The End Of A Breastfeeding Era

December 11, 2013

KAY-0084

A little over three weeks ago Mazen and I had our final nursing session. It was simultaneously a huge deal and a piece of cake.

About a month prior, I had dropped down from 4 feedings a day to 1 over the course of a few weeks. Our only nursing session was first thing in the morning and only one one side. I found this to be the best of both worlds: I could have date nights and total freedom during the day yet we got to have our first thing in the morning snuggle time and continue breastfeeding. The thought of jumping straight out of bed and rushing into breakfast seemed jarring, so I was happy to bring him back into bed with me and have more time to wake up. Mazen was always kind of indifferent about nursing. If I offered it to him he got excited, but he didn’t seem to notice when I dropped feedings.

KAY-0200

One morning he slept until 7am. I got up at 6:30 and began making us both oatmeal for breakfast. By the time he woke up, I had his breakfast all laid out on his tray – milk cup included. My coffee cup had just been poured and I didn’t really feel like getting back in bed, so I decided it would be a good day to test the waters of weaning. As I suspected, he seemed excited for the food on his tray and didn’t bat an eye when I brought him straight from his crib to the kitchen.

The next day I tried it again. This time he did the sign for milk, which made me question everything, but when I said “No milk today – let’s have breakfast!” he seemed to be OK with that. Three more days of going straight to breakfast and I knew he was ready to wean.

But I wasn’t.

KAY-0071

I wanted to have one more nursing session. To soak in the emotions. To spend extra time snuggling. To explain to him the milk was going bye bye. And to forever imprint the memory in my heart.

KAY-0077

So on November 18, after 5 days of not nursing, when Mazen woke up I carried him into my bed. I thought about the first time he latched on in the hospital right after birth. The terrible pain I experienced the first month. The sweet 3am nights with just the two of us. The boppy, the millions of disposable nursing pads, the silly shirts with flaps I bought. And all the times we escaped visitors and crowds to have some quiet moments together. Going on 15 months, I thought about what a big boy he has become.

KAY-0075

I snapped a photo of us from above. I shed a tear. And when he was finished I told him “All done milk. Bye-bye milk.”

KAY-0228

It’s been over three weeks and there have been a few times he has done the sign for milk or pulled on my shirt and I’ve reminded him that the milk is gone. To say this process has been bittersweet is a huge understatement. Yet as hard as it was to say goodbye to nursing, I knew this was right for us. Now on the other side, I’ve been really happy with the decision and timing. And I’m so thankful we had such a positive experience.

KAY-0244

Other breastfeeding posts:

The Road To Weaning

Breastfeeding: Angry Bird In A Swamp

Hours Of Milk

Breastfeeding: Large & In Charge

{ 61 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Laura @ Sneakers and Spatulas December 11, 2013 at 11:00 am

Beautifully written post :)

Reply

2 Katie December 11, 2013 at 11:11 am

Oh my goodness. This post brought me to tears. I don’t even want to think about the day I have to do this with my son. So incredibly beautiful <3

Reply

3 jen_alluisi December 11, 2013 at 11:31 am

We’re almost there. We’re down to first-thing-in-the-morning-only nursing, too. I think she’d be fine being done, but I’m not ready yet. I’m going to get us through the holidays with their crazy travel (and need to cling to as much routine as possible, for both of us) and into January, and then…we’ll see.

Reply

4 Laura December 11, 2013 at 11:35 am

I am sitting here pumping at work in tears after reading this! I hit the one year mark on Dec. 31 and have very mixed emotions on weaning. I know that it is different for everybody and every baby’s attachment to nursing is different. Dealing with the emotions of trying to plan the weaning process and thinking about our last nursing session makes me feel like a crazy emotional mess!

Reply

5 Kate December 11, 2013 at 11:44 am

Thanks for posting this, Kath. Question – how were you physically? Both during the 5 days when you did not feed him prior to the final nursing session and then thereafter? Were you engorged at all or uncomfortable? My daughter is 13 months and we are nursing in the morning and evening. I could certainly drop one and be ok physically, but I am starting to think I really need to look into weaning to see how it is going to affect me. I am just curious if you felt like you were still producing milk for a while after the final feed and how that milk eventually left your body. Thanks!

Reply

6 KERF December 11, 2013 at 1:00 pm

I was surprisingly totally fine. When I was down to just 1 session in the morning I never felt full anymore, so I don’t think it was building up much. Dropping the last one I didn’t even notice. I am going to follow up with a post on the emotions thereafter because I have definitely felt like I hormonal roller coaster at times.

Reply

7 Jess December 12, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Please do write about the emotions of it all. The week after I finished breastfeeding I thought the world was going to end. Angry then crying all within 2 minutes. Took me a little while and some googling to realize it was just my hormones going crazy. I never was aware that could happen and once I googled, I felt a little more normal! :)

Reply

8 Kathleen Ojo @ My Ojos December 11, 2013 at 12:19 pm

Thank you for sharing! It really is a bittersweet experience, nursing for the last time. I went through the same thing with my daughter in September, and wrote about it here:

http://onwardinward.blogspot.com/2013/11/weaned.html

She also seemed indifferent! I was willing to nurse her until she was 2, but as soon as she hit 12 months she totally lost interest and started playfully biting me every time we sat down to nurse (she had 9 teeth at that point, so those playful bites hurt!) She didn’t miss the breast at all, but it was quite hard for me… especially since I work full time outside the home, breastfeeding was something I relied on to feel connected to her. It worked out though. We’ve just replaced the nursing sessions with book reading in the rocker, or snuggling while watching Thomas and Friends :)

Reply

9 Karen December 11, 2013 at 12:55 pm

Wow- I am sitting here bawling yet smiling. My little Lauren is 3 months old and breastfeeding was easy with us as I have tons of milk and she is a great latcher…. but it has caused carpal tunnel in my left hand and de quervain’s tenosynovitis in my right hand but I refuse to stop because of the reasons you mention above. A mother’s love is too strong and so is our connection with our babies. Thank you for reminding me why I continue to endure the pain, numbness and loosing some of the use of my hands…. to provide nourishment, love and pouring of myself into my baby.. literally. Thank you Kath

Reply

10 K December 12, 2013 at 2:56 am

Hi Karen

I too suffered from terrible pain in my hands and wrists both towards the end of pregnancy and due to the way I had to hold Baby to get her latched properly (I’d rather have sore wrists than sore nipples!) so I can certainly feel your pain!

My midwife referred me to a Hand Therapist who fitted me with wrist braces to wear at night and gave me exercises to do to relieve the pressure on my nerves. She also advised me to stop wearing any bracelets or a watch so that I didn’t have any weight inflaming my wrists.

I wore the wrist braces for about three months and I started to incorporate more laid-back nursing which took the pressure off my wrists, nursing also got more comfortable as LO got older and we really got into our groove.

Here’s the link to the nerve glide exercises and I hope your hands and wrists feel better soon!

https://www.google.co.nz/search?q=nerve+gliding+exercises+carpal+tunnel&tbm=isch&tbo=u&source=univ&sa=X&ei=92qpUrmSE-iCiQfIpYH4Dw&ved=0CE4QsAQ&biw=1366&bih=599

Reply

11 Katie December 11, 2013 at 1:22 pm

I has almost the same experience! I nursed Josie for 15.5 months and I felt the same way you did during our final session. I agree, it was the perfect way to end the breastfeeding relationship and while I’m mostly glad that portion of life is behind us, I so miss the stolen quiet moments of snuggling just the two of us. Bittersweet is the perfect word. Way to go on nursing for 14ish months!

Reply

12 Nikki T December 11, 2013 at 1:52 pm

Love this post <3
Bye bye milk is nearing for us as well…

Reply

13 Melissa December 11, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Love this post. My daughter is almost one and I’m starting to think about the logistics of weaning. One thing I’m worried about is if she’ll get enough fluids, as she doesn’t drink that much water from her sippy yet. I guess we’ll have to see how she takes to cows milk. How much milk/water does Mazen drink per day? How often do you offer the cows milk?

Reply

14 KERF December 11, 2013 at 2:23 pm

He has been into water for a while – from about 7 months on. I think she will probably adjust naturally when she gets less milk, but I suppose talk to your doctor :) I’d say M has one sippy of water and one sippy of milk a day, give or take

Reply

15 Shel@PeachyPalate December 11, 2013 at 2:58 pm

Beautiful! Thanks for sharing…it’s such a hard thing to decide but when you feel it’s right it’s usually the best time. I think many mums carry it on too long for their own sake rather than for the childs. They end up having to breastfeed the newborn and the toddler! Keep us posted on your side in terms of how you’re feeling physically. I’d be interested in getting an insight.

Reply

16 Ashley L. December 11, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Lovely post and congrats on your journey. It is a an incredible gift mom and baby give to each other. I EP and today was my last pumping session for my son. So bittersweet….but so wonderful at the same time. Congrats on your journey!

Reply

17 Danielle December 11, 2013 at 4:54 pm

Congrats on making it to 15 months! I originally wanted to make it to 8 months and when C’s reflux got really bad and her nursing was so inconsistent my supply dropped. Went on to exclusively pump for 3 more months and at 6 months, after being back at work for a few weeks, my supply had dropped so much I had to stop. I can’t even remember our last nursing session. Hopefully baby number two will be able to nurse for longer! Thanks for sharing!

Reply

18 Kimmy December 11, 2013 at 6:09 pm

Beautifully written post. I’d lie if I said I wasn’t getting choked up while reading it. My son is about to turn 1 next week, and while we plan on nursing past his birthday, I’m starting to wean from the pump at work because I can’t take it anymore. I’m worried on how long I’ll make it once I stop pumping, so it’s encouraging to see that you still were able to do the one morning session a day! I know it will be bittersweet when it’s all over. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

19 Jaima December 11, 2013 at 6:25 pm

This post induced an Oprah ugly cry. So moving. Thank you for sharing your journey, as it gives me hope that when this same day comes for me and my little man it will be ok. Cheers to you!

Reply

20 Janine Custer December 11, 2013 at 6:55 pm

Wow Kath you really just said everything I’ve been feeling these last two weeks. It’s been harder for me than I think it’s been for Henry. I am literally in tears. For me, It was our time; quiet time for just Henry and mommy. I never thought I would be so attached to breastfeeding considering how much I complained at times. I also think it’s a sign of my baby growing up, and we are probably not going to have anymore children due to my age. I really love reading your entry’s, knowing that Henry is 3 months behind M… I always look forward to see what new adventures you guy’s are experiencing. Thanks for sharing =)

Reply

21 Jeanie December 11, 2013 at 7:22 pm

How very poignant.

Reply

22 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries December 11, 2013 at 7:55 pm

Thank you for this, Kath! :)

Reply

23 Coco December 11, 2013 at 8:09 pm

Reading this post makes me want to cry because I’m about to wean my 14.5 months baby, although she seems to be ready, I’m still not. Why is it so hard??? I wanted to do when she turned 14 months but then I failed. I’m going for a business trip this weekend, so ill miss two night feelings (the only the since few months ago), I’m not sure I will be able to do it. I know i will still have milk when I come back so I will be tempted to nurse again, but I hope I will be strong enough to resist the urge. I just love so much the bounding time we have, the only moment that she is quiet and small like a baby.

You said you have some roller coaster emotion changes, do you think it’s hormonal? I have been breaking out nonstop since I cut down nursing, but I thought going from nursing knee a day to fully wean wouldn’t change much our hormones. Isn’t it?

Reply

24 KERF December 11, 2013 at 9:41 pm

I don’t know the science but I bet as long as they are latching there is a certain cocktail of hormones working and no matter how little milk we’re making it’s enough to keep the fire burning

Reply

25 Maren December 11, 2013 at 8:37 pm

Like others, this post has me tearing up. I’m still nursing my 15 month old (our LO’s birthdays only days apart) with no sign of weaning. I do know that it will bittersweet when it ends. Congratulations on your accomplishment and thank you for sharing!

Reply

26 Mandie December 11, 2013 at 8:37 pm

I’m looking into dropping the morning feed, G is about the same age as mazen, but the problem is he eats breakfast at daycare. I’t’s too stressful to try and feed him on our way out the door and I’m worried if he doesn’t get up and have something until then, he’ll cry and whine. I’m really not sure what to replace that with…maybe a sippy of milk???

Reply

27 Linda December 12, 2013 at 10:35 am

I’m in this same position. My son just turned 14 months old and goes to daycare and eats breakfast there too. He also does not really like cows milk, but does drink water. We are still nursing morning and night, but am looking to fully wean as my husband and I are going out of town for 5 days the very beginning of January. My son loves those applesauce pouches and often has one in the morning before daycare. You could try that as an option if a sippy of milk doesn’t work for you. Good luck. I think this is harder on the Mamas than the babies.

Reply

28 KERF December 12, 2013 at 1:21 pm

I think trying the sippy is a good idea. If he rejects it he can’t be that hungry, right?

Reply

29 Hope December 18, 2013 at 4:13 pm

My son has breakfast at daycare also. I usually give him milk and half of a banana or a fruit/veggie pouch as we are walking out the door.

Reply

30 Amelia December 11, 2013 at 8:41 pm

Sounds like the process was very smooth apart from the nostalgia. Lucy was a different story. Adamant about “milky” for months! But we got there. I still have a small bottle of breastmilk in the freezer though…just for nostalgia’s sake :)

Reply

31 Rachel December 11, 2013 at 9:35 pm

Beautiful, made me cry. Congrats on a great journey together.

Reply

32 Maren December 11, 2013 at 9:36 pm

Like others, this post has me tearing up. I’m still nursing my 15 month old (our LO’s birthdays only days apart) with no sign of weaning. I do know that it will bittersweet when it ends. Congratulations on your accomplishment and thank you for sharing!

Reply

33 Aria December 11, 2013 at 10:26 pm

Congratulations! You did great!

Reply

34 Megan December 11, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Wow, what a sweet post. I cried too, thinking of my yet to be waaned daughter born a few days after Mazen. Please do write the emotions post, I think many of us will be happy to share that with you. Congratulations on 15 months and your beautiful big boy!

Reply

35 Kym December 12, 2013 at 1:36 am

My son just turned 13 months and we are still feeding 4x per day – I feed him evening and before bed, and I pump twice during the day while at work. I dropped from 3 pumps to 2 when he turned 1. My supply is dropping a lot, and his nursing sessions are super short now. I feel like he might be ready for the road to weaning, but a lot of times when he nurses, it calms him like nothing else can. I’m not ready for him to wean yet, even though I would love the freedom. Reading your story made me tear up. I hope when we do wean, that it goes as nicely as it did for you, and that I also am able to burn the memory of the last feed into my heart, as you said.

Reply

36 Lori December 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm

My son is 14 months and I still pump at work. Totally not ready to wean. I love the way it calms him, among other reasons to love it.

Reply

37 Carrie December 12, 2013 at 7:28 pm

This is exactly my situation. I cried when I read this post. My son is 13 months and I am feeding morning/night and now pump 2x at work instead of 3 before. I have my own office and a flexible schedule so pumping really isn’t that much of a chore. My son is so active bfeeding is the one time in the day that we get to slow down together and cuddle. When he latches on at night he’ll closes his eyes seeming to go into this dreamy happy place. Those first 6 weeks after he was born bfeeding was such an uphill struggle, I fought so hard for it. It has really become one of my greatest joys with my son. I remember before I even was thinking of having kids I was totally surprised that moms bfeed past a year, I didn’t even know it was possible. Now I feel totally comfortable continuing this for as long as both my little guy and I want to. I do find the 180 in societal pressure is striking – we are bombarded by breast is best at birth and then told at year 1 we should wrap it up. It really is a wonderful mama/baby time and everyone has their own journey – thank you for sharing Kath.

Reply

38 Grace December 13, 2013 at 8:18 am

For what it’s worth, stopping pumping at work doesn’t necessarily mean you have to wean, at all. Your body will adjust. I stopped pumping at work when my daughter was a year (she takes cow’s milk in a sippy during the day), and she still nurses 3x a day (morning, when I get home from work, and before bed), and she’s two years old.

Reply

39 Kerry December 12, 2013 at 7:59 am

Awwww. This did make me emotional to read….I’m weaning my 16 month old in hopes that I can get pregnant at some point soon.

Yes, the weaning process is very hormonal, and can make us…hormonal! :). Thanks for sharing.

Reply

40 Chelsea December 12, 2013 at 12:27 pm

Such a sweet post. I’m still nursing my 1-year-old a few times a day, and neither one of us is ready to be done yet, but I do try to appreciate each session we have because I know they are limited.

Reply

41 Sara December 12, 2013 at 12:44 pm

So sweet. It brought tears to my eyes in my cubical at work! My son will be seven months on Sunday. We’re still going strong (I have to exclusively pump due to feeding issues, but it is what it is!) I look forward to the day I no longer have to pump, but it makes me sad too. We grow our children in our bodies (nourishing them through the placenta, etc.) and then by breastfeeding, we continue to be their nourishment. That’s a long time. It’s pretty incredible. Thanks for sharing!

Reply

42 Liz December 12, 2013 at 2:29 pm

This made me cry too! My daughter is 11 months and we finally night weaned a week ago. It’s the beginning of the end, and as ready as I am to be done, I know I’ll probably miss it a little too! I hope to wean at a year so that we can start fertility treatments again to have baby #2. Congrats on nursing for so long!

Reply

43 Jenn December 12, 2013 at 4:11 pm

Thank you so much for sharing your weaning experience. I too felt attached to the ritual (the morning snuggles can never be replaced). It was so much more emotional than I ever thought it could be-even despite our own struggles. Congrats on making it so long to both of you!

Reply

44 Mom December 12, 2013 at 6:54 pm

So sweet and beautifully stated. Love the pictures too.

Reply

45 Lindsay December 12, 2013 at 9:43 pm

Great photos! Made me tear up because my Luke does the milk sign. They’re so cute.

Reply

46 Rosie December 13, 2013 at 6:42 am

My daughter is almost 6 so my weaning days were years ago but this was a lovely post to read. Thank you.

Reply

47 Carrie December 13, 2013 at 7:27 pm

Thanks for sharing! 15 months is a great accomplishment. I still have some months left with my 11 month old daughter but am starting to (emotionally) prepare now!

Reply

48 Kelley December 14, 2013 at 1:11 am

Hugs. It is a tough transition emotionally. You did great!

Reply

49 Kelly Shinton December 16, 2013 at 2:33 pm

This is just the saddest thing ever…my son is almost 4 months old, and reading your posts about breast feeding has made me want to cherish every moment…thank you

Reply

50 Dolly December 16, 2013 at 6:26 pm

I needed to read this today. I nursed my son for 15 months and the weaning had been very gradual and we both knew it was time. However with my second child I’m at 10 months and my supply is decreasing and I can’t keep up with my daughter’s needs. I thought I had at least another month or two left of nursing. I am shocked at how hard this feeling is. I know in the grand scheme of things this won’t matter but, just for today I’m going to be sad.

Reply

51 Ali December 16, 2013 at 9:51 pm

That made me shed a tear and made me think about my journey with breastfeeding thus far (9.5 months). I don’t feel anywhere near ready to quit, but I’m sure I will at 15 months.

Reply

52 Barca Mama December 17, 2013 at 10:44 am

Love this post. I was a disaster when I stopped nursing my son at 16 months. I just started my daughter on solids and even that made me emotional this time around.
Apologies if you have already answered this question here or in your KERF blog, but how did you adjust your diet when you began the weaning process? Did you consciously drop calories?

Reply

53 KERF December 17, 2013 at 7:39 pm

I haven’t intentionally adjusted anything. I’m always trying to get my squiggly line to have more dips : ) So far I haven’t gained weight – maybe even lost some.

Reply

54 Melissa Land December 17, 2013 at 11:31 am

Thank you for posting your story. I have an almost 14 month old and I have been following your story, closely. You convinced me that it was ok I was only feeding from one side. My difference is this is my last baby and I am incredibly sad to say goodbye to nursing. It is time and he is like Mazon and ready to say goodbye but mommy is really struggling to hold on. Your story has inspired me and reminded me that I am human. I would love to hear your thought on the emotional side as I am faced with that right now.

Reply

55 Hannah @ eat, drink and save money December 17, 2013 at 3:03 pm

So bittersweet! I’m still having a hard time adjusting to my little man eating solids. I miss the days of long nursing sessions. Our sessions are short and hurried these days. Wonderful post, thanks for sharing!

Reply

56 Shannon H December 18, 2013 at 2:39 pm

Thank you for this great post about breastfeeding! I have just gone through this with my almost 15 month old and feel the same emotions you did. It was wonderful experience and part of me wishes I didn’t have to say no but more of me felt like it was time to stop.

Reply

57 Becca December 18, 2013 at 4:24 pm

Thanks for sharing – this was terrific.

Reply

58 Simple Green Moms December 21, 2013 at 8:22 pm

Love this! Just stopped nursing my 15 month old too and it is so emotional!

Reply

59 RosSumiati December 27, 2013 at 11:09 pm

I am thinking to breastfeeding my little boy next time when he got here, i am now expecting, it is now 33 weeks age. Thank you for this information you share, i bookmarked it so then i can read it again. Best Regards

Reply

60 Rachel March 28, 2014 at 4:01 pm

I realize this comment/question is late to the game, but I think it’s a fair and relevant one: I am trying to understand letting Mazen take five days to get used to not nursing and then making him have one more feeding. It seems like he was on the path you wanted to travel, but then you pulled him back because you weren’t ready. Maybe I’m missing something – can you clarify?

Reply

61 KERF March 29, 2014 at 4:31 pm

I didn’t make him have one more. ..I offered and he accepted. I wanted to have one final session so we both could say goodbye. It worked out well. I would not have forced him if he’d pushed away.

Reply

Leave a Comment

Current day month ye@r *

Previous post:

Next post: