I went back and forth as to whether I wanted to do my usual “Thursday Thoughts” or chat about our experience with weaning today. I’ve received lots of questions lately about how nursing is going, if we are still doing it, and so on and so forth, so I figured it was as good a time as any to share. Hopefully our experience will help some of you out there. If you’re not really into this mommy talk stuff, I totally get it! I’ll see ya tomorrow.
So here we are, 13.5 months after Hunter was born, and as of a week ago, we have officially weaned from breastfeeding.
We had some major breastfeeding struggles in the beginning. I told myself I’d be happy if we made it to 3 months. And then we reached that point, and I told myself I’d be happy if we made it to 6 months. At 6 months, Hunter was a total champ at breastfeeding, and I was pretty confident we’d have no problem making it to the full year mark.
Hunter turned one at the end of March, and we were still doing four nursing sessions per day – one when he woke up in the morning, one after his morning nap, one after his afternoon nap, and one before bed. He started showing some disinterest in his midday feedings, so I randomly decided to nix one right around his first birthday. We stayed there for a week or so, and then I cut out the second midday feeding. If we wouldn’t have been in the midst of moving at the time, I probably would’ve cut out another feeding sooner, but I didn’t want to change too many things up on him all at once.
Giving up the two midday feedings weren’t really a challenge at all. I substituted the nursing session by offering him (cow’s) milk and a snack, and he seemed to do just fine with it. I was a little concerned that he didn’t seem very interested in the cow’s milk at first, but then I learned that he would take it better if I warmed it up for a few seconds.
After 2-3 weeks of only the morning and bedtime feedings, I decided to do away with the morning one. The decision actually came on very randomly. It was a morning that we were rushed and trying to get out the door for church. I thought, “Hey, what the heck, let’s give it a shot without nursing and see how he does.” Sure enough, he did just fine. The main adjustment with taking away the morning nursing session was that I had to feed him breakfast and give him a sippy cup of milk pretty much right when he woke up. When I was nursing him in the morning, we’d nurse, wait about an hour, and then eat breakfast. I actually like doing breakfast right away so we can get out the door faster if need be.
I held on to that last bedtime nursing session for awhile. It was my favorite one because he was cuddly and practically fall asleep in my arms. I knew letting it go would be difficult for both of us.
Early last week, I finally decided it was time. We did our normal bedtime routine – bath, book, prayers, but instead of nursing him, I just snuggled with him. I laid him down, and he cried for about 10-15 minutes. The crying was unusual for bedtime. He usually rolls right over and goes to sleep without a peep. It was really hard to hear him cry knowing it was because he wanted to nurse. I was second guessing my decision and wondering if I should hold onto breastfeeding for just a little longer. But then the crying started to decrease, and he eventually fell asleep. The second night, he cried again, but it was only for about 5 minutes. The third night, he went down with no crying at all. And the fourth night, Cody put him to bed, and he didn’t cry at all.
Since then, he’s done great and I’ve surprisingly been doing great with it too. I still get in my nightly snuggles, so I think that has helped make the transition a little easier for me.
I’m sure some of you are wondering why I decided to wean Hunter when I did. The answer? Primarily because I’m going out of town over the first weekend of June (for BLEND!), and I don’t want to be pumping while I’m there. I also just knew it was time for us to be done with it .As much as I loved those nursing sessions (especially the nighttime one), I was ready to have my freedom. It’s a personal decision that I feel good about. And I’m so proud of us for making it as long as we did.
For those of you wondering how we’re working the cow’s milk into his diet, here’s what our current routine looks like:
- 8:00 AM (wake up for the day) – breakfast + ~2-3 oz. cow’s milk in a sippy cup
- 12:00 PM (right after first nap) – bottle of 4-6 oz. cow’s milk
- 12:15 PM – lunch
- 5:00 PM – bottle of ~4 oz. cow’s milk + snack
- 6:30 PM – dinner
(FYI: He eats plenty of yogurt and cheese too. The kid loves his dairy.)
As you can see from our schedule above, we’re using a bottle a couple times throughout the day after his naps to get him the cow’s milk. He does great with a sippy cup, but he gets distracted really easily so the bottle is a nice way to ensure he’s getting enough, and it also helps him ease into playing after his naps. I hold him while he drinks his bottle, so it’s nice to cuddle with him for a few minutes before he’s off playing again. Eventually we’ll sub out the bottle for a sippy cup all the time, but for now, it’s working fine.
Also, for those of you asking about Hunter updates, I’m going to do one every time he has a doctor’s appointment, so it’ll be more like every 3(ish) months rather than every month. He has a 15 month appointment at the end of June, so you’ll get an update then!
Have a super Thursday! I’ll see ya tomorrow!