Weaning: Sharing Tips on How to Stop Breastfeeding
First things first – I am not a lactation consultant, doctor, expert or any type of certified person to be giving advice when it comes to breastfeeding.
But I am a mother who nursed both her babies each for 1 year. And I personally love reading about other mom’s journeys when it comes to pretty much anything like sleep training, labor, feeding babies, etc. So here is my personal experience with weaning Ezra and Brody by 12 months. Take it for what it is – a mama sharing her own experience.
Contrary to what many assume about me – I do not love breastfeeding. Pumping is the death sentence to me. And I will forever have PTSD from the sound of my pump. But I am a stubborn person who put way too much pressure on herself to do the same thing for both of my kids. And since I breasted Ez for 12 months – I felt the need to do it the same for Brody. This is mainly because I know I am capable of doing it. Plus I tend to get caught up in work and by nursing and pumping, I felt more connected as a mom. Or am I just nuts? Probably..
But I sure am happy to be typing about weaning while on a plane with NO pump around me!!
My experience breastfeeding my babies:
Ezra, who is my first born, was a very easy baby to nurse and feed once we got the hang of it. I stopped because I was going on my book tour and didn’t want to pump as much. So i started weaning 10 months and by his first birthday, we were done.
Brody, who is my second bubba, is a snacker. He is the king of little meals and little nursing sessions. I also had to pump a lot more with him because he’d go outside with Ez all day in Hoboken and it was hard with work having to stop and nurse every hour or so. So instead I pumped basically all day during the work week besides nursing first thing in the morning. Once we moved to the suburbs, things got easier though and I nursed whenever since he was inside most of the day. Ez is in school and it is freezing outside so I’d just nurse whenever.
But it just wasn’t as easy the second time around. I never understand when apple said “ohhh second time – so much easier”. At first – yes it was because I knew what to do and was more familiar with it all. But mentally it was not easier for me. It was still taxing on me mentally and physically. But I felt immense guilt stopping and doing less than I did for Ezra.
I am my own worst enemy here. I am not looking for sympathy because I put this pressure on myself and I am nuts. But I told myself I’d go until 10 months and wean again just like Ezra. And that is exactly what I did. The last day I nursed Brody was the day before he turned 1.
Here are my tips when to comes to weaning from breastfeeding:
- Wean gradually – this isn’t something that we can rush to do. Our bodies are used to producing milk and helping fuel another human being. So it takes a lot longer to wean and be completely out of milk then you think. I dropped one nursing/pumping session per week over 2 months to officially be done. When I started weaning I was nursing or pumping 7x day. So I went to 6x then eventually down to 0. Then eventually it was 1x day for a week or so. Then I started skipping days so I nursed every other day. I actually ended up going 10 days and STILL had milk in there after. It takes so long!!
- Prepare for engorgement – especially when you go from 3x to 2x to 1x day. I was taking sunflower lecithin to help avoid clogged ducts and this helped me tremendously!
- Offer a snack instead of nursing – whenever I dropped a session I would offer my kids something to eat and drink instead. Such as some yogurt with nut butter and water. Or a pouch of sorts (code RACHL for 15% off). Something that can fill them up and always gave water. *If* it is possible to have someone help here, it makes it easier if they’re attached to you.
- Listen to your baby/child – I dropped the morning one last because that was the one Brody was most attached it. He was used to a bottle before bed (I rarely nursed him to sleep – only when too lazy to pump again). Then the morning when I was starting to do every other day, Jord would take Brody first thing and give him breakfast. We offer him flax milk (code RACHL for 15% off) but he doesn’t always want it.
- Ask for help when needed – my husband and childcare both helped me here when Brody would look for me. It was confusing for him to be used to breastfeeding and then have me offer him something instead. So I’d ask someone else to do if they could. I realize this isn’t feasible for everyone but if you can have a partner or someone assist some times, it shows them someone else can feed them as well!
- Hold and cuddle your baby – I actually found that I was *more* excited to be with my babies after nursing. I didn’t feel as much pressure. And now I don’t feel like a human cow and I enjoy just laying with them and playing and holding them. When I give Brody a bedtime bottle every night, I hold him tight like I would be nursing just for the extra love.
- Don’t put pressure on yourself – I sound so hypocritical right now but go with the flow. You will be done eventually and everyone’s journey is different.
What did I miss?! Any other questions!? x