The Road To Weaning

October 8, 2013

Baby KERF has slowed down since I have less time to blog these days. I also don’t have as much to say as I did in Mazen’s early months. But one topic I have been itching to write about for weeks is weaning. I am now only nursing once per day, we are getting very close to our final feeding. Luckily it has all gone very well. I wanted to share our experiences going from four feedings a day to one.

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When I started breastfeeding I had no idea how long I would nurse. My goal was a year. I could see myself going to two if it worked out. But as we approached 12 months, I knew I didn’t want to continue breastfeeding long term. I won’t go as far as to say Mazen wasn’t interested anymore, but like most older babies, he seemed to be outgrowing it. He would only nurse on my right side for a few seconds, so we were down to just the left. And he didn’t ask to nurse – I was always the one to offer.

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As for the reasons I was ready to move on…I’ve never found the pump to be particularly efficient, so going out in the evenings has either been a hassle (pumping) or too short to be worth it (we leave after bedtime nursing or come home before). I also wanted to travel again. I have had several awesome invitations I’ve had to turn down because they weren’t baby friendly. It was fine at the time because I’m not quite ready to leave Mazen overnight yet (for my own tearfulness!) but I am hoping in the months to come I can slip away on a few trips. I dedicated my body to Mazen this first year (two if you count pregnancy!), so I don’t feel guilty about wanting a bit of freedom back.

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For an entire YEAR of my life I wore breast pads 24/7. While leaking wasn’t a big issue, let down was. Whenever Mazen nursed on one side the other side would let down too. So as long as I have nursed, I’ve needed a protective layer in my bra. Moreover, I have spent the past year in nursing bras (day and night). It’s a small reason to want to stop nursing, but I would really like my old bras back!

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Once we were on the other side of a year and our doctor gave us the all clear at our 12 month checkup, the thought of weaning was more and more appealing. I could tell Mazen was relying less and less on milk for nutrition and comfort and nursing was more routine than anything else.

However, as much as I want to wean, emotionally I want to breastfeed for years. When I think about our final feeding I want to burst into tears. I am sure there is some cocktail of hormones that is creating this response. More than turning one, more than his first words or first steps, weaning means we are leaving the chapter of babyhood behind and moving on to bigger boy things. This is a good thing, obviously, but there is absolutely a part of my heart that breaks thinking about the fact that I will no longer be able to physically provide for him.

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I had secretly hoped Mazen would give up nursing completely on his own. That he would one day push away and be done with it (as my mom said I did with her). But even though I am the one directing this process, I can sense he is on board with it too. If he had shown signs of really not being ready, I probably would continue on a little longer. But he seems indifferent about nursing. He likes it, but he doesn’t need it. He reminds me it’s part of our routine, but he has accepted the change well.

I have offered organic cow’s milk to Mazen, but he doesn’t really love it just yet. He spit it out at first, but now he sips some and lets the rest dribble down his chin. I can tell he is more accepting of it now than he was even a week ago though, and I’ve heard from several other moms that their kids didn’t really take to cow’s milk until they had totally weaned breast milk. We shall see.

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At 12 months we were still at 2 naps a day, and I was nursing him before each nap (around 10 and 3) and at bedtime and wakeup in the morning. My doctor advised me to drop one of the four feeding times each week, so the whole process would take a month. I’ve gone slower than that, but there is no rush. My left side has always produced more than my right, so I stopped offering the right side when he started to nurse on it for just a few seconds. It was kind of weird to only be nursing from one side, but since he didn’t seem to be getting much from the right, it made sense to stop offering. I think as of now the right side is barely producing anymore!

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I decided to drop the 10am feeding first since it was closer in time to the 7am wake up one. The first time I skipped it I gave him a little snack (to rule out hunger) and then we did our nap routine as normal. I put him in his crib and he didn’t seem to notice. That was that!

A week later I did the same with the 3pm nap. This time he did the sign for milk once, but it was more of a “hey mama you forgot!” than an “I NEED MILK” sign. Again I just put him in the crib sleepy and all went fine. I was very surprised at how well it went, and this gave me the confidence in my choice that he was ready too. Once the daytime feedings were gone, my days are SO much more flexible if I need to be out for longer periods of time. It has made hiring babysitters much easier.

One thing to mention is that this process is sort of scary physically. You never know when you’ll end up engorged, uncomfortable or with a rock inside. I’ve been lucky not to experience any mastitis, but there have been a few times that I had to offer him some milk at an odd time just to relieve what felt like a clogged area. I think dropping feedings really gradually has helped with this. After a week I no longer felt full at the old feeding time, and I waited another week or so to drop the next one.

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I decided to drop the bedtime feeding just shy of 13 months. One night we did the same as with naps – all of our bedtime things minus the nursing at the end. I also made sure he had had water and a snack before bedtime so his tummy would feel full. The first night he was so tired he didn’t seem to notice at all. The second night he did the sign for milk but we distracted him with a book and then put him in his crib. Again, he didn’t seem to miss it.

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I’m sure the morning feeding will be the hardest to give up. Right now we have the best of both worlds: one feeding a day gives both of us the most independence while still holding on to our ritual. But sometime in the future – I’m not sure when – I plan to take him from his crib into the kitchen for breakfast instead of back to bed with me. The day before the final feeding I hope to really savor those last moments…I am tearing up just thinking about this right now! {If you want a real tear jerker, read Emily’s post about her last feeding with Cullen!}

For over a year of my life, for hours and hours, day and night, I have gotten to hold Mazen close and make him happy. When I think about breastfeeding, I don’t think about nutrition or antibodies. I think about the happiness I sensed in him every time he nursed. I am so thankful we got to share this experience together.

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Other breastfeeding posts:

Breastfeeding: Angry Bird In A Swamp

Hours Of Milk

Breastfeeding: Large & In Charge

{ 66 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alyssa October 8, 2013 at 1:22 pm

You really are so lucky everything worked out the way it did for you. I only hope I am so lucky when it is my turn :-)

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2 Ashley @ My Food N Fitness Diaries October 8, 2013 at 1:29 pm

Thanks so much for sharing this with us. :) We had a rough start with breastfeeding, but it’s working wonderfully now, and I love every minute of it. My son is 6 months old now, and I’m hoping to make it to a year. I can only imagine how emotional it is as you’re weaning! You’re doing a great job!

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3 Janine October 8, 2013 at 1:30 pm

Awe Kath, this made me tear up! My little man is 8 months and though we’ve had some bumps in the road I imagine that I’ll be feeling very similar to you when our time comes. Also, I just had to let you know that the photos of you and Mazen with your heads next to each other on the floor is one of THE best photos I’ve ever seen of a mom and child. I hope you will print it out and put it up somewhere!! :)

Janine

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4 aimee October 8, 2013 at 8:23 pm

I totally agree with you about that pic! it is simply beautiful!

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5 Annie @ Home of Malones October 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm

Beautifully written…My first child is only 3.5 months old and I’m not sure how long we will breastfeed for either, but I know it will be a sad day when it’s all done. It’s bittersweet, I guess. I look forward to the day that breastfeeding doesn’t rule my life, but I love every minute of breastfeeding with my son now. I think you wrote about it perfectly. Thank you.

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6 Allie October 8, 2013 at 1:40 pm

This is nearly identical to what I did. My child is almost 16 months and she self-weaned at 12.5 months. In the month or so before she weaned, I cried thinking it was almost over and that I would miss it so much. We were down to morning only sessions and then one morning she didn’t climb up or act as if she wanted any milk. So I went on with my day. And believe it or not, it was okay! Like you, I wore pads and nursing bras 24 hrs a day since she was born. I was ready to give that up! Congrats on hitting the next phase. You did a great job!

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7 Katie October 8, 2013 at 1:46 pm

Wow…This made me tear up. I can’t even imagine giving up breast-feeding yet, I have a 6 month old and I love it! It’s “our” time together and I always look forward to snuggling before bed. Such beautiful pictures too :)

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8 Leslie October 8, 2013 at 1:51 pm

Way to go!!! I too am going through the weaning process with my 11.5 mo old son and i can relate to everything you say. I’m so emotional thinking of our breastfeeding relationship coming to a close. Question for you: how much cows milk/breast milk did your pediatrician say Mazen should be drinking each day? If he’s not taking in much cows milk and down to one feeding, how do you know he’s getting enough? My son too is not yet a fan of cows milk.

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9 Heather October 8, 2013 at 2:00 pm

Awww! This is making me miss breastfeeding! When I started weaning to cow’s milk I mixed his bottles/cups with 75% breastmilk, 25% cows milk for 2 days, then did a 50/50 combo for 2 days, and then 25/75 and finally 100% cows milk. It worked like a charm! Our pediatrician suggested it. I know it’s a lot to pump all that, but it worked for me because I had frozen milk to use up. Anyways, you could try a 50/50 combo to get Mazen used to the taste of cow’s milk, or you don’t have to! :) Just thought I’d share what worked for me! Congratulations on nursing so long, Mama!

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10 KERF October 8, 2013 at 2:51 pm

I suppose the one bag of frozen milk I have is no longer needed so I will try this!

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11 rosie October 8, 2013 at 2:19 pm

Oh man, I remember reading that post of Emily’s…MAJOR tearjerker! Weaning is the saddest thing ever, even when, like in our case, it just sort of gradually happens on its own. I still feel sort of sad sometimes, but it has faded. And we didn’t have a planned “last feed”… probably because it would have been too sad for me, and I hate good-byes. One day I was just sort of OK, I’m not going to put her at the boob anymore. (Though it took a lot for me to finally just accept that we were done.)

I feel like we need to celebrate when you’re officially done or something :)

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12 KERF October 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Girls’ night away!

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13 Suzy October 8, 2013 at 2:29 pm

Thank you for this post! I really needed to read this: ) I’m in the process of starting the weaning myself, it’s heart breaking…but I think my body (and sounds like your’s too) know when it’s close to the end.

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14 Nicole October 8, 2013 at 2:33 pm

I haven’t read about weaning yet, but I need to. I think we’re down to nursing 4 times a day. Lucy is now at home with us (instead of daycare), and since I only pump the two days she is gone during the week, I barely get anything when I pump anymore! I’m lucky to get 4oz for the day! We’ve been mixing breastmilk (mainly frozen) with cow milk to help get her accustomed to it. But yeah, she’s messy with it as opposed to water or straight up breastmilk in her straw cup.

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15 Averie @ Averie Cooks October 8, 2013 at 2:42 pm

I am totally crying some Hallmark tears right now. Reminds me of life with my daughter when we nursed. The road in the beginning, i.e the first 6 months, was NOT easy for us but got easier as she got older and I nursed long-term and it was the right call, for us, to keep going.

Holding her all those hours and years, and the deep deep deep bond that it provides is just like nothing else and I am fortunate to have had that, as are you. But yes, dedicating your body to your child for 2+ years (pregnancy + nursing…) it is nice to get your body back to just have it be yours :)

And the thoughts of the final feeding, I had a feeling after we did ours that it was the last one, and it was. I will always cherish all of the memories. Thank you for this post, Kath. I have loved your openness over the past 2 years on babykerf – has helped me relive my early days, pregnancy, etc. and it’s been a wonderful gift. Thank you :)

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16 Brie October 8, 2013 at 2:43 pm

Great job, mama!

I don’t know if you remember–I used to blog and my son was born around the same time as M. It’s so funny how babies are so different! We are down to two feedings a day (three on weekends), and now that my kid is more communicative, he’s more demanding about nursing. I can tell that it’s definitely still something he wants to do, so I’m following his lead. Congrats to you for doing the same!

Also, M and C have basically the same wardrobe. I follow you on Instagram and I’m pretty sure they share the same closet!

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17 KERF October 8, 2013 at 2:50 pm

Of course I remember :) fun to hear from you!

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18 Sammy @ Peace Love and Ice Cream October 8, 2013 at 2:47 pm

Such a sweet post, Kath! And Mazen is such a smiley little guy :)
Thanks for being so honest and sharing your experiences with everyone. I am already past these stages (my younger one is 20 months already!), but your tips will hopefully help other new moms or moms-to-be! Not because it worked for you it’ll work for them, but because every bit of info helps when you’re in the midst of it all!!
-Sammy @ http://www.peaceandloveandicecream.com

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19 Lauren @The Highlands Life October 8, 2013 at 2:57 pm

This made me want to cry too. We just had our year check up with our son and I started crying on the way home about weaning. I never thought I would be so emotional about weaning but I am! It’s our time together, even though it’s only a few minutes 4 times a day. But I also know I don’t want to be breast feeding forever, want more kids and I don’t necessarily think he’s as dependent on it as I think sometimes. I still don’t know when to take the leap to wean so I’m honestly praying about it and waiting until either he distinctly shows me he doesn’t want it anymore or I feel an overwhelming peace about it. Thanks for writing this.

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20 Grace October 8, 2013 at 3:01 pm

Aw, it sounds like breastfeeding has been such a wonderful experience for you! I know it was something you really looked forward to, and I’m glad that it was rewarding for you (as it is for most mothers, I think!).

As one of those super crunchy moms (lol) there are a few misconceptions I thought I might address, since so many new moms read your site!

You say that “like most older babies, he seemed to be outgrowing it.” which may be true for Mazen, but that puts him in the minority of the biological norms for children – most children will self-wean somewhere between 2 and 3 years of age, if given the opportunity (some nursing for much longer, in fact!). In fact, the World Healthy Organization recommends 2 years as a minimum age for weaning vs. the US’s recommended age of 1 year.

And having one side produce more milk is normal as well – many women nurse only on one side, it is biologically normal.

And, you can easily leave an older nursing baby or toddler for days without affecting the nursing relationship! I’ve gone away for several long weekends starting when my daughter was 14 months, and it never slowed down our nursing relationship at all (she’s still going strong at 21 months). I have had to hand-express some on my weekends away to alleviate discomfort, but it wan’t a big deal.

One way to adjust Mazen to cow’s milk is to mix it with breastmilk. We started doing it around 12 months (since I work full time and she was getting bottles while I was away), I would slowly add a little cow’s milk to the bottle each week, and about a month in she was getting 100% cow’s milk in the bottle and didn’t even notice the difference. It might be something worth trying out!

And Mazen is such a cutie! :)

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21 KERF October 8, 2013 at 8:42 pm

My experience talking to other moms has been that many older babies get too distracted to nurse very long. I’m aware the the global weaning age is older, but I wonder if the distraction and eagerness to move are still universal. Perhaps just interpreted differently.

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22 Grace October 8, 2013 at 8:50 pm

Hmmm… maybe we run in different circles! Of all of my mom friends, only one has a child that self-weaned so far (at 16 months – he got a bad illness and didn’t want to nurse for two weeks, and that ended their nursing relationship).
You did CIO sleep training at 6 months as well, right? I’m sure from a anthropological standpoint that would have a big effect on the natural course of nursing. In most societies around the world (and primitive societies, and for other mammals) the “family bed” is the de facto set-up; and nighttime nursing usually remains strong when an older baby may get distracted during the day. Since Mazen didn’t nurse at night after 6 months his natural level of interest in it may have been effected.

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23 Jennifer October 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm

Holy judgment Grace!!!!

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24 Lindsey October 9, 2013 at 3:01 pm

I would say that Grace’s comment was not judgemental at all. It was a well thought out, respectful comment. It’s ok for people to disagree and state opinions that may differ from Kath’s, no need to ride in like the white knight. There is plenty of room for respectful discourse on the internet Jennifer.

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25 Grace October 9, 2013 at 9:10 pm

I’m not trying to be judgmental (and I didn’t intend for it to be that way, and I apologize if it did – I’ve got lots of friends that used a variety of sleep training methods!) but from an anthropological/biological standpoint, I would think something like sleep training would disrupt the natural biological nursing process, which is what Kath was ruminating on – so that’s what I was responding to. A great book that talks about this kind of thing is the new one from Jared Diamond (who wrote Guns, Germs and Steel) – The World Until Yesterday, which is about native tribes and the natural environment of humans up until a few thousand years ago, and what we can learn from them (particularly about child rearing). It’s really interesting and thought provoking. I’ve been reading it so it’s been on my mind lately!

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26 Melissa October 9, 2013 at 12:15 pm

My daughter self-weaned at 13 months for the same reason Mazen seems to be self-weaning – she was concentrating on her next big goal – walking at 14 months.

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27 Angelica October 9, 2013 at 3:30 pm

Thanks for this comment. Most babies who nurse to a year or so are led by their moms. Yes, they may get easily distracted, which is part of what makes it a good time for weaning. Kathy, you are SO incredibly lucky things are working out for you and Mazen. My daughter did not accept solid food until well after 12 months (as I’ve commented before) and now at 26 months, she’s still nursing at least three times a day. She’s past the distraction phase, so when she wants to nurse, she nurses. I want my body back, but I’m reminded of the incredible bonding and health benefits. She is slowly weaning herself. No judgment to any mom, including you, who is inforned and trying her best.

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28 Danielle @ Green is the New Black October 8, 2013 at 3:12 pm

Hi Kath,
I am new reader and also an RD and mama to a little boy! I can totally relate to your weaning story. I was fortunate to be able to breast feed my son for his first year and few months beyond. While it was certainly bittersweet when we were finally done, I also felt a new found freedom much like you describe you are looking for. (And being able to wear regular bras was AMAZING!) I am thankful that I was able to have that experience for my son and I and will most definitely aim for the same with any future children, but am still enjoying my body as my own for now!

We weaned in a similar fashion and left the morning feeding for last as well. One morning my son slept later than usual (he had been waking at 4:30 or 5 for that feed), so I decided not to nurse him that morning and he never asked to again. It was wonderful and slightly sad at the same time. He also was not that interested in cow’s milk right away. It probably took a good month or so before he would drink it regularly.

I look forward to reading more!

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29 Jess October 8, 2013 at 3:24 pm

Thank you for sharing this! Beautiful post. My little one is just a week younger than Mazen and I’m so on the fence about when to wean. Sounds pretty similar to Mazen…she doesn’t necessarily demand it that often…I feel like I’m the one offering it to her. It should be noted that my thoughts on weaning change by the hour right now. :)

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30 Tiffany October 8, 2013 at 3:35 pm

Girl, I had to comment because I totally understand! My milk went away overnight when my son was about 12 months and I cried…and cried…and cried some more. My son, however, didn’t seem to mind at all (which then gave me another reason to cry ;). Like another reader mentioned above, I used my frozen stash to slowly introduce cow’s milk and we’ve never looked back. It’s crazy how much you love your child, isn’t it?!

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31 Bethany October 8, 2013 at 3:53 pm

This post is beautiful. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and experience with us. I’ve got about 7 more weeks till my first baby comes, and I am so looking forward to breast feeding.

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32 Emily Malone October 8, 2013 at 4:57 pm

Sniff. Hard to believe I’m about to start this all over again. Reading this actually makes me sort of excited for it though. It is such a special thing, and while at the time it feels like you’ve been doing it FOREVER, it’s really so short in the big picture. So much good still to come for you guys!! Glad it’s been such a positive journey!

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33 Irene October 8, 2013 at 6:22 pm

Have you tried goats milk? My girl loves it! I nurse one time in the morning and pump three times during the day. My girl is 13 months so I want to start tapering soon but I just can’t bring myself to doing it. I know she would be fine with goats milk but something is holding me back. I want to cry thinking about stopping too. I’ve read that each dropped feeding can cause hormones similar to the baby blues.

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34 Kelley October 8, 2013 at 8:01 pm

Awe, hugs to you. It’s such an emotional milestone. I wrote about it on my blog as well if you are interested: http://kelocity.com/2013/01/28/the-end-of-an-era

It’s tough, but you’ve done great! He’s one happy and healthy little boy!

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35 KERF October 8, 2013 at 8:39 pm

Loved your post

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36 Lauren October 8, 2013 at 9:09 pm

This post has left a huge lump in my throat. It’s so perfectly written. We are one month away from my little guy turning one and I can’t even think about our final feeding together. I can sense he is getting distracted and doesn’t rely on it like he used to and I know it will definitely be harder for me than it will be for him (I hope!). Thanks for writing this Kath!

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37 Leslie Paquette October 8, 2013 at 9:53 pm

Kath, I’ve LOVED all of your breastfeeding posts and anything about Mazen in general! This was such a well written post :) My daughter was born days before Mazen and I’ve loved following your journey. I totally agree that nursing is such a special thing and I too get teary over the thought of our last nursing session. We are still nursing morning and night with the occasional after work sesh on the days I’m away at work. I’m allergic to dairy and have decided against cow milk for my LO and instead I’m making my own nut milk. She seems to really dislike it, lol!! So who knows how she would be with cow milk. Oh well, so for now I plan to keep up the am and pm feedings until I figure out what to do milk wise for her. It’s funny, I always the the bedtime sesh would be the last to go but I think it will be the am. The morning is the only time she doesn’t seem at all distracted and seems to need it the most. Well, good luck with everything and keep up the great work!!!! You are an awesome mama and you need to enjoy some girls time getaways!!!

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38 Lisa @bitesforbabies October 9, 2013 at 7:21 am

It’s such a hard transition!! I didn’t breastfeed but I can only imagine. We did dream feeding and I have to admit there were many times when I just wished we could skip it and I could go to bed early! It was only when it was time to stop it that I started to get REALLY emotional…just the thought of not holding my sweet son in his sleep, enjoying that peace and quiet with him in my arms was unbearable to think about!!! (I’m even tearing up now thinking of it!). The GOOD thing is, as they grow they need you in different ways…like reading them stories, cuddling them before bed, saying a prayer, rocking them when they need it…even though my son is a “big” boy now I love the fact that HE can also appreciate these moments!!! Good luck!

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39 coco October 9, 2013 at 7:33 am

I’m in the exact position of yours although our only feeding is at night. I think I’m more emotionally attach to BF than she does, although obviously she’s still very interested because she’d nurse whenever I offer.
I don’t know when I’d be ready…. but so far I like only nightly cuddle for 10 min.

BTW, as you started weaning, is your period back? s

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40 KERF October 9, 2013 at 10:56 am

No because I have the mirena

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41 Ashley October 9, 2013 at 10:37 am

I’m doing the same with Clementine — we’re down to just the morning nursing session and have been for almost a week now. I thought I was an oddball for keeping the morning session instead of the night, so glad to see someone else did the same, hehe. It’s totally bittersweet. I agree with you about nursing, for me it was a sweet special relationship, not just sustenance. I will really miss it – I still get sad when I put her in her crib at night without nursing, but I know it’s best for us both – we are both ready. The morning one will be tough to let go of!

And Clem didn’t love cow’s milk at first either, but now she chugs it like a champ :)

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42 Joni October 9, 2013 at 11:21 am

This was so interesting to read! I have just started breastfeeding and it is HARD (on top of just having a newborn baby in general!). I feel selfish that I think of it like I gave up my body for 9 months and now am looking to do it another year and the thought is a bit suffocating :-) Which for the first baby it seems like a small sacrifice, but we want two children and all I can think of is, could I do all of this again?! Granted, I know it’s way too early to think about #2 and I will probably feel very different in a few months :-) But I’m curious, will you breastfeed your second (not to get personal, I know you’ve mentioned wanting another at some point is why I ask) and for just as long? How do you feel about that? Thanks again for all of these posts, they have been such a comfort to read through my pregnancy and having a newborn!!!

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43 KERF October 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm

I definitely hope to BF my second just as long. I could see myself going slightly less and a lot more because it might be my last time nursing and I might want to drag it out! I really have no idea.

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44 K October 9, 2013 at 8:02 pm

Joni I just wanted to reassure you that how breastfeeding looks now isn’t how it will look at six, twelve or even eighteen months. I too struggled with and was overwhelmed by breastfeeding for the first four months but I can honestly say that breastfeeding at twelve months is wonderful! Keep plugging away and just know that soon the feedings will space out, your LO will start to take the lead with latching and it will become second nature for you both – hang in there!

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45 KERF October 10, 2013 at 1:00 pm

Totally agree with K! BFing in the beginning was hard and stressful. Likely in a few more months you’ll be spending much less time and the feedings will space out and you’ll start to really enjoy it.

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46 Jessica October 10, 2013 at 9:57 am

I felt the same way, Joni! But after a few months it really does become second nature, and as your child gets older its really a cherished time for everything to slow down and you are able to get some snuggles in a few times a day. Hang in there! EVERYONE says that the time will fly, and the days are long but the years are short, and although its redundant, its also very true. <3

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47 Joni October 12, 2013 at 5:28 pm

Thanks everyone, the reassurance is truly helpful :-)

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48 Jill October 9, 2013 at 9:09 pm

Hi Kath –

I’ve been reading from the beginning and have so enjoyed following your story – now Mazen’s story, too! I have a 4 month old boy, and your site has proven invaluable. I had a couple of questions following your post today. You mentioned that you breastfed Mazen before naps and before bedtime. Does this mean that you were always the one to put him to sleep, or was Matt able to do this, too – and if so, how? I ask because I’m currently breastfeeding my son before naps and bed – just for a few minutes as part of our routine, and only until he’s drowsy. It seems to calm him instantly and get him ready to sleep – the only problem being that my husband has no such trick to use, and so has had a lot of trouble getting our baby to go to sleep without me. I’m at home with the baby full-time, so the nursing before sleep isn’t an inconvenience, but we’d also like it if my husband could put our son to sleep on his own once in a while. I’m trying to decide whether to ease out of this habit (which may involve a kind of modified cry-it-out) or let things be, since they’re working. I’d love your input, as it sounds like you may have been in a similar situation with Mazen.

Thanks so much! Look forward to reading more!

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49 KERF October 10, 2013 at 12:59 pm

Hi Jill. I nursed before naps, but Mazen didn’t really get drowsy. He would sometimes seem drowsy while nursing and then would pop up and start playing again before I actually got him into his crib. I just did it before naptime so he’d have a full belly for sleeping.

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50 Emily October 9, 2013 at 9:12 pm

I had a very similar experience weaning. I started around 13 months, dropped 2 of the 4 feedings, then continued for 3 more months b/c it was so convenient to nurse him a.m. and p.m. Parker was much more interested in playing during the day – I could barely get him to nurse for more than a few minutes. That’s how I knew we were both ready. I was so relieved he didn’t cry or get upset about it. When you get upset about the last feeding (as I did!) just think that you’ll have it to do all over with your next child.

I am now nursing a 4 month old. Similar but different experience, as my second is a super fast nurser.

I love breastfeeding so much! One of the things I’m most proud of in my entire life.

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51 Samantha October 10, 2013 at 2:26 am

I am currently weaning my 11.5 month old (early due to a trip and oral surgery). This was exactly what this hormonal mommy needed to read. It was like a virtual hug. Beautiful. Thank you!

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52 Barca Mama October 10, 2013 at 3:07 am

Your weaning story brings back so many memories of when I stopped nursing my son. The last feed was so emotional- for me- I cried… Like a baby:( My little guy did not take that long to warm up to cows milk, but he was more likely to take it from my husband.
I am nursing baby number 2 now. I really do enjoy it, but miss my fun bras!
Take your time and do things at your own pace.

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53 Kristi October 10, 2013 at 9:21 am

What a heartfelt post! I think this is the most honest, open, and thoughtful post you’ve ever written!

I’m interested to hear more about Mazen signing. I remember a few months ago you said he didn’t at all so it seems he picked it up very quickly! I’ve been signing milk, eat, and more with my 10mo for at least 6mos and he recognizes them (mostly milk) but never signs back. Anyway, don’t give up BERF! I think you are your most genuine in this space!

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54 KERF October 10, 2013 at 12:58 pm

He just surprises me with the signs. The first time he did bread was on the beach when he saw some bread. Check that out here if you missed it on Instagram: http://web.stagram.com/p/558019229342524696_31554888

Just keep at it – I think at about 12 months was when he started to really pick it up more. He still only knows about 5 signs though.

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55 Amy W October 10, 2013 at 12:05 pm

Beautiful, beautiful post. You are a fabulous Mom! Well done, Kath!!!!!

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56 Elizabeth October 10, 2013 at 10:36 pm

Tears!!!! Love this post, I had dreams of being an EBF mama, but those dreams came tumbling down when my baby wasn’t gaining weight and I was ultimately diagnosed with insufficient glandular tissue, meaning I would never produce enough milk to nourish my baby. However, some is better than none, and I currently nurse then give a bottle of formula at each feeding. My daughter is almost 3 months and I cherish each time nursing her..,such a relaxing and peaceful time. This post made me sad to think about that time ending!

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57 Karen October 11, 2013 at 2:24 pm

You really knocked it out of the ballpark with this absolutely beautiful post – such a well written, nuanced post. Terrific job, Kath!

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58 Ali October 11, 2013 at 3:45 pm

I have a 7 month old and I definitely want to keep breastfeeding him for a year and then we’ll see what happens. I have hopes that he will wean himself, but I doubt that will happen. It’s nice to hear other people’s stories!

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59 amanda October 11, 2013 at 10:30 pm

:) Love, love your blog and this post is just what I needed! I have a 10 month old and have started to think about the weaning process, this post helped! Definitely plan on continuing to nurse up till 12 months, but it’s up to baby girl to decide! Thank you for the post, wonderfully written!

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60 Erin October 12, 2013 at 6:06 pm

So glad it’s been a good experience for you. I really pushed weaning on my daughter until we were down to one feeding at bedtime. Then one day she just wasn’t interested and I knew it was our final feeding. It was bittersweet but I was glad dropping the last feeding was her idea since I was the one pushing it. She also didnt take to cows milk at first and now shed drink a gallon a day if I let her. It took about 8 weeks of consistently offering it at meals 2-3 times a day before she really took to it. Great post, there aren’t enough personal accounts on weaning out there!

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61 Jehanne October 14, 2013 at 8:31 pm

Hi Kath – just wondering what the sign was for feeding? thanks

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62 KERF October 14, 2013 at 9:21 pm

Squeezing the fists like you’re milking a cow means milk :)

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63 Jehanne October 15, 2013 at 12:27 am

ahh thanks :)

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64 Sara October 17, 2013 at 3:33 pm

Reading this late, but great post! Sadly, BF didn’t work for us so I am entirely pumping. It’s not what I imagined for us, but I’m glad my son is still getting breast milk in some form! I hope the second time around I’ll be able to have a different experience (though I work so there will always be some pumping in my life!)

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65 Lea @ Healthy Coconut December 1, 2013 at 3:36 pm

I’m planning on weaning soon because we’ve had some biting incidents :( ouch! My little one is 8 months old, I went back to work when he was 2.5 months and I’ve been attached to my pump bag ever since. I’m ready to say goodbye with my pump bag but will try to keep BFing in the am and pm. Thanks for sharing your story. I lot of the things you said, I can relate to.

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66 Lisa January 20, 2014 at 10:05 pm

So jealous that Mazen was ready to wean. My daughter is 28 months and asks for milk!.

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