May 15, 2014
Weaning! A topic that is actually very relevant to my life right now. I am currently in the process of weaning Avalon from breastfeeding. She just turned a year old, but she has been wanting and ready to wean for the last couple weeks. She eats so much "regular" food, and drinks like a champ so she started making this transition on her own. All my kids have done this, which is nice. I don't have to feel like the bad guy for cutting them off. Both boys weaned themselves around 10-11 months. Ace was gradual, and Pierce pretty much cut ME off cold turkey (not something I recommend). Ace was my only child to take a bottle, ever. Pierce and Avalon refused to take one no matter how hard we tried, so we introduced sippy cups to them around six months. So lets breakdown the weaning process ...at least the way I have/am doing it.
For me slow and steady wins the race. I know other people have had luck with just going cold turkey, but my boobs can only take so much pain. Once you are ready to start weaning give yourself some time. Have some what of a plan, and give yourself some breathing room just in case baby isn't ready, or maybe you aren't ready either. Breastfeeding is such an intimate thing that you may want to continue.
So if you are pumping that should be the first thing you cut back on. If you pump more than once a day, cut that down to one. Once you have stopped pumping and your milk supply has decreased, start cutting back feedings with baby. I started with nap time feeding. I would offer Avalon a snack before her nap and right after so she was more distracted and wasn't even looking to nurse. I did this for about a week until I saw a gradual decrease in my supply. I then started giving her cows milk or almond milk in her cup in the afternoon as well.
I wanted to keep her nighttime feeding, so I then cut back her morning. She fought hard on this, she was constantly pulling on my shirt, and wanted to be held. It was difficult to resist just sitting with her and being able to comfort her like that. But after a few days she didn't even notice. When she woke up I would give her a cup of milk and feed her breakfast before the boys got up. I have found that snacks are key when weaning. Keep them full....keep them happy!
Currently with Avalon we are down to one breastfeeding session a day, at night. She no longer falls asleep, or even comes close to sleeping while nursing but she does relax right before I put her to bed. We will probably continue the before bedtime feedings for a few more weeks.
A couple things that have helped me through each weaning process are, sports bras! Wear one during the day that fits pretty snug, this will help with engorgement and overall pain. In the beginning I had to double up on the sports bra front....mama is a milk producing cow over here! Now it has tapered off and I can wear a regular bra during the day, or keep a nursing bra on. Also, don't do anything to promote your let down. So don't shower with the water directly on your chest. And try not to let baby get to close and snuggle to the point that your body feels like it needs to signal more milk please!
Clearly everyones situation is different, you may want to go cold turkey. Or talk to your doctor about the best way to transition your baby. But this is what has worked for me. And now after typing this whole saga out I realized I have breastfed THREE human beings. Good Lord! That gives you a mental picture right there about what my boobs look like. Can you say low, low, low, low, low, low, low, low! Ha!!
Link up if you have a weaning story to tell!
May 8: Taming the Temper Tantrums
May 15: Weaning from Breastfeeding or From Formula to Cow’s Milk
May 22: Dealing with Mommy Guilt
May 29: When People Share Their Opinions and How to Lovingly Handle it
June 5: Traveling with your Toddler
June 12: How to get your toddler to eat their veggies…or their food at all
June 19: How to make time to blog in the busyness of motherhood
June 26: Bedtime Battles (nap or bedtime)