Weaning in Israel: How Do You Say “Segue” in Hebrew?

My neighbor, a native Israeli who has a 3-year-old and a 1-year old, and I are conversing about how my youngest child, a 2.5-year-old, still nurses. I tell her I have no reason to stop if he still wants to nurse.

Curious, she inquires, “So…how do you wean them?” (We have four older children.) So I say, well, I first wean them during the night.

“At night?” she questioned, shocked, wishing to clarify whether I actually said “night.”

I am taken aback, thinking, don’t many mothers start the weaning process by night-weaning first?

“Yeah,” I continue, “I just want them to finally sleep through the night — I don’t want to have to get up every few hours anymore.”

“That’s so funny,” she replies, “Most mothers I know start weaning during the daytime!”

Still a confused, I say to myself, hey, maybe it’s an Israeli thing not to start weaning with night-weaning?

She furthers her curiosity: “OK — so does he wear underwear at night?”

Double-take.

“Underwear?” I’m perplexed. Why’s she suddenly talking about underwear?

Penny drops.

OOOOHHH, you mean THAT kind of weaning.

See, in Hebrew, the same word — לגמול — is used for breastfeeding weaning as “weaning” from diapers, i.e., toilet training.

We have a laugh, and I’m like, “Well, I’m glad we got that clarified…but we were talking about nursing!”

“Yeah,” she agreed, “I did change the subject…And now I understand why you said you start weaning them at night.”

About the Author
Chaya Kasse Valier lives in the most Jewishly-eclectic place on earth - Nachlaot, Jerusalem - with her husband and their blessed four daughters and a son. She works as a content writer, doula, and masseuse. Chaya recently published "SECOND LABOR: Mothers Share POST-Birth Stories," a compilation of twenty-four mothers' experiences after having a baby.
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