Posts Tagged ‘weaning’

Weaned

Thursday, March 8th, 2012

So Caroline is officially weaned as of March 1st  (14 months, 12 days of breastfeeding). She was probably ready to be done a few days earlier but I kept saying “Oh, just one more time!” and drawing it out. I am both ECSTATIC and TERRIBLY SAD at the same time. One second I am doing a jig because I am freeeeeeeeeeee and the next I am wiping away tears because mah baybeeeeeeee doesn’t neeeeeeeed meeeeeeeee. As if all the hormonal stuff wasn’t enough on its own, the mood swings are turning me into a total wreck.

In the end, what worked best for us was cutting out one feeding at a time every few days. First I dropped her post-nap nursing session, then the one before lunch, then first thing in the morning, then the one before nap, and lastly the one before bed. She had been occasionally sleeping through the night, so we just sort of phased out the 2 am feeding as we went. E went in to comfort her a couple times but even when I was doing it she wasn’t nursing for more than 30 seconds so obviously she was just ready. I was worried she wasn’t drinking a ton of milk from her sippy but she does drink lots of water and she still eats like a horse, so I doubt she’s going to end up dehydrated or malnourished. The whole process took about 2 months and my supply regulated itself easily as I decreased the feedings. The weaning wasn’t child-led, but it was gentle and mostly tear-free. I’m happy. And sad. SO CONFLICTED.

One of the things I was most worried about is that we were going to lose all of our cuddle time, since she’s such a very busy and independent toddler. But she’s replaced nursing with being a little clingier – more hugs, wanting to be held, sitting in my lap – which I am HAPPY to oblige. It’s nice to get affection from her that isn’t boob-related. Having someone try to rip off your shirt every time they see you is only flattering for so long, you know?

The end of nursing also meant the end of my extra Weight Watchers points and for a couple days I was a little panicked. I needed those points or I’d be starving all day. But then I remembered, oh yeah, the breastfeeding is what makes me so hungry – SO HUNGRY – and now that I’m not making milk anymore I don’t need to eat like a horse. I’ve also dropped several pounds wicked fast in the last week, something my lactation consultant had mentioned ages ago. My body was holding onto extra fat as a back-up in case my caveman food source ran out and I had to keep my young alive through a starvation period. It’s good for the survival of the human race (I GUESS) but sucks when I was trying to “get my body back” and my body refused to cooperate. But now it’s all “Whatevs, your young can totally fend for herself! Look at her, shoving her face full of a pound of grapes and cheese a day! Go ahead and starve, Mom!”

If breastfeeding wasn’t an all or nothing situation with her (it was with Evan too), I think I wouldn’t have been so ready to wean. Her refusal to take a bottle or a cup was SO FRUSTRATING. I felt like I was trapped. I worried constantly about how she would deal if something happened to me. Would she starve? Would she be traumatized for life? I don’t want to sound over-dramatic but having someone THAT dependent on me often felt like more than I was prepared for. I think part of my problem with anxiety came from the pressure I put on myself to breastfeed – but I ALSO put a lot of pressure on myself to wean before vacation. It was all I thought about. It’s sort of crazy how even though I think of myself as being super laid back and low stress when it comes to parenting – and in a lot of ways I am! Eat food off the floor! Rub your face on the dog! – this is such a stressful topic for me. Don’t get me wrong, I LOVE breastfeeding and will absolutely breastfeed my next kid and wouldn’t take back the almost 30 combined months of nursing between Evan and Caroline. But I’m not going to let myself be the only food source a baby will accept again. My mental health suffers too much.

P.S. Caroline VERY CLEARLY asked for nursies on Tuesday around dinner time, so I caved and let her latch for a few minutes. I don’t know if she got anything but she remembered how to do it. I’m not going to pump while I’m gone but if she wants to go back to nursing once a day when I get back I’d be fine with that. Probably.

3 Months To Go

Monday, January 9th, 2012

I AM GOING TO TALK ABOUT MY BOOBS A LOT NOW SO IF YOU ARE MY MALE SECOND COUSIN BY MARRIAGE MAYBE YOU SHOULD SKIP THIS POST TODAY. THANKS.

Yes, that actually was entirely necessary. Jimmy.

Breastfeeding Caroline has been cake. I learned so much the first time around that even when things were challenging I knew how to ask for what I needed (nipple cream) and how to do what worked for me (crying in the shower while hand expressing milk) and it took days rather than months for us to find our groove. I am so thrilled we made it a full year of exclusive breastfeeding, especially because I struggled so much after BlogHer I thought we might not. For me, breastfeeding is both a wonderful bonding experience and a wonderful chance to sit down several times a day. I am never going to look back on my baby’s babyhood and think “Damn, breastfeeding was such a mistake”.

That being said, I have decided to start weaning Caroline. Yes I know she is only a little more than a year old. Yes I know what the WHO recommends. Yes I know I don’t HAVE to. Yes I know there is no medical reason to wean. And I don’t need anyone to talk me out of trying – although I welcome your opinion – because my reasons are totally selfish and for once I am ALLOWING myself to be selfish. I am a selfish, selfish mama who wants her body to herself for a little while after three and a half years of pregnancy, breastfeeding or BOTH AT THE SAME TIME.

In March, I am going on an honest-to-goodness vacation with my husband to several tropical beaches by way of Princess Cruises. It is a Big Deal for us, our first vacation since having kids, and the only vacation longer than a weekend we’ve taken since our honeymoon. My folks are going to watch the kids and the dog and the house for us (cue panicked cleaning of closets and kitchen drawers because OMG my parents will be in my house without my supervision) and since they’re doing us such a huge favor I’d prefer to leave them with a baby who ISN’T expecting anyone to whip out a boob to help her get to sleep. Also, right now my body is still making enough milk for a baby who nurses 4 times a day (plus 2 or 3 times a night) and that would mean bringing a pump on vacation to keep my chest from exploding. Let me tell you, there is nothing sexier than whipping out my double electric Medela for a good milking before bed. Even just cutting back on the nursing would be better than nothing, although I’m hoping for a mostly weaned baby.

The problem is I have no idea how to go about it.

Weaning Evan was something I thought about constantly for months but when it happened it was sort of anticlimactic. He went from nursing all the time to giving it up completely in just a few weeks, but that was because of a pregnancy-related drop in my supply. I do NOT want to be pregnant on our vacation – it would put quite the damper on my goal of drinking my weight in pina coladas. But is there a natural way to decrease my supply? I suppose I could just do the OPPOSITE of all the things the experts suggest when you’re trying to increase your supply, but not drinking water, not sleeping, not eating extra calories and not taking care of myself seems like a poor choice. I have read sage can decrease milk supply and I happen to have a bunch of it lying around from our summer CSA but that sounds like an old wives tale. I know nursing moms are told not to take antihistamines because they can decrease supply, but do I really want to take a bunch of drugs while I’m still breastfeeding? (Short answer: no)

And then, despite what I said above about letting myself be selfish there’s the guilt I’m going to traumatize my baby if I stop. Caroline has always been a really independent little girl and she rarely nurses for comfort. She is affectionate and cuddly even when we’re not nursing so I’m not worried about losing all our mommy-daughter time. But she still has a midnight feeding (and sometimes a 2 am and a 4 am and a 5 am feeding) and those are HARD to drop. She still cries and tugs on my shirt if we go too long without nursing. Despite the fact that yesterday she had two mini waffles, a donut, an apple, blueberries, a Babybel cheese and half a yogurt for breakfast she still wanted to nurse for a minute before we left the house. Does she NEED it or does she just like the familiar? How can I possibly know? I’ve got 3 months to figure it out.

Truthfully, the period of time in a baby’s life where they are either breast or bottle fed is SO SMALL in the scheme of parenting (unless you are amongst the very most extreme extended breast feeders) that cutting her off a few months short of where she would have weaned naturally isn’t going to keep her from getting into Harvard some day. (I am going to repeat that to myself over and over and over for the next 3 months.) And when I come home from vacation if she wants to start nursing again I would be totally OK with that. I LIKE breastfeeding, as a thing. In general. When it’s not making me sick to my stomach with anxiety about leaving. Again. So right now I need all the weaning advice and anecdotes I can get.

Caroline: 12 Months

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

I’m not upset about my teeny tiny baby girl turning one. I understand it had to happen eventually. And really, she is still so TEENY TINY I can pretend she’s a baby when we rock in the glider or when I creep into her room to take pictures of her while she sleeps. (Creeeeeeeeepy!)  But mostly I’m ok with her being one because she is super duper awesome and cool. She is way cooler at 12 months old than I have ever been in my life. I mean, she can TOTALLY wear knit leggings.

Caroline still loves food – all food, any food, all day – but especially chicken nuggets and cheese. She learned how to use a sippy cup (today!) but is having some trouble with not letting all the milk/water fall out of her face. I’m going to have to find something REALLY delicious to convince her it’s worth swallowing. Maybe she’d like some hot cocoa and schnapps.

As much as she eats, she has definitely cut back on her nursing schedule, although she refuses to drop the midnight feeding. I KNOW she doesn’t need it – sometimes she goes from midnight until noon the next day without nursing – but she wakes up every single night and is so much easier just to pop a boob in her mouth than to argue. In case you didn’t know, arguing with toddlers almost never works. We are leaving her with my parents (more on THAT later) in March, so my goal is to have her sleeping through the night by then, if only because I don’t want them to refuse to babysit ever again. I’m also debating weaning her before then, or at least mostly weaning her, so I don’t have to do much pumping while I’m gone. (I have SUCH. MIXED. FEELINGS. I think I need a whole separate post for them.) But for now, she’s still a nursing champ.

But besides the waking up, she is an awesome sleeper. If she doesn’t fall asleep when we rock I can leave her in the crib with a book or a toy and she’ll play herself to sleep. Oh my God, do you hate me SO MUCH right now? Seriously, she is at an insanely easy age, so even when she’s having a clingy day she is still a darling child. Today at Target a woman literally couldn’t stop herself from trying to hug her, although when I looked alarmed she was like “Oh no! That was inappropriate! I’m so sorry, she’s just so gorgeous and she’s SMILING at me!”

It’s true. It’s impossible not to love her when she smiles at you. I love her so much I forgave her for breaking my iPhone.

Favorite things include: iPhones, the dog, the cats, her brother, putting trash in her mouth, cheese, cookies, spaghetti with meat sauce, boobs, her fancy patent leather shoes, blankies, forts, sleeping, bath time, dinosaurs, biting things, giving huge slobbery open mouth kisses and throwing herself head first off the couch.

Least favorite things are falling on her face, diaper changes, the vacuum cleaner, watching me leave the house, being buckled in the shopping cart and when I fish the trash out of her mouth so she doesn’t choke to death. Such a TERRIBLE MOTHER.

I don't like this sticker, Mom.

No, seriously, get it off me or I will CUT YOU.

Ha ha, just kidding. *BABY GANG SIGNS*

C'mon, do you want YOUR age in giant numbers on your chest?

Ok, FINE, if you won't help I'll do it myself.

Here you go! I fixed it!

Showing off the baby gun show

OH FOR THE LOVE. Now the tutu AND the sticker?

Dude, do YOU know what's wrong with this woman? --- Just smile and nod, kid, smile and nod and plot our takeover.

12 Month Milestones (from BabyCenter, as usual)

Mastered Skills (most kids can do)
Imitates others’ activities – Her new favorite game is taking very important phone calls on my iPhone. I’m expecting a year’s supply of cheese to show up on my doorstep any minute.
Indicates wants with gestures – Gestures, screeching pterodactyl noises, same difference.

Emerging Skills (half of kids can do)
Takes a few steps – Runs, climbs, roundhouse kick’s me in the face.
Says one word besides “mama” or “daddy” – She can say “mama”, “daddy”, “kitty”, “hi”, and things that sound like “I got it” and “all done!” but I wouldn’t swear those last two weren’t my imagination. She also puts words together and says “Hi daddy!!” in the absolute cutest way ever.

Advanced Skills (a few kids can do)
Walks alone – See above
Scribbles with a crayon – She still put too much stuff her in mouth to let her have crayons…unless I want rainbow-colored poop in the morning.
Says two words besides “mama” or “dada” – See above. I sort of think I’m imagining ALL the talking, but since BabyCenter assures me it IS possible she’s talking I like to believe I just have a super genius baby.

 

I heart…naps

Tuesday, July 27th, 2010

We’ve been having some all out screaming fits trouble with Baby Evan recently, probably due to demon possession teething. (Side note: When does teething END? He’s got 12 teeth with his incisors canines coming through right now.)

Once he stops being distracted by something specific or if I try to interrupt something he’s enjoying – throwing rocks at smaller children, hurling himself down concrete steps, biting the dog – he starts WAILING and goes all boneless and thrashes and flings his head backwards and throws a 100% genuine old-fashioned American temper tantrum.

Let me tell you how fun it is.

The teething is also making our usually peaceful nap and bedtimes into a process that involves every teething remedy in our arsenal combined with endless rocking and basically letting Baby Evan cry it out while in our arms. Several times in the past few days it has also involved letting the baby sleep directly on me for several hours (despite the RECORD HEAT and weird rash I now have from sweaty baby head on my chest) in the hopes that at least ONE of us can get some rest. Like yesterday:

Awwwwwww. Ok, so sleeping baby is not so bad. I think this is officially one of my favorite pictures ever. Cuddly naps on the couch make all the screaming so much more tolerable.

p.s. For the record, my boobs look huge like that because a) I am wearing an UNDERWIRE, NON-NURSING BRA for the first time in more than 18 months and b) despite not nursing for the past four days apparently my body is still trying to feed at least one, maybe two children and refuses to completely stop making milk. I’m about 24 hours away from pumping out of fear of a plugged duct.

p.p.s. I just occurred to me part of his sudden cuddliness is due to the weaning. Before when he needed some attention he just asked for milk and I didn’t really notice how much time we spent sitting together. Duh.

I’m Gonna Take My Boobs And Go

Saturday, July 17th, 2010

So we’re pretty much done with the breastfeeding around these parts. Thanks to a combination of a sudden drop in supply due to pregnancy and Baby Evan’s obsession with peanut butter, we’ve gone from exclusive nursing to only once or twice a day in less than 3 months. (I can’t even begin to explain how much peanut butter that kid eats on a daily basis. I think if there was a sudden peanut shortage he would starve to death rather than eat something not slathered in sticky, nutty goodness.)

For a month or so I’ve been following the “don’t offer, don’t refuse” method of weaning, but in the past week I stepped it up to “distract and offer an alternative” even if Baby Evan specifically makes the sign for “milk” (to be fair, he uses that sign for milk, food, water, juice, and sometimes ATTENTION!!!!!). Today he skipped his remaining nursing session – first thing in the morning – and only latched for a few seconds as I rocked him down for his nap.

As ambivalent as I wasabout the end of our breastfeeding relationship, I can now say THANK GOD he’s done. Pregnancy has done weird stuff to my hormones. Weird, hurty, uncomfortable stuff. Rather than the warm-fuzzy-happy feeling I used to get when the baby nursed, now it just feels like someone’s gnawing on my boob. I have to grit my teeth to keep myself from clawing my own skin off and mutter “getoffgetoffgetoffgetofffffff” under my breath. It is…unpleasant. I don’t feel any differently about breastfeeding in general – and I can’t wait to nurse the next bebeh – but for NOW, I am dunzo.

ANYWAYS, because I am no longer nursing day and night, I no longer have to be here. I mean, YES, I do have to be here, because I am his mother and he needs me and loves me (despite the fact that he STILL doesn’t say Mama) and there isn’t anyone else to watch him while E is at work. But there is no longer an invisible tether attached to my nipples. Which means I’m having a teeny tiny crisis.

In August, I’m going to/hosting a bridal shower (and bachelorette party)(I’m DD)(because I can’t drink and because I drive a minivan)(at least being lame has it’s advantages for SOMEONE) for one of my oldest friends in Virginia. I had been trying to talk E into driving down with me, since 6+ hours in the car on 95 by myself with the baby sounds like the OPPOSITE OF FUN. Add pregnant to that mix and all I can think of is how much that sounds like the start of a particularly tragic Dateline story. Film at 11.

Today E suggested “Why don’t you just leave the baby here with me?”

OMG WHAT?

The idea of not bringing Baby Evan is both horrifying and incredibly appealing. NO BEBEH FOR A WHOLE WEEKEND? Where am I going to get my daily dose of adorables? How would he survive without me?? NO BEBEH FOR A WHOLE WEEKEND? I could sleep in as long as I wanted. I wouldn’t spend every second worried he was driving my mother crazy or falling down the non-baby-proofed stairs or pooping behind the dining room table. I might actually enjoy myself. Is that even ALLOWED?

For the record, I have NO DOUBT that E would do a great job with the baby by himself. I have zero concerns at all about that half of this equation. I’m worried about how I’M going to handle it.

Advice, please. Have you gone away without your kid(s) yet? Were you crushed with guilt and bad-mother abandonment issues? Are you dead?



Get Adobe Flash player