The Weaning Diaries: Part 1

4 comments

I’ve been nursing my daughter Nora for 940 days. I never imagined I’d be breastfeeding this long; in the beginning there, I didn’t think we’d make it past week one. But we did, and here we are, two and a half years later.

I’ve decided I’m ready to wean (and honestly have been ready for awhile) thought my daughter is not. I haven’t a clue what I’m doing here in this process and there’s very little information out there about weaning a toddler. So I’m making guesses, trying to trust my gut and my daughter’s cues, and seeing where we land. Even as I fumble through this, I thought it might be helpful to document some of my experiences in case other moms can commiserate benefit.

Milk coma, 3 weeks. Photo credit C.Allard
Milk coma, 3 weeks.
Photo credit C.Allard

Days 1 & 2 – Officially made it two days in a row actively trying to prevent my daughter from nursing. Redirecting her requests was so much easier than I was anticipating. Then again, when I was still nursing on demand at the age of two, I thought asking her to cut back to once a day would be next to impossible, and she did that seamlessly, too. Even though it’s been just two days, and we’re nursing minimally, I got the same full-breast feeling as I used to when we nursed around the clock; it’s a sensation that I get throughout my entire body – a kind of restlessness, in a sense – that lets me know I can’t go much longer without expressing milk in some way.

Under the nursing cover, 9 months. Photo credit C.Allard
Under the nursing cover, 9 months.
Photo credit C.Allard

Day 3 – I gave in to my daughter’s request to nurse this morning because if the continued restless feeling. I couldn’t bear it! And I worried that, even producing so little milk, I’d develop mastitis again, which was possibly the sickest I’d ever been when I developed it last time I ignored my body’s cues. This is the first time that I realize I need to give myself time, too, to make this adjustment; it’s not just my daughter who has a big change ahead of her.

Nursing at 10 months. Photo credit C.Allard
Nursing at 10 months.
Photo credit C.Allard

Day 4 – This morning I just went straight to nursing. I hardly got any sleep the night before and was simply too tired to protest. I’m actually not even sure if she asked or if I offered. Oops. I’m recommitting to be gentle and understanding with myself, too, as I am with her during this process. This isn’t a relapse; we’re learning as we go and need to be patient with each other.

Post-milk coma at 11 months. Photo credit C.Allard
Milk coma at 11 months.
Photo credit C.Allard

Day 5 – Nora asked to nurse this morning but didn’t say a single word in protest when I told her she was such a big girl she didn’t need to nurse anymore. In its place, I offered snuggles and/or milk and she wanted both – snuggles during a TV show and some Goldfish. An easy substitute, and I still got my connected and close feeling in the morning.

Must-nurse-this-very-instant emergency in the passenger seat of the car. Photo credit C.Allard
Must-nurse-this-very-instant emergency in the passenger seat of the car.
Photo credit C.Allard

Day 6 – I refused to nurse again this morning. She did not take this well. Kicking, screaming, tossing everything off the coffee table…she threw it all out there this morning. I nearly gave in; mom guilt kicked in and I realized I would be away from her all day while she spent the day with her grandparents and I didn’t want her to be apart from me all day, angry. Of course, she’s two, and she doesn’t know how to harbor that yet, and was relatively quickly distracted by an offer of a cup of milk and a TV show. Despite it feeling like a tragedy in the moment, saying no, recognizing the difference in her cries to know she’ll be okay, and redirecting her attention away from nursing – it ended well. I was proud of myself for sticking to my guns and being there for her, and proud of her for trusting me and working past her confusion and frustration.

Still at it - 23 months. Photo credit C.Allard
Still at it – 23 months.
Photo credit C.Allard

 

I don’t know how many parts there are to this story. I don’t know how or when this ends. But I will continue to keep you posted!

4 comments on “The Weaning Diaries: Part 1”

  1. I’ve been there, Christa! I nursed until 26 months until I finally felt the need to stop and realized that my daughter would not ween herself like everyone told me she would. I got it down to 2 sessions a day (one after day care pick up and one before bed). I managed to re-direct with chocolate milk, and it worked fairly quickly. I did it first with the after school pick up before doing the same with the before bed. I wish you lots of luck and strength!

  2. Toddler ‘tude + weaning = sending you a hug. Good luck! Sounds like you’re doing great. Love the honesty and the use of the word “relapse” – made me smile.

  3. I’m very interested in this. I am nursing my second child but because the nursing didn’t work out with my first, it’s like she’s my first. She’s 10 months old now and I have no plans to stop – just going to go with the flow but imagine I’ll stop pumping at work after she turns 1. We’ll see. Interested to see how this works for you.

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