Yes, I know that you can go much longer, but since I started weaning my son at eight months, I figure I have done better to make it to nine this time around.
So today I am going to share my experiences weaning my three children. I am writing this from a “my experience” perspective rather than a “how to” because while they may be helpful, I think my experiences are probably pretty unique, and to this day I can honestly say I still don’t know how to wean! LOL
With my son I used a cold turkey method. You see, he was my first and I had no idea how to wean and I didn’t want to try. Then (for various reasons) we made the decision that I would go back to work and hubs would take the rest of the maternity leave. So, one day I was home nursing and then the next day I was back at work. Counting the commute I was gone for about 10-11 hours.
Basically I suffered a world of pain the first week back. Not only was I completely overwhelmed running two new departments, I had to deal with rock hard boobs full of milk that started aching by about halfway through the day. It felt as good as that first cigarette when I would get home and he would nurse.
I continued nursing him at night and on the weekends for the next month or so. He still wasn’t sleeping through the night then so I let him sleep and nurse beside me so I could try to get some rest for work. Eventually, my breasts started to dry out, and by then he was comfortable with formula and I was able to say hello to crew neck shirts again 🙂 (If you don’t get that see How To Win at Breastfeeding…)
With Sansa weaning happened by accident. I had been diligently nursing the twins for about five months when it happened. You see, we made the mistake of waiting until Sawyer was four weeks old before introducing him to bottles of breastmilk and he almost wouldn’t take a bottle at all. Luckily, after trying ten different kinds we found one he would accept (Gerber NUK). So with the girls we started bottles right away. There were simply times I had to be away from the babies (like getting groceries) and they needed to be able to take a bottle.
It was around five months Sansa just stopped nursing. She refused to nurse and would cry and cry. I cried and tried to make her nurse for over a week before I finally conceded that she would now be a bottle baby. I hate pumping, don’t have time to do it, and I actually thought formula might do her good since she was so small (and it has more calories) so by the time she was six months old she was weaned and on formula.
I remember a time around seven months when I was really engorged so I brought her to my breast just to see if she would nurse. The look of sheer horror on her face when she saw my breast was priceless! Nope, bottles for her.
Out of all three kids Sansa was the only one who would use a soother so I often wonder how much that contributed to her early weaning (I have read non soother babies tend to breastfeed longer). It is no secret drinking from a bottle so I understand her perspective.
That leaves my last, June. I think hers is the most normal experience, but again it wasn’t really planned.
Once she started eating solid food she started to drop her morning nursing. So she would go from breakfast to lunch with no nursing in between. This was also due to the fact that we would be on our morning walk with the dogs at this time so I couldn’t nurse her anyway.
Then last week I decided to stretch out nursings with formula. So after a week I have her down to nursing only twice a day and I am not getting sore breasts, duct issues or engorged. The process feels very natural and I think in a couple more weeks she will be completely weaned.
So there you have it, three babies and three different experiences. As you know, my motto is “do what works for you” and that is what I did. There is no right or wrong way to wean in spite of what books (or your mother/ mother-in-law) says.
I think while the physical part is somewhat challenging, it’s more the mental/emotional part that is tougher. When should I wean? Is it too early? Am I depriving my baby? I miss our cuddles?
I suppose if my experiences have taught me anything it’s that you will know when the time is right, and only then can you move forward with the actual process.
Good luck to everyone!
- 10 Tips for Starting Solid Food With Twins
- Hormones You Are Not My Friend: The Postpartum Return To Fertility
- Gorilla Mother of Twins Breastfeeding