Weaning is NOT for Wussies.

After Oliver's first birthday I wrote about how I was determined to wean him from nursing. (Weaning from Nursing-Step 1: Stop Messing Around!) While I was serious about wanting to wean him, I was not as determined as I thought I was.  Weaning your child from the breast is not awesome, and no matter how much you want to wean, it takes serious determination.
How in the hell do I say NO to this face?!
When I originally set out to start the weaning process after Ollies' first birthday I managed to get him down to three nursing sessions, morning, nap and bedtime. This was about three months ago that we leveled off at that, and since I have not pushed him to wean anymore.  I decided that since I was not working, I was fine with the three feedings.  I also hoped that he would start the process of self-weaning. It never happened.

Needless to say, he loves to nurse. Nursing is a huge part of our daily routine. I struggle sometimes to understand why we have to stop. I worry about him feeling rejected.  Plus, I have milk, why go by some from the cow? Plain and simple all excuses aside,  I am scared of losing the bond Ollie and I share once I fully wean him. The idea of my very last nursing session with Ollie makes me feel sick in my belly.  It makes me feel sad in my heart. It makes me realize that I want to keep nursing as much as I want to stop.

I cannot freaking believe that weaning is so hard!  I thought it would be this simple process of drop a feeding every week.  WRONG! WRONG! WRONG!  It is this complex process of drop a feeding, wait a week or two to let you and your child get over the adjustment to the routine, then move on to the next feeding to be dropped. Little did I know that there was one more major hurdle, the emotional strings attached to nursing run deep.

I know it is time to wean. Now that he is eating a well balanced diet he no longer needs my milk.  Plus, I don't want Ollie to get too used to it, or God forbid in a few months point and ask for it! For me I want to have the freedom to go out for the day and not worry about nap-time.  I want FTD to be able to put Ollie to sleep at night.  I want to stop lactating for fuck sake!   I know we need to move on and that is that.

Last week I dropped the morning feeding.  To be 100% I-may-be-a-selfish-mom honest, I kept the nap and bedtime feedings for last because I hate to hear Ollie cry himself to sleep, so to me, the sessions that nurse him to sleep will be the most traumatic to loose. So far Ollie seems OK with losing his morning feeding, but what do I know since he can't talk.  He may be furious and waiting for the chance to escape during a diaper change to pee in my shoes.

My friends, my heart is breaking and it sucks! I don't want to lose the special moments of quiet nursing when I hold Ollie close.  I am so afraid of losing this bond.  Thinking of that last feeding is so bitter sweet.  I want it, I know I need to do it, but my God I know I will cry.  I have to stay strong and focused on weaning.



I never in my time as a nursing mother imagined that weaning was going to break my heart. I hated nursing in the beginning.  At 8 months I dreamt of weaning.  At 12 months I was determined to stop, and now here I am at nearly 16 months of nursing trying to figure out how to stop without needing to be put in a padded room and be heavily medicated.  WTF?!


My friends, again I say, Weaning is NOT for Wussies!  If you are going to wean, you are going to need to get tough. You are going to need to be focused and determined.  You are going to need support and help.

UPDATE:  Weaning is NOT for this Wussy!  Click here to read my nursing update...

Please, if you have any stories, or tips on weaning please share!  

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Two confused parents=One amused baby Hopelessly we are trying raise a baby who is clearly smarter than both of us. April is an award-winning writer, blogger and proud debut novelist - The Devlyn Disguise. Her work has been published in over ten countries and four languages. From books to newspapers, to print/online magazines and everything in between, you can find her work. For more about April, Visit AprilMcCormick.com

19 comments:

Kristy J said...

I don't have any tips but I can say you won't lose the special bond and close time. He'll still want to snuggle up on you when he gets tired or when you give him a cup of milk before bed. AJ and I have our special time when I rock him to sleep. It's the best part of my whole day. He puts his head on my shoulder and I rub his back and he rubs my shoulder. It's awesome. You will never lose that bond with Ollie, you're his mamma and he loves you! Good luck with the weaning.

Jessika Kazaros said...

Wait~! What? No! Here's the deal- he can always "use your milk"- honestly... I know, I know, not practicing what I preach, but seriously... the benefits are sooooo huge on breastfeeding- and just remember, if we were sitting just about anywhere else but the U.S., you wouldn't be as concerned about the social stigmas associated with weaning by a certain age- honestly. Just remember the World Health Organization recommends breastfeeding through at least the first 2 years as a worldwide health goal... it's only in the US that the Amer. Acad. of Pediatrics that only says the first year as a minimum recommendation. Sigh... April, I've been so torn about all this as well, and honestly- if you're still producing, and everyone's happy- then stop stressing! I think that's part of the reason I'm stressed out and writing at 3 and 4 am... do what you gotta do!!!

Alissa said...

April! My heart goes out to girl. It is so emotional and I clearly remember the last time I nursed James. I thought "This is it... I will never be as close to my baby ever again". But on the flip side, you find other ways to bond. Your little Ollie will still want to snuggle and be close to his mommy. And think of the freedom... man-oh-man... It was so nice to have my body back! You can eat and drink whatever/when you want, you don't live by the clock, you get more free time! There are so many benefits. You can do it, and yes you will cry but it will be ok.

Anonymous said...

I don't get it? Why are you weaning if you don't want to? Even the world health organization agree that boobies until 2 is recommended? Go with your gut, if you're feeling bad about it, don't do it.

Anonymous said...

AWWWW! I am thinking of you this must be so hard. With all the challenges that I had with breast feeding the only thing that I have learned is that you have to do what is best for you. Forget anyone else. If that means you decide not to wean for a bunch more months, so be it. When my LO and I finally stopped, I had no idea it was happening, it just ended up being the last session and to this day that makes me sad, but it was what was best for her (and me) I guess at the time. As you go on this journey I wish you lots of luck and will be thinking about you. And you are right...who could say no to that little face! :)

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

Thank you. Maybe it is about creating a new special time!

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

The only thing that is pushing me is the freedom. I am going on 25 months of being restricted. But I am a momma, I suppose that is apart of it. It is so hard to be strong when I am so torn.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

You are 100% right! I shouldn't do it. I am weaning for mostly, no ALL, selfish reasons. I want my freedom, I want to eat and drink whatever when ever, I don't want Ollie getting so attached to it that at 2 I am bargaining with him to quit nursing. It's all I I I and ME ME ME, so far Ollie is not going crazy over weaning, but he surely is not doing it himself. Maybe I should back off a little. Maybe I should not plan on dropping feedings ever week...

thanks for your comment Kate, this is a tough decision. I just wish Ollie would wean on his own so we both can feel good about it. Well, I will still be sad to see the bond go regardless of when it happens.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

How old was your LO when she stopped? I wish it was that way with Ollie too.

FirstTimeMomandDad.com said...

You are killing me! You give me hope with your weaning, but you say don't do it! This reminds me of me when readers want their child to advance, and I know from experience to embrace the experience of now and wait for those next milestones! JESSIKA! I really think I am going to slow down on the push to quit now!

Anonymous said...

I weaned my daughter at 9 weeks. I was going back to work and lugging the breast pump, finding a free room, taking an hour out of my work day was too much for me. I did nurse first thing in the morning and at night, but one morning, as she was nursing, I looked at her and said "this is it." We moved on to formula and never had any problems. She's 1-year and I still rock her to sleep every night. That's our bonding time and I'm not giving that up for a long time. I'll rock her until she's 5, if she'll let me. I agree with the other moms, once you stop weaning (when YOU'RE ready), you'll find other moments to bond with Ollie that will be just as special ss nursing is now.

Jessika Kazaros said...

LOL. Yes ma'am... just saying, I'm already having weaner's remorse (LOL)... so... no reason to rush! Honestly. Besides- avoiding ear infections and other crap that may crop up is ideal :)

Anonymous said...

I felt the same way... until my daughter grabbed my breast in public and said "bob" (her word for boob) for the first time. I immediately flashed back to a comical (or horrific, depending upon which person you ask) scene: a girlfriends three-year-old daughter jumping on one of our friends who was laying down on the floor, grabbing both breasts and yelling "Milk from the boobies!" while jiggling her hands. :-D For me? Hilarious. For my friend being groped? Horrifying.

My mom actually breast fed her oldest child until she was three years old, which was when she got pregnant again. She stopped breast feeding... until she gave birth to her second child... and then SHE STARTED BREAST FEEDING HER OLDEST in addition to her newborn.... um... yeah.... she was almost FIVE YEARS OLD......................... THAT is too long.

Long story short, don't worry about this too much. If he can say "boob", or his version thereof, I imagine you will do the same thing as I did... weaning will become much easier. ;-) Whatever the case, or however long you decide to breast feed, he will continue to feel loved after you stop. No question asked. And you two will develop a new ritual that both of you will find equally as fulfilling. Buck up chuck! You're doing great!!!

Mrs. Loquacious said...

Oh hon - enjoy the BF while you can! Pretty soon he's gonna be running away from you and not wanting the snuggles or the milk, and then there will be tears! Until that day, just go with it and enjoy the bonding.

We're still going strong at 15 months and I plan to do this until Little L either self-weans, or her mouth is full of scary big teeth. Hoping that by age 2, she will have weaned, but I'm not sweating it until then.

And though our boobs are still common property for the moment, it's good that they're being used for their intended purpose. Pretty soon, they'll go back to being accessories/hubby's toys again.. ;)

Shay Grant said...

Sorry hun I don't have any advice, but I do really like the idea of creating a special time for the two of you. Spud has been weaning himself off his bottles, so I take any opportunity I can get to have a cuddle (okay okay I did that before he weaned too, but still, it's extra special now).
I totally get your reasons for wanting to wean, and for being hesitant about it too. As lovely as a black and white decision would be, there are so many shades of grey, and only you know which shade fits you guys best. Go with your gut hun, you're doing a great job xx

Suburban Momma said...

Hey there Darling, I saw your fb post and I'm so glad that you decided to hold off on weaning! I nursed Ev till she was 2 and honestly, I think she was ready. Good for you on doing what is best for you and Ollie. xoxo

Kristy Cronkrite said...

I know how you feel because I was there just a few months ago. But here we are at 2yrs (and almost 1 month) and I still haven't weaned. Some days she just nurses at nap and bedtime, and other days (usually when she's cranky, teething, or tired) it feels like 10 times a day. But as a stay-at-home mom, I can't find any good reason to force it. I will say that you don't need to wean to have others put him down for naps or bed. I've had several times when I've had appointments or classes and my husband or mother-in-law has put her down. She might be more clingy the next day, but nothing too bad. Give it a try and see how it goes!

Lizzy Allan said...

It broke my hear too! I weaned just before 16 months. Everyone was putting me under a lot of pressure to stop because he was "big now" and walking, etc etc. If I could go back in time, I wouldn't have listened to anyone else (including my mum!) and would have just taken it a bit easier. My baby wasn't quite ready either, which is my biggest regret.

Anonymous said...

I know I am late on this but i just came across your blog a few days ago and I can't stop reading! I nursed my daughter until she was about 7 months old. I would have loved to nurse her longer but because pumping never really worked out well for me and I wasn't comfortable with breastfeeding in public I used formula to supplement whenever we went out. She slowly started to wean herself from me and it broke my heart. She is on full formula now and 10 months old. We still snuggle ALL the time, and I do not believe that we have lost any of the bond that we made from nursing. Think about the mothers who can't breastfeed for medical reasons or the ones that choose not too. They still have the same amazing bond with their child that nursing mothers do. Its a bond that can't be broken by anything! Even weaning. Good luck and I look forward to continue reading your blog posts! :)

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