I am a breastfeeding mum who has read a fair bit about weaning and feels like I have no clue how to successfully even manage it.
12 months was my goal. September 21st we reached the 12 month mark and I couldn’t be more proud of it. What a roller coaster ride the past year has been with ups and downs, hard times and times were I could breastfeed with my eyes closed it became so natural and easy.
I demand-fed for the early days but generally worked out to be about every 3-4 hours. For the first 4-6 weeks she became very upset and wanted to be cluster-fed of an evening for 1-4 hours each night. As she got older the feed times became more regular and predictable. Around 9-10 months I was feeding her 3 times a day and sometimes overnight if she woke and needed to be fed then one day I went to feed her around lunchtime as I normally would as she was showing the usual signs. Nope, she was not interested at all in feeding. She actually became more upset. The next day I tried again to feed that midday feed. Again same thing she wasn’t interested. After a few days of the same thing I realised she was no longer interested in a midday feed as she was on solids having lunch instead and that seemed to be sufficient.
Down to two feeds- morning and before bed, with the very occasional overnight feed. Around this time I began to have issues with blocked ducts and mastitis. I am not sure what caused it as the cutting down of feeds was a relatively gradual process and seemed fine at first after cutting the midday feed out. It wasn’t until a week or two after that feed was cut out that I began to have issues.
A small white pimple dot on my left nipple. The left side was Miss A’s favored side and the side that always produced more milk and become more engorged. It was so uncomfortable and painful one day that I took myself to the doctor to ask for advice. At this stage I had not noticed the pimple- or more so realised that it was related to the discomfort I was feeling. The doctor advised me to feed my daughter as much as I could from that side until she fully drained it. Now this was a lot more difficult than it sounds. She wasn’t interested or able to fully drain it at first and it took a lot of work to try and get her to successfully drain it. The doctor had given me some antibiotics in case it did not clear up in a day or two which thankfully I did not need.
As I mentioned earlier- 12 months was the goal and we have reached that with great success. The past month has been a mixture of success and failure. After one year of age, we introduced cows milk. Now this was to replace breastfeeding eventually. Miss A has never been a huge fan of the bottle only ever really taking it when I was not around and she had to feed. Even then it was not much more that 60-80 ml at a time.
Weaning- How? and When?
How have you weaned your baby from breastfeeding?
When did you wean your baby?
Due to a combination of Miss A being less and less interested and me gradually wanting to stop breastfeeding we have begun the, what seems to be very slow, process of weaning. However this seems to be harder than I thought and also somewhat uncomfortable some days. I am very interested to hear how you weaned your child!
I decided that if I was to cut one of the feeds out it would be the morning feed as she can have breakfast and it isn’t a feed she needs to settle her down for bed. This how ever doesn’t always go to plan. As I mentioned earlier I have had issues with my left side becoming blocked and uncomfortable so cutting feeds out has been difficult at times for me. So we may go 3-4 days where I wont breastfeed her of a morning then need to feed her one morning for my sake.
I have found that Miss A seems more demanding of the breastfeeds now. Becoming more upset than usual for it, pulling at my top (BUT only for those two feeds), putting her hand down my top while feeding more than usual, throwing herself towards me wanting it. I am not sure if it is because we are slowly weaning that I am finding this more of an issue than usual or that it is because it feels like its a regression.
My biggest worry and issue with weaning is every time I make minor moves to cutting feeds, decreasing feed times, anything related to weaning my left side causes me issues and blocks causing me a world of discomfort. “How will I ever wean her?” I am constantly asking myself this question. When it blocks up and she is not interested in draining it fully I try massage and expressing in a warm shower, however this is not always effective and I still have lumps and discomfort until her next feed.
I have LOVED our breastfeeding journey over the past 13 months. Feeling like super women when ever I fed my daughter. When she was upset, hungry, tired, what ever the problem was from the first day I was able to fix the problem and make her happy again by simply breastfeeding her. It was empowering and made me feel really important to her.
I want this journey to end on a positive note. Not filled with worry and pain and discomfort.
Please share how you weaned your child in the comments below or on our Facebook page.
By Clare at Relaxed Parenting
Related Instagram posts: