Family, Kids, Uncategorized

My Mother-Led Weaning Story: 11 Months Old

I realized a few short minutes after giving birth to my baby girl that she loved her milkies because when I unlatched her to switch sides, she had a fit. She didn’t even scream that loud when she came out of the womb. I mean it was a loud demanding cry, but she was fine once she continued her nursing session. Deciding to wean was a very tough decision for me and to be honest I was nervous about sharing my reasons for weaning because people can be so judgmental and sensitive when it comes to this subject; however, I personally believe that weaning is a decision that should be left up to each individual family and regardless if you breastfed your baby for 2 days or 2 years, you did a wonderful thing for your baby. 

Just to add a little background for you, I have been pregnant and/or breastfeeding nonstop since the end of 2012, so that makes a little over three years. My son was weaned (mother-led) at 15 months old. It was a little easier for me and him because he was older and was eating a variety of foods and his dad slept in his room with him for a week or so until he got used to drinking from his sippy cup at night. He also was supplemented with formula often as an infant (because I THOUGHT I had a low supply) until he was 9 or 10 months old. Weaning him wasn’t very emotional for me either because he was biting me and drawing blood so I had no problem saying no. 

Weaning my baby girl at eleven months was more challenging. One because she was exclusively breastfed and two because for the most part I had to do it on my own because her Dad was answering the call to duty. I started by allowing her 3 feedings a day. Before, I let her nurse whenever she wanted so any time she wanted to nurse outside of those feedings I just distracted her with snacks, sippy cup of water or juice, or toys. The transition to three feedings was pretty easy. I then started eliminating a feeding every few days and offering her a cup of whole milk to replace the feeding. I used the word offer because she didn’t always take it. She was not crazy about whole milk, which is understandable because whole milk is not as sweet as breast milk,  but eventually gave in and drank it. One day I ran out of whole milk and gave her almond milk and she loved it so I continued with almond milk because I’m not crazy about drinking from a cow myself. I just make sure to include good fats in her diet since almond milk lacks fat. She was also becoming constipated from the whole milk so I was happy all the way around with the switch and so was she. After three weeks, I decided that I was officially finished nursing. I was very emotional because I felt like I was selfish for rushing her through this process but I reminded myself that I am doing this to become a better me for my family and be the best mother I can be all the way around. I was also emotional because I loved breastfeeding my baby and would have loved to have done baby-led weaning but I felt my husband (yes he had a say so as well as he should) and I made the best decision for our family for various reasons. She was weaned from day feedings when I reached my stopping point but certainly not night feedings. I had done no night weaning up to this point, but I had no choice because like I said I was done. The first two nights my mom had to put her to sleep maybe two or three times throughout the night because she would not take a cup or bottle from me. She only wanted her milkies. The third night, she would receive a bottle from me but it had to be a bottle. I kept reading from various sites to only offer a cup, but I guess the breast-like nipple is soothing for her, and she has been fine with not getting mommy’s milk ever since. We still spend lots of time cuddling and bonding and we are just as close as we ever were if not closer. Every now and again she shows interest, but as long as she gets her milk in some form or fashion she is just fine. Because I did not go cold turkey, it was not a traumatic experience for her. A little disappointing but not tramatic, so I’m very happy about that. I did experience slight engorgement and pain (I believe it was a very mild case of mastitis) for the first few days, so I hand expressed a little milk for comfort and lightly massaged the painful areas. The pained lessened as the days passed. I was taking sudafed for congestion and there are claims that sudafed dries up milk but it did not have that affect on me.

Finally, I happily threw away all of my maternity bras and replaced them with brand new Victoria’s Secret push-up bras lol. I am now kicking up my weight loss regimen quite a bit since I no longer have to worry about having a milk supply or harming my baby with supplements. Manny and Arie deserve to have a mommy who is energetic and healthy enough to care for them, teach them, and play with them. Most importantly, my babies are happy and healthy so their mommy is happy!

-LR 

*The features photo was her last day nursing. A very bittersweet day*

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