Wednesday, July 27, 2011

To Wean or Not To Wean, That Is The Question

I haven't been sleeping. For about a week now I've managed to get only two - three hours a night thanks to my brain refusing to shut up. So when I couldn't sleep I wrote...
___ . . . ___ . . . ___

It's 11:22pm and I have to be up in six hours. But I can't sleep. My mind will not be quiet, my muscles will not relax.

The anxiety burns inside my chest and I lean over to Map Guy and tell him "My heart hurts". He knows what I mean.

He snuggles me close and offers words of comfort, asks me what I'm anxious about.

I rattle off a few things, most of which revolve around going to Blogopolis. I'm not anxious about meeting people this time (well not much), I'm losing sleep over the 3000 little things I need to do before Thursday. But the big one, the thought that has created a two week tension headache, is whether Tricky will wean while I'm away.

It's so late by the time I finish talking, only a few minutes later, he's fast asleep. Bastard. I wish I could slip away in to dreamland that easily.

At the moment Tricky and I have our special milky cuddles twice a day. My bookend baby takes relatively little milk, but what he gets instead is attentive, (mostly) quiet bonding time. Just he and I, our bodies warm against each other, drinking in each other's scent.

Chubby star fish hands grab all over me (Where's Mama's nose, Tricky?) and clench my shirt as if he's holding on for dear life. He'll look up at me and smile, giggle, then bury himself back in, not once dropping the nipple.


We've had a pretty good run with the whole breastfeeding caper. We did have some issues early on that saw me noticeably tense with dread when it was time for the next hourly feed. I would grit my teeth and feed him with tears rolling down my face thanks to the stabbing white hot razor blades of a staph infection.

But within a few months it all settled down... and it was something I could do anywhere, any time. Feed him; nurture him; comfort him instantly. It became something I could do well, and over some dark days the thought that I was actually good at something for once, buoyed me.

So how will I feel if my three days away sees him wean, perhaps a bit sooner than he was ready? I'm not sure. I know we've had a great run (almost 14 months) and that anything now is just icing on the cake... but still... still there is the feeling that I'm forcing him.

I apologise in advance to those going to Blogopolis... a lovely hormone shift awaits me and I don't know how I'll handle it.

When did your baby wean from the breast? How did you handle the hormone shift? Or didn't you notice it?

35 comments:

  1. Oh! You are so lucky with all the long bonding time :-) I envy that my 1str was only boobie feed for 1 month as i was way stresed and he did not help baby 2 was 50 hrs only she ripped me a new hole and i was in agony for 3 weeks (could not even wear a bra) and the last one was boob feed for a shocking 6 months cos  i got mas infection in my left boob and then the milk was all gone:-( booooo   Enjoy it   I can;t tell you i had no hormone change/shift i was ok 

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  2. I weaned my little one after she turned two. It was seamless. I told her it was only for sleepy time then a month after I totally weaned her off. It was sad especially since she'll be my only one.

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  3. I had no problems at all with my daughter, she was a dream to breastfeed, I had her on one feed a day by 13 months and weaned her because we wanted to try for another baby (3weeks later I was up the duff! so be careful!). Friday night was my son's last boobie feed. He is almost 11 months. He was biting me so I only fed him at night, but on Friday night he was only on for about 2 minutes so I thought he was over it. He hasn't missed it at all - he gets his fake boobie juice from fake boobie and loves it - I feel a little sad but its so wonderful to just be me again. Don't worry Tricky will be fine. Just make sure that you stick with your decision. Don't unzip, lift or strip in front of him or he'll go cazy. Whatever your boobie time signals used to be DON'T DO THEM! Its causes a frenzy. Good luck x

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  4. Seagull weaned when he was about 16 months old. I was just into the second trimester of my pregnancy with Wombat. Even though my original intention had been to get to 2 years, I wasn't upset that he chose to wean when he did. He was going through a phase of doing acrobatics during feeds and it was very uncomfortable due to my pregnant belly. Also, it was generally getting more difficult to position him around said belly as it got big very quickly. I got to the point of "never offer, never refuse" and from there Seagull was only asking for a feed about once a week for a few weeks before he dropped it altogether. Letting him choose when to stop feeding made it easier for me to deal with.

    The only suggestion I can make is express in Melbourne if you need to and take Tricky's lead when you come back home. I've heard of quite a few people who have breastfed toddlers that are happy to miss feeds if Mum goes away for a few days and just take up where they left off once Mum gets home.

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  5. Carly @ My Life in ColourJuly 27, 2011 at 3:48 PM

    I can't be of much help, in fact I'm jealous you get to choose.  Breastfeeding for me was something I longed for so much but me and my babes just didnt have a good experience.  My first stopped at 6 months but that was because I plain and simple had no milk and I was starving him. I'd express for 12 hours a day and get 40mls all up, 60 if I was lucky.  No help from Drs/Nurses.  2nd babe would latch no many how many people man-handled me into her precious mouth.  I was devastated and I understand your how you must feel. He has had a good run you are right; the rest is icing! x

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  6. Aw, I'm sure you'll be ok. Sore though. Like me *wince* I'll be pumping to take the edge off morning and night, so we can be hormonal wrecks together!

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  7. Ava self weaned about 8 weeks ago and I was devastated! I was thinking another two or three months minimum.
    But now I am embracing tops that i don't have to worry about feeding in, and nice bras. Trying to see the positive, cause my heart still hurts a bit too.

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  8. Larissa_MyPigeonPairJuly 27, 2011 at 4:16 PM

    This post could not have come at a better time.  I have a 16 moth old boob a holic and reluctantly we have decided its time to wean.  I have cut back drastcially this week and we have  found ourselves with a new baby who actually eats (solids were a nightmare) and sleeps!!!
    I know it has to be done, but I will just miss our special time together so much :-(  THANK YOU so much for this post!

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  9. When I got home from 2 nights away at Ausblogcon Harper wanted her "bah" before mcnuggets and she was about to turn 2! It took her a few days of lots of feeding to get my supply back where she liked it but she only just gave it away recently

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  10. I went away for three days when my daughter was about Tricky's age and we resumed feeding straight away when I got back. Hopefully itwill be the same for you. Take a pump - I didn't and apart from looking like I had had a comedy boob job it hurt! Good luck and enjoy just being you for a few days!

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  11. My first baby gradually weaned himself when I was about halfway through my pregnancy with his sister. My milk dried up a bit and I think the taste changed. He had less and less, though still wanted cuddles, and gradually just stopped. It wasn't physically painful - didn't get any engorgement or anything; it felt like our bodies were in sinc with each other. I was ordered to wear my second when she was a year old. With Mr 10, he'd had a tongue tie which had cracked one nipple and made me vulnerable to mastitis. It was far worse with my lovely little girl and the mastitis worsened and the crack was constant, the pain terrible. When the milk I expressed for her bottles at childcare was full of blood, my doctor said I had to stop. She hated it, I hated it ... was horrible. And turned out she was allergic to cow's milk, still is, drinks only soy, but it took a while to get the right formula.
    I feel for you honey, but we will be there to hold your hand. Make sure you bring a pump in case your boobies get too sore.

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  12. Mmmm - I have to think back a looooong way lol! Bub weaned herself at 15 or 18 months (she's now 23) by biting my right nipple & that was it. I weaned Moses at 14 months (?) 'coz we went on an island holiday & I didn't want/need to breast feed. Wot with depression & travelling, it was all a bit much. He got his revenge by spewing orange juice all over me BEFORE the plane had taken off - yes, before the holiday had even begun :) (he's now 19). You can understand the lack of memory haha! Pump as needed to relieve any pain/fullness & then take it by ear when you get home. If Tricky's not using a dummy & decides he likes solids etc, try him with a sipper cup rather than a bottle. Makes HIS transition from breast to cup so much easier esp. when you're out & about. In turn, it may help you as well coz you're not worrying about bottles etc.
    To turn your brain off at night - try this thought process... "sleep, sleep, sleep...". I know it's a bit like counting sheep, but I always get distracted by the colours on their backs. If you know about sheep, you'll know wot I mean haha.
    DH's solution: when you climb into bed, make a little cocoon for yourself so that you have a lovely warm space to lie in. Calm the body, calm the mind (Well HE says it works)
    Good luck with it all & be kind to yourself. We'll be here to support you!!

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  13. I get this! I weaned Georgie at just after 12 months and it was all on me because I am pregnant, and was very tender, and wanted at least 6 months break before I have to start again. I felt guilty but at the same time, it really isn't a big deal. She is still a happy, contented baby and I'm still a good Mum. I was fortunate in that we did it slowly, I got her to drink from a sippy cup first, then drink cows milk, then I cut out the lunch feed, then the morning one and then the night feed. The middle of the night feed was the hardest, but after a couple of hard nights she's all but forgotten about it. It will be okay. He will still have cuddle time with his Mummy even if he does wean, and maybe he won't! I have a friend who had to leave her 9 month old for a week and she came back and went straight back into breastfeeding. Either way, he will still be okay and you will too- but it is hard.

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  14. Alexis weaned at about Tricky's age but I was pregnant and had gastro at the same time. It took me a while to emotionally accept it was over but it was kind of a relief too. Even when my milk was totally gone Alexis still had cuddles as if we were feeding for weeks. Nothing wrong with that. Try not to stress about it though you will prob be fine. If pumping hurts express in the shower, the warm water can relax you and helps let down. Good luck..:)

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  15. I'm struggling with weaning now... Not something I like to confess to much as The Princess is nearly 2& a half and its bordering on weird, but she still has the odd comfort feed. It's hard for both of us to let go... Sigh

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  16. Amy@ New AdventuresJuly 27, 2011 at 5:32 PM

    We weaned at 9 months - we were both ready. Flynn was still feeding every 2 hrs during the day and i just couldnt keep that up anymore... i needed to be able to leave him with other people and have time on my own. It took a few weeks of dropping a feed here, having a bottle there, but ultimately it wasnt too bad...

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  17. I think you know my story. When Greenie self weaned at 21months (just shy of my goal of 2 years) I was sad, but also ok. I look back with sadness and I do miss it a lot and know if we made it to two years that little doubt will have been removed. But the hormones? There weren't too much. Just an immense sadness when it was brought up. I still have that sadness, but it's ok. I didn't get engorged or anything like that. It was just like nothing changed except he wasn't feeding all night anymore (he was a night time feeder). 
    If you get back and Tricky isn't asking for the breast, just try to offering it to him regularly?

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  18. My baby has just self-weaned at sixteen months and I am sixteen weeks pregnant. Talk about freaking hormones!

    I think he possibly weaned because of my pregnancy and all of the hormone stuff going on. Like Tricky he was down to just two a day, then one a day, then just one side a day and then he just didn't want it anymore. We did have breaks of a day or two here and there and he always picked it back up, I think if Tricky wants to keep going, he will. But I'm no expert, that's just what I think, lol.

    It's sad when they stop and time that we will never get back, but you have done amazing to get where you are! 
    xx

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  19. Kim@MommiesTimeOutTodayJuly 27, 2011 at 7:04 PM

    My baby was only two months and I had two weddings one weekend. After that she only water the bottle. I was shocked bc I was only gone for a few hours Saturday and Sunday night. I was sad but we still had bonding time.

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  20. Awww. Tricky won't wean yet. He knows his Mama milk is best for him.xx

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  21. Wow, that is a long time.  My little guy suddenly decided that he was done at just over 10 months.  He absolutely refused and beared his little teeth when it was offered.  So we finished up our run with my pumping and him getting his milk from a bottle. 

    We now have that special quiet time just before bed.  We moved him out of his crib at only 15 months because he was miserable in it and I was afraid he would try and climb out.  So nightly we lay down on his bed together, read books, hug and kiss and just be with each other. 

    If Tricky does wean while you are away, you will come up with a new way to have those special quiet moments.

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  22. Stress and no sleep, that's no fun at all! You are a great mum and whatever happens with weaning this weekend, you'll still enjoy special cuddles with your little boy. I would say same as a few others, have a pump ready in case you need it, and let Tricky decide what to do when you get back. It is a sad time when they wean, but there are so many more special times to come!

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  23. Weaning my toddler was actually a very emotional experience. I didn't expect her to self-wean when she did, although I was working towards it since I was already pregnant with #2. Daddy just started settling her for bed more often (she was used to feeding to sleep). I was out for 3 evenings in a row (for some unusual reason) and when I was available for the 4th evening, she didn't ask for it. I actually cried in the shower with the sudden realisation that she might have self-weaned in those 3 days. I knew it had to be done but I decided I needed to offer her a feed one last time for my sake, so I could say "goodbye" in a way. She didn't refuse but was only on very briefly before wanting to go into her cot. And that was that. She was weaned just a few days shy of 18 months. I took photos and cried a bit and hugged her and said my "goodbyes" to that special bonding experience. Although it was emotionally challenging, my body adjusted or maybe I'm not sure since I was 3 months pregnant. On the upside (big-time), she started sleeping through the night and pretty much has done ever since.

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  24. The lil tiger weaned herself off from me actually. I use to feed her in the mornings before and after work. Then one day, she just decided she had enough and just quit cold turkey. I am not sure who is it harder on, me or the lil tiger. Er...... I think I took it a little bit harder than her. I miss that skin to skin contact that only us girls share. Now I have to share it with my husband. And we all know that I am a selfish bitch. Hahahaha....

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  25. Reading this post made me a bit teary.  Breast feeding is just so special.  I feel like I've been quite lucky because Will made the decision to wean himself.  He just kind of cut out one feed at a time, his last one was on his first birthday, the day after that he just flat refused so I decided not to press the point. There's no doubt that it's a tough transition to make (physicall and emotionally) but I think that if Tricky does wean then it's becuase he's ready, not because you've forced him.  You do a wonderful job as a Mum and deserve to have a ball while you're away!!

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  26. It's so funny, as before I had dolly I knew I wanted to breastfeed, but didn't know I'd end up loving it so much. Those chubby starfish hands, the cheeky grins around the nipple... I'm getting teary just thinking about it! If he does wean, you will find something else beautiful to replace it with xx

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  27. I weaned my kids the same way. Slowly and they hardly even noticed. Especially my first at 13 months, she was on cows milk out of a sippy cup and didn't even notice. My 2nd is only 10 months so I have him on formula out of a sippy cup. He loves it and I think he cuddles in more now I'm not feeding him.

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  28. With the Lil Emp I waited for him to decide to give up and then when it happned I was shocked and probably a bit depressed for a few days because of the hormone shift. he was 15 months and suddenly one day just refused ( i have a post coming up for next week about it). I was glad that he decided when he was ready to stop but it still hurt! Smiling tig is still going strong too and i'd like for him to stop when he is ready too but at this rate i feel that he may never do that!
    your trip is short right? so maybe you will just be a little uncomfortable (nothing major) and when you return you can resume? it shouldn't dry up that quick... unless you are happy to end? good luck glow - you have had an amazing run especially with hot poker boobs for a time. hope it works out well for both of you x

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  29. Aw sweetie. It doesn't matter when you do it, it's never easy. Hope you get to enjoy your time away without being too anxious about the outcome with Tricky. You have done a fabulous job!

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  30. lol! i am down to feeding on one side a day now! he refused the other side about a month ago but we are still going strong (twice a day) on the other side at 13months. glad to hear i am not the only one feeding from one side! i keep checking in the mirror to see if one is getting longer. lol! kids are funny sometimes!

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  31. I kept going and going even when he wasn't interested because I felt just like you, but once I stopped (about 11 months) I actually realised it was well and truly time and we still have that cuddly time just in other ways. In fact even though he has his milk from a sippy cup which, if it were filled with water, he would hold himself, he still wants me to hold it for him and we can snuggle at the same time. It seemed like such a big decision but then it turned out all so smoothly. So don't stress ... what will be will be ...

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  32. I, honestly, have no advice to add here....no children, so no experience with this phenomenon (I am thinking I might be grateful for that)

    I am hoping you have fun at Blogopolis. All of you. It's so exciting that all of you get to see each other, I just wish I could take part in this. I've been hearing about it for so long. It'll be good :)

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  33. I had difficulty breastfeeding as both my kids were born early.  But we got through it and before I knew it they both self-weaned at around 12 months and 16 months.  It felt strange when my youngest stopped because I realised that was the last time I would ever breastfeed (not having any more kids!).  It is a bit emotional.  I hope you get through blogopolis ok :)

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  34. I weaned Princess Ella at 14 months, only because I'd returned to work and it was getting all too hard (expressing in the back room at work was NOT fun!).
    Knowing Baby Holly will be our last, I want to hold on to it a little longer this time. I've been really blessed both times with breastfeeding. It's come naturally (I know, don't hate me) and I haven't experienced any problems. Just lucky, I guess.
    Good luck with it. xx

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  35. I'm going through some big decisions (and physical changes) at the moment. So glad I read this. Thank you :)

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