living this life together. All THREE of them.