Weaned

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.

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13 Responses to “Weaned”

  1. Swistle says:

    I love “Having someone try to rip off your shirt every time they see you is only flattering for so long, you know?”

  2. Robyn says:

    Yay! i’m so glad it went smoothly. and even if you are conflicted, it’s great that Caroline isn’t :). I had a really hard time emotionally when Rory weaned. Probably a lot of that was from working mom guilt and the fact that i absolutely did not want to wean yet, but a lot of it also was my fear that we wouldn’t be as attached afterwards, and that i wouldn’t get as many cuddles. But i was so wrong to worry about that. Rory is super affectionate and at almost 3 (OMG, she’s almost 3!) still loves to be held, and cuddled. and she is very much attached to me, more than anyone, even her Daddy who was home with her all day for her entire first year while i was at work. i think the breastfeeding bond doesn’t go away when the breastfeeding does. just wanted to share that for other moms who might be contemplating weaning and are nervous about losing their bond.

  3. I would have been so bad at trying to make weaning happen. And so I’m so glad the P. just weaned herself at 18 months. By then she was getting most of her milk from a cup anyway. I think I was just too low flow for her!

  4. molly says:

    I’m glad you have some closure with this. I really think it must be so much stress on a mother to be the ONLY food source.

    I was just happy that Brigham latched and BF’d for 5 months. I would have kept going but my brain needed medication that wasn’t safe for him :(

  5. I don’t think I have much milk left at all, but I realized last night I don’t think I could MAKE David stop nursing! He is eating fine, but won’t drink cow’s milk (although he seems to like almond milk). That little booger is just so happy when he’s nursing. And at just once or twice a day … I don’t mind enough to want to wean.

  6. MomEinstein says:

    I went back and forth emotionally for a while, too. I cried the last time I nursed Vicki. Even though we had dropped down to one session and even though I was 3+ months pregnant already, I was SO SAD that my BABY wasn’t going to nurse anymore. But the next night she didn’t even care (GOD did I mean NOTHING to her??) and now is super cute and snuggly all the time. I know it was for the best for our situation, even if it did make me cry. Let’s face it, I cry all the time anyway. Why should this have been any different?

  7. Weaning IS such a bittersweet thing. I cried when my first and last weaned. There is just something indescribable about the connection, and the giving/receiving relationship.

    I just count myself as one of the lucky ones who got to do it (three times, at that!).

    Thanks for this story … it reminds me of how sweet a time that was, and what it meant to me. It’s been about 7 months I weaned my baby girl. :)

  8. i’m so scared/nervous/anxious about the day i wean sawyer. with not being able to nurse cayden, i have no idea how to go about it. as it is, i feel like my supply is dwindling since i have to pump during the days while at work. part of me is toying around with the idea of just going ahead and weaning… but then i get SO SAD thinking about not having that connection. so it’s a constant war in my head. ugh. but yay for you! here’s to only happiness and a great upcoming vacation!

  9. Sarah-Anne says:

    you crack me up. i hope every weaning experience with my future kiddos is like that.

  10. Elaine says:

    This is TRULY so bittersweet. Because you DO want your body back to yourself but you also don’t want to give up that amazing bonding time. Sounds like you’re both there though. Until next time… right? ;-)

  11. Brigid Keely says:

    Aww, it sounds like ultimately everything’s going well and that’s great. :)

  12. Lindsey says:

    Congrats! I literally just posted about this on my blog today so I thought it was funny when I saw this in my reader. (I’m a few day behind on my blog reading.) I felt the same way, I was relieved (cuz now I can try for number 2) but then called my husband at work and was like “My baby doesn’t love me anymore.” Congrats on making it to 14 months. :)

  13. Ashley says:

    So first of all, I hope you’re having a blast on your cruise! You bitch. :)
    Secondly, congrats on making it to 14 months! Drew self weaned at 9 months… The kid was just DONE with me and it crushed me. I actually spent the whole weekend traumatizing my very single with no kids best friend, who asked, “you’re not going to cry the whole time I’m here are you?!” it was pretty ugly. Stupid hormones.

    But yay! You’re on vacation! Getting a tan! Can’t wait to hear about it.

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