Saturday, April 02, 2011

B is for...Breast and Boob (weaning, that is)

Weaning from Breastfeeding 101

8 Months
I have loved breastfeeding from the very beginning. Absolutely loved it. People asked quite often, "How long do you think you'll breastfeed?" I was always vague in my reply because I just didn't know! I know in the attachment parenting world, a lot of people like to breastfeed well into toddler/childhood. My one friend actually told me once not to do so past 2 years, because... that was just weird. I needed a better reason than just other people thinking it was weird, though, so I decided to just wait it out and see what happened.

Around Little Olive turning 13 months, I noticed my milk supply was definitely decreasing. I freaked out the day I tried pumping and barely got 2oz. I bought some wonderful Mother's Milk Tea to naturally increase the supply. It worked, but I quickly ran out of the tea. I could keep buying it, but I started to wonder if it was simply happening for a reason...

My daughter's diet was extremely picky. She would eat avocados, cookies, and breastfeed. That's about it. She nursed constantly during the day. Then I happily learned I was pregnant when she was 14 months. My breasts became extremely sore, and it hurt so much to nurse her as often. I was also a little hesitant to nurse two children at the same time (often called tandem nursing). I know a lot of mothers do this, and I don't judge their choice. Though, I felt it wasn't meant for me just yet. It just seemed right to start the weaning process. I looked at our day and decided to keep nursing at our special moments: after she woke up in the morning, from her nap, and then around dinner. We loved those sleepy, snuggling times.

Then we started weaning. The first two days were very hard and sad. She was used to climbing up at any point and rubbing my boobs, saying, "Peeese?" My heart broke the first time I ever had to tell her no. But I had a plan. I offered her the binky, and after she was cuddling, I offered her food and a drink. Practically every time, she ate. A few days later, she didn't cry when I said no. She learned pretty quickly! (Advanced, I tell ya.) Our nursings together were very special, and I found I was more full for them, which also made them less painful!

Two months later, it's going awesomely. Gradually, we cut out the dinner nursing, then the nap, and now she is going on several days without her morning nursing. The wonderful news is that her diet seriously blossomed during our weaning months. She eats so much now, and I feel very happy with our decision to stop at this time.

16 Months
Another reason I wanted to stop when I found out I was expecting is because I know what it's like to feel "touched out" at the end of the day. I didn't want to be tugged on by a toddler and a newborn. I felt like it would be overload. Also, my first daughter had my undivided attention as a baby. I know I won't be able to do the same for Baby Number Two, but I want to give him/her as much as possible. I think nursing can be one of those special times. :)

Feel free to share your thoughts (respectfully, please) on this topic!


Tomara Armstrong said...

I admire you. I attempted nursing with both of my children, but it just wasn't right for me. Even though I didn't nurse, weening is hard. Sounds like you're doing a great job. You'll be there in no time :-)

Natalie said...

Although I have always done tandem nursing, I totally understand what you mean about being "touched out" at the end of the day - or well before! - so I can completely understand why you desired to wean her!!! I think a big part of the reason I tandem nurse is because that's what my mom did, and I grew up hearing how sad it was that babies were weaned when their moms were pregnant again... though she didn't find nursing in pregnancy nearly as painful as I do. (My mom always had a very strong desire to nurse, too, while I've never really enjoyed it... probably because of my nerve sensitivity condition etc... it took me several years to realize this, however.) I'll admit... this 4th time around, I am nursing Ryan far less than I did the other kiddos when I was pregnant... I just can't take it, and I am trying to get him to down to just one or two nursings a day, which I don't have a problem maintaining when the baby comes... it won't take anything away from the baby, and will hopefully help with the sibling rivalry because he will know that he is still my baby, too. It's been a lot harder for him emotionally than it was for his big sister, that's for sure.
I DID feel completely strung out from nursing when I was nursing the first two at the same time, for 2 years... I know my mom always said to listen to your heart and not what anyone else tells you, but I think I ended up listening to her specifically on weaning and - while letting Timmy nurse so much while Tezzie was a baby didn't do him any harm in the long run - it probably made for a lot grumpier mama than I would have been otherwise.

Created2bholy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Created2bholy said...

It is refreshing to see a mom truly follow her heart when it comes to all things parenting. I would love to share my experiences but will maybe leave that for a post in my blog. I'll be sure to mention your post here if I do! ;)
I will say this though, I'm sure Little Olive won't be jealous if it's the right time to wean for both of you! We set aside any nursing with the second as simultaneous reading time with the toddler. It became a really fun and special time for all 3 of us, without me having to nurse both!

i.ikeda said...

Naomi and I had an amazing journey breastfeeding. I also wanted to let her choose when she was ready, but my body decided otherwise. It started becoming so uncomfortable around the 22 month mark that it made my skin crawl. It wasn't fun anymore, but she was still so attached to it, nursing almost 6x a day, I tried to keep going. But eventually I had to listen to my body. I tried to be gentle and explain it to her as much as I could. The before bed nursing was the hardest for her to let, and even now she still talks about it, haha. We stopped at 25 months. We had a good run even if I couldn't do child-led weaning like I wanted.

Cindy said...

It sounds like weaning is going well...good creative use of words to get the "b" in there ;)

I stopped at around 15 months with my first little girl... not because I didn't want to continue, but somehow my body just couldn't handle pregnancy and nursing at the same time. I know most people can but literally, every time I nursed I felt so exhausted I slept for an hour afterwards. That didn't make for a happy healthy mommy, so with my husbands help she weaned.

V.R. Leavitt said...

Nice post. My daughter and I didn't quite get the hang of nursing for about three months. I pumped and bottle fed her my milk, but would try once a day or so to see if we could get the hang of it and then one day, voila! We got it, about 2 months in. LOL