So it is official, Hendrix is weaned. After two years and three months of nursing our breast feeding relationship has come to an end. It's a bitter sweet moment in my life. Watching my boy become more independent fills me with an overwhelming sense of pride and I am excited to get my body back. On the other end, it is a very definite end to something I'm incredibly attached to and that has been nothing short of heart breaking.
I figured I would share some of the ways we managed to work through weaning without a ton of tears.Weaning started months ago. I did it gradually so it wouldn't feel like a sudden jolt to either one of us. I think Hendrix asked for milk for three reasons 1. boredom 2.hunger and 3. comfort. If it was 1 or 2 I didn't feel bad about taking it away from him and as far as 3 goes, one of my main goals here was to make him more independent so if he was looking or comfort I wanted him to get it from other ways.
The first step was no longer offering mama milk to Hendrix. I would, often without even realizing, offer milk as a solution to a lot of problems. If H was throwing fits in a restaurant or bumped his head the first thing I would do was offer up some milk. Ending this helped me realize how little he actually wanted it.
After a couple weeks of that I began putting Hendrix off when he would ask for milk. I also made it a point to only nurse at certain times of the day in certain places. I nursed in the morning, nap, and nighttime. That was it. No more nursing in public or when we were out and about. I'd be lying if I said this was easy. This resulted in a lot of temper tantrums at first. He would yell and grab at my shirt but I held firm. I looked at it like this; if we are in the store and Henry asks for water I most likely don't have any. Therefore he doesn't get it. There's no way around it and sometimes he just has to hear "no, you can have some later". The same can go for mama milk. He didn't always like it, but he got used to it real fast. Once he knew when to expect his milk he would roll with it. After a while if I said, "no, you can have mama milk later" he would just move on without protest. I started carrying water and snacks with me at all times to help distract him from wanting mama milk. I think this is probably where a lot of people have trouble, sometimes you have to say no and mean it. Consistency is really important here. Tantrums suck but they are apart of having a toddler and whether its breast milk related or not, as some point you have to stick to your guns. I didn't feel bad for Henry because I wasn't taking the milk away completely, I was just creating some boundaries.
After a month or so I moved on to getting rid of his nighttime feedings. I thought for sure this was going to be the hardest step. It wasn't. I'm still blown away by how easily Hendrix gave it up. I thought it would be tears and screaming and a total nightmare. While it wasn't easy, I was shocked by how quickly he moved on from bedtime nursing. I began by pumping a little bit and putting it in a cup for Hendrix to have right before bed. We did his usual routine of PJs, face washing, teeth brushing, and story reading and right before lights out (when I would normally nurse him) I gave him a cup of mama milk. He was pretty stoked on this until he realized that he wasn't getting any straight from the boob.I assured him that he could nurse in the morning. He whined the words "mama milk" about a thousand times and even worked himself up to tears once or twice but I stayed with him and rubbed his back. Hendrix curled himself up next to me and while playing with my hair, drifted off to sleep. The next night he only whined about half that. The following night, he asked for mama milk five times. The night after that he never mentioned it all.
Once that was over and done with I didn't give him any in the morning. He just let that go. No fuss whatsoever.
That was about a two weeks ago and since then he hasn't had any. I am totally shocked by easy it actually was. I thought we were going to have EPIC fits over it but once we got past the first few days of each "phase" he was fine. I am also shocked by how different bed time is. He is much calmer and falls asleep a lot easier than he ever did with nursing. I actually think the breast feeding was keeping him up towards the end. He is waking well rested and in a better mood since weaning. I believe that may be because while he was still nursing if he awoke in the middle of the night he would always need BFing to fall back asleep but now he just rolls over and drifts off!
I still get a bit sad over the end of this era in my life but overall, I think it was the best decision for Hendrix.
If you breast fed your babe at what age did you wean? Any tips for those who haven't? What about those still BFing? How long do you want to go for?