Posts Tagged ‘weaning’

The end of a topless era

Thursday, July 1st, 2010

I think Baby Evan reads my blog, because some time between when I wrote this post and yesterday he totally weaned himself. I am thrilled and horrified and brokenhearted and nervous and happy and relieved and so, so confused. Technically he’s not TOTALLY weaned – he still wants to nurse first thing in the morning and occasionally asks during the day – but if I want to I could get him to drop those feedings without a single tear.

I just don’t want to. Not yet. As much as I would love a break before the new baby comes, I can’t even remember what life is like as a non-breastfeeding mother. I don’t remember how to wear clothes that don’t offer easy access to my chestal area. I’m not sure I can make it through a whole day without flashing some unsuspecting mall shoppers. I have very few “oh no the baby is upset” coping skills besides boob. I’m afraid I’ll start offering to nurse anything that cries, including stray cats and random strangers. I think that’s the sort of thing that gets you banned from Stop & Shop. I know I’ve only been breastfeeding for 1/27th of my life but it’s been such a huge part of every single minute of the last 14 months it feels like much much longer.

I’m really not even sure how this happened. One day he screamed if you so much as showed him a sippy and the next he signs “milk milk milk milk” but points to the cup on the counter like I’m a crazy person if I unhook my bra. If you’re looking for advice on how exactly to go about weaning your child, here’s everything I got:
Step 1: Get pregnant with baby #2.
Step 2: Give baby #1 sippy cup of rice milk.
Step 3: There are no more steps.

Really, I can’t take credit for this at all. I did nothing besides stop making gallons of milk that let down strongly enough to squirt across a room. I didn’t stop offering, I didn’t try to distract him, I didn’t give him a lot more solids than I was previously. Which makes me feel a lot better about the whole thing, since I was very close to forcing him to wean whether he was ready or not. Now I spend a great deal of time asking “Do you want milk? Mama milk? Please come here and try some nursies! Baby Evan, stop running away from meeeeeee!!”

As conflicted as I am about not making it to the two year mark, I think I’m happy where we are now and won’t do anything to intentionally alter our nursing relationship for the next few months. I’m going to be away from him for at least 12 hours in August and probably even longer in September (for a friend’s bridal shower/bachelorette party and wedding, respectively) and I feel like those will probably be the stepping stones to total weaning. And then I can be a non-nursing mother for at least a few weeks before everything starts all over again.

OMG I’m going to have to start ALL OVER AGAIN.

Maybe I Should Send Him To Milkaholics Annonymous

Monday, May 24th, 2010

I feel like I need to start with a disclaimer: This post is not part of the breastfeeding/formula debate. My choice on that matter was made a long time ago and I fell firmly on the breast side of the fence. I struggled, I cried, I fought and after almost FOUR MONTHS of problems, with a very supportive LC and a lot of luck I made breastfeeding work for us. I now attend a weekly breastfeeding support group, at which I am one of the “veteran” mothers who give advice to those just starting out. I have nursed Baby Evan successfully and exclusively for his entire life. I would even go so far as to say I am a lactivist, especially when I compare my opinions to many of the posts and articles I see online. My original goal of nursing for 1 year was extended to 2 years a long time ago.

All that being said, I NEED MY BOOBS BACK.

Did you know that when you’re pregnant, the volume of blood in your body doubles? All that extra blood flow can lead to a lot of changes – both good and bad. You can use you imagination on the good stuff. (If you need any more details shoot me an email, I’d be happy to explain.) But thanks to increased sensitivity my nipples now feel like they’re being pierced with dull yet burning hot needles by someone who sucks at piercing things every time Baby Evan nurses. Let me tell you, it’s not very fun. I’d rate it somewhere between root canal with no Novocaine and having a toenail ripped out with pliers.

As far as I know, there really isn’t any way to alter this pain level, unless I were to rely on heavy narcotics. Which I don’t think is a real option. It’s not a matter of a better latch or a new way to hold him or teaching him not to bite. We’ve got all that down. The only way to stop it from hurting would be to stop nursing.

And there’s my problem. Baby Evan still nurses like an infant – every 3 or 4 hours with a couple of 6 hour stretches a night. I don’t mind morning, bedtime or even naptime nursing – there are enough hours between those that my nipples get a chance to recover. But I both CAN’T and DON’T WANT to stop nursing Baby Evan completely. I CAN’T because despite his ever increasing acceptance of solid food, Baby Evan still doesn’t eat nearly enough to count as a meal – especially not a well balanced one. French fries, animal crackers and an occasional bean or bite of apple is not lunch. At least as long as he’s nursing I know he’s not going become malnourished or obese. He still wants his milk when he’s hungry and offering other options just gets food thrown in my face and an earful of angry screaming. He never got the hang of a bottle – he’s too old for one now – and cups are usually played with and then thrown on the floor. He also doesn’t get any other liquids (although we did convince him to drink half a sippy cup of juice* this weekend) so I’d be worried about dehydration if I suddenly stopped nursing. I don’t WANT to stop because I set a goal of at least 2 years per kid. I don’t want to end my nursing relationship with Baby Evan just because of this pregnancy. I don’t think that’s a good way to introduce a new sibling to our family – “Say hi to Baby Sandy! No more milk for you! Now don’t go resenting anybody!”

Clearly, weaning him entirely isn’t in our immediate future**, but what I need is advice on how to gently lead a baby towards solids and away from the boob. We’ve past the point where I would need to use formula – my doctor OK’d starting him on whole (preferably organic) milk – but is there an easier transition? Maybe soy milk? It’s closer in consistency and flavor to breastmilk. Do I try to shorten our nursing sessions? Do I force solids on him despite the screaming and throwing? Please help a mama out.

*OK, so it wasn’t juice. It was Crystal Light. But it was orange flavored and I did water it down quite a bit some. Go ahead and judge, things are pretty desperate around here.

**I am clinging to the stories I’ve heard of toddlers who suddenly lost interest in nursing around the 5 month mark of pregnancy due to a change in milk flavor. If I KNEW the end(ish) was within sight I think I grit my teeth through the next 3 months.