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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!