It’s a bittersweet time for me and my soon-to-be 19 month old son. I have to admit that it’s more mother-led than baby-led. I have some guilt that is associated with being the one to want to stop this amazing relationship but I have to keep telling myself that this is the start of a new relationship with my little guy. One way I’m thinking about commemorating the relationship is by getting one of these awesome breast milk pendants from Holly Day Designs (by the way, we’re giving one away).
About 3 months ago, I had some major breast issues that were painful – beyond painful. I never did find out what was wrong but it has taken 2.5 months to get close to normal. It started out with dry nipples. Then it turned into cracked nipples. Then it became itchy and the cracks were later identified by a medical professional as deep lacerations. There was bleeding, stinging, and lots of crying. Painful nursing sessions and all I could do was pray through the sessions to help me stay strong and not want to push my little guy off. This was the start of my desire to wean. I didn’t know how long the pain was going to last and I wasn’t sure how long I was going to last.
I had to remember that my initial goal in nursing my little guy was to reach 12 months. I met that. My next one was to reach 18 months. I have reach that goal. Once I hit 18 months, I wanted to go to 2 years. Although I won’t meet this goal, I’m okay with that. It’s taken me a little while to feel good about nursing for this long as I was only able to nurse my daughter for 14 months. As a mother, I have to remember that just because I didn’t nurse as long as the mother to my right, I still gave BOTH of my children one of the best gifts possible.
So now we start our journey to wean. It’s been about 5 days and let tell you, it’s not easy. My husband and I worked out a plan – the best way, in our opinion was to almost go cold turkey. Before I begin though, I would like to say that for the past several months, we had stopped providing breast milk for my son during the day (pumped or nursing) – the daycare didn’t allow me to bring in breast milk for my son anymore (don’t get me started on this one – I was FURIOUS). Anyway…so we had eliminated daytime nursing/breast milk. My son was down to just nursing to bed and throughout the night.
My husband has been putting my son to sleep by having him in the Ergo and taking long walks in the evening. My husband enjoys this father/son bonding time as they look up at the stars, swing on the swing set at the park across the street, and just sing together. Now during the evening when my son wakes up for his nursing session, I offer him water (my milk has 95% dried up on the right side, 100% on the left) and then I cuddle with him so he falls asleep. The first few nights he was very upset and would put his hand down my shirt and try to still nurse. I would whisper to him “milk is all gone” or “no more milk”. He would cry and it would break my heart but I would just hold him tighter and tell him I love him. Last night he asked for milk but I would just give him water. Then he lay down and snuggled up against me without crying and without reaching down my shirt.
Now our next challenge is to have him stop nursing when he first wakes up in the morning. This is where my husband will likely come in handy again because he can take my son and feed him a little breakfast before we get ready for the day. We’ll see how this one goes!
When did your nursing relationship end? How did you wean?