Friday, December 30, 2011

The end of an era...

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?


  1. That must be a great feeling! Congrats! xo, rv

  2. Congratulations! I know the end is not without heartache, but it sounds like you had a long and wonderful nursing journey. My son weaned himself by thirteen months and I was so shocked at how natural and easy the transition was-he just nursed less and less while relying more and more on solids and one evening refused to nurse at all and that was the end. I never had to think out a way to set boundaries, etc., since he did it on his own, but I think your advice for the situation sounds reasonable and really great. How wonderful that you were able to nurse for so long-you have set your son up to be healthy and thriving through his whole childhood!

  3. I weaned at almost 15 months. I wanted to go longer (until age 2) but I was pregnant with my second at the time and it was just too painful, that, plus I found that my milk supply dwindled.

    When I did wean, it happened very quickly. I think my daughter wasn't get much from my breasts anyway at the time so when we stopped it's like she didn't take much of an issue with it. I was sad about the end but with time realized that it was for the best. She did, I think, miss the comfort that nursing provides, so sometimes, when we would be together and she felt anxious, tired, or nervous, she would put her hand on my breasts, and that, for her, seemed enough. She continued doing this until my second daughter was born.

    Good for you for going so long! That's a great accomplishment. With my second, and unless I get pregnant again, I hope to go longer than I did with my first.

  4. Awe. This bought tears to my eyes. Letti is right here asleep on the boob.. Lol. 9.5 months for us. I do look forward to having my body back, but I honestly have no idea how long we will nurse for and how I will go about weaning. Your way sounds like the right way, but I'm not sure if I will be strong enough. :-/

    Love your post and thanks SO much.


  5. Loving the new look!

  6. This brought a tear to my eye! We are still in the thick of it, so it's hard to think about weaning without being very emotional! It sounds like you did a lovely job of it, and had a long time together building your BF relationship. Congrats on moving on to the next phase. xo

  7. We've made it nearly a year so far. A few weeks ago, I thought he was favoring solids and nursing less, so then my supply followed suit. Turned out, it was just a fluke, and all of a sudden I wasn't pumping enough at work. Scared the crap out of me. But now we're back on track. Just wanted to thank you for the great tips that I know will come in handy... eventually. And congratulations on making it as far as you did, and on weaning so naturally. Well done, mama!

  8. I am so glad I caught a minute (on the computer) to finally read this. You give me hope lady! How many nights was he taking the pumped milk out of a cup? My husband seems to think this is going in the wrong direction, but to me, it seems like an easier transition than nothing at all. I have so many more questions for you, but maybe I'll shoot you an email.
    With love,

  9. You go, mama! I am so proud of you for nursing so long! Unfortunately, my little Beatrice completely lost interest and weaned herself at 10 months. She is the most independent person I have ever known and even at that age she had too much exploring to do to sit on my lap. She would fight and scream and try to get away and even bite me! It nearly broke my heart.

  10. I'm so happy I clicked over to your blog to read this. I have so much anxiety about how weaning is going to ruin the trust my daughter has in me and somehow destroy our relationship (she's 16 months). So glad to hear it was an easy process. My next step is to limit the nursing to just morning, nap and bedtime. She often likes a post-nap cuddle nurse and 5pm snack.