OUR WEANING JOURNEY
Updating my breastfeeding journey with Banks, well now our weaning journey. We are on month thirteen going on fourteen of “breastfeeding”. I stopped breastfeeding my first son after his first birthday. I had just found out I was pregnant with Banks and knew I wanted some alone time with my body before sharing it again. Breastfeeding is different for every mama. The feeling of accomplishment you feel as a women, the bond you feel with your baby. These feelings are indescribable. Feelings I prayed about experiencing and I did but the time comes when you just know. I’m done. It is a bittersweet moment and well after you are finished nursing your precious little one you will think about the times of nursing them to sleep. To be honest with you though this blog will mostly hit you with some mom truths and the truth is mama is ready for some sleep.
Knowing when you are ready
Every journey is different some are short, some are long. For me I had my own personal goal. No particular reason, just a goal to achieve. I can’t tell you when you will feel ready to say goodbye to your nursling but for me it was similar both times. I had this emotional feeling of being okay. I was okay if I worked longer hours and he got a bottle instead. I was okay having a girls day and not rushing home. Now don’t get me wrong I signed up for this gladly. The stress of keeping up my supply, of having enough milk stored. I was perfectly okay with the stress of breastfeeding until I wasn’t and when I felt that that is when I knew it was time. Sadly journeys are some times cut short and not by choice but whether you are on month three or thirteen being “okay” emotionally can be diificult.
The hard part
The hard part of stopping breastfeeding is stopping breastfeeding. I mean how and where do you start? From experience I can tell you past the first birthday expect a wrestling match physically and emotionally. At this point Banks has started showing communication skills so when he is pulling at my shirt, burying his head into my chest saying “mama” it is heartbreaking for both of us. He is a very active baby and actually loves to eat solid food so during the day he has been a breeze. He has been difficult during naps and bedtime. That is when he really slows down and really needs that time with mommy. So how do I say no to my baby crying for me? I am going to share a few tips I have learned along the way.
Three tips to emotionally wean
- Be understanding I felt like Miles handled this so much better than Banks, he unlike Banks took the supplement of a bottle before bed so much easier. He would have his bottle, get his belly full and nurse a few minutes for comfort and then he was off to sleep and for the first time in twelve months through the night. Banks on the other hand has straight up refused a bottle before bed and instead has to be wrestled to sleep to only wake up quickly after because his tummy is not full enough to keep him through the night. This is typically when I give in and nurse him but my supply being lower he is still not sleeping deep enough. This has been hard. We have had many nights the last couple weeks of “giving in”. I have nursed him more times than I wanted, he has laid in the bed with me more than I wanted. He even had a fever for a couple days and pretty much slept with us and nursed all night. He needed me. He needed my comfort. This is when we as mothers have to be understanding and give ourselves grace. Just like in the beginning of breastfeeding it took time and learning and this experience is no different and your baby will not be weaned within a day. Neither of you can be successful until you realize that.
- Take things slow once you understand you and your baby need efficient time to wean you will not only be more successful you will also be less stressed. You can not just quit cold turkey not emotionally or physically. Your body needs time to process what is happening. Try cutting out sessions. For me this was easier to do during the day because he was use to already having a bottle when I worked and my body was use to not nursing during this window. Save your self the pain of a clogged duct or worse Mastitis and take your time mama!
- Supplement this for us is important during naps or at bedtime. This is usually the physical supplement of a bottle but can also be an emotional supplement like a pacifier, blanket or stuffed animal. Banks has never took a paci or has really been attached to any particular object so this has been my husband taking over bedtime duty and rocking him to sleep. An out of sight out of mind concept.
We are very much still learning as we go as every baby is different and just like every step before my kids have took weaning totally different. If you are in the process of weaning as well I hope this post was helpful if not showed you are not alone in this stage of motherhood. It is a bittersweet stage we will miss and one day wish back so enjoy the process and the time with your little one.
love, Corey J