LongLeanMama & Baby are weaned – it’s bittersweet

LLB - 13 months

LLB is 13 months old and officially fully weaned from breastfeeding.  I’m not quite sure who it was more difficult for – the baby or the mommy!  There’s no doubt about it, weaning can be a challenging, emotional process.   When LLB was around 9 months old we tried to start gradual weaning with her as I was going to start working a lot more and we needed to get her comfortable with taking a bottle or a sippy cup.  However, if you’ve read my past post, Waaaaah Weaning, you’d know that little Miss LLB would not take bottles or sippy cups EVER; so, the whole weaning attempt ended up pretty unsuccessful. In fact, it just made her want to nurse more.  I was up in arms.

Like every other stage in motherhood so far, I’ve tried to do my due diligence to find out what’s the best path to take for me and my family when it comes to parenting.  The research began…What should we do &  how can we make the weaning process go smoothly?  Well, my lactation consultant and the trusty website kellymom.com have always provided me with great advice when it comes to breastfeeding.  Without them, I don’t know what I’d do!!

From kellymom.com:  there are two forms of weaning: child-led & mother-led weaning. Child-led weaning is where the child no longer feels the need to nurse.  They gradually stop nursing on their own.  This is said to be ideal in the but sometimes that doesn’t work for every family. Mother-led weaning is when mom/family decides it’s time to stop nursing.  There are a few ways – sudden, gradual & partial weaning.  Sudden being cold turkey, which for emotional and physical reasons, is not recommended.  Gradual weaning is where you slowly, over time, eliminate feedings.  This is typically the best way as it’s usually less stressful on the baby and less painful for mom.

LLB was very resistant to taking anything but the breast and with my new work schedule keeping me away from home more, she was kind of holding out until I got home and then up all night nursing, mostly for comfort.  I get it, she probably missed me, but I was going crazy not getting any sleep and then having to get up at 5 or 6am the next morning to go teach Pilates, which is not an easy job.  I need to be on my game to make sure my clients are safe and to build a strong, long term clientele, which is what puts food on the table.  This situation was stressful and had me feeling torn – I want to be the best mommy and I want to be successful at work.   You can probably see by now that I am becoming a little defensive.  (ding ding ding, mommy guilt!)  Seriously, I really should have ZERO guilt here.  She nursed over 1 year, which is amazing!

Well, as it turned out, sudden or “cold turkey” weaning worked for all of us.  We come home one night, I decided to try putting LLB to bed without nursing.  As we all share a bedroom right now, I slept on the couch.  She got up once, fussed for a minute and then went back to sleep.  She then slept the rest of the night.  I nursed her the next morning and that was the last time.  I went to work that day and my husband, LLD (hehehe), gave her a sippy cup with milk…she drank it!!!  I slept on the couch for a few more nights and by then she was sleeping straight through the night (7-7)…lalalalalalaaaaaa!

However, the breasts…not so happy.  They were filled with anger, literally!  Yes folks, I was ENGORGED.  To get through this phase without infection, I followed my lactation consultant’s advice and I pumped or self-expressed only a little just to relieve the pressure.  I also took Motrin to help with the soreness.  Oh, and I implemented a strict no hugging policy.  Eeek!  After about 5-6 days the pressure went down and the pain subsided.

Me & my big girl!

Now that the milk has dried up and LLB has moved on, the feelings are bittersweet.  I have been mostly happy about it and definitely much more rested; but I have to admit, I miss nursing.  I miss the bond…the closeness.  Instead, I make sure I cuddle with her a lot and if she wakes occasionally at night, I love bringing her in bed with me.

As for LLD, he is mourning his own loss…the loss of my C cups!   But, he too is happy to have a healthy and well rested family 😉

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4 thoughts on “LongLeanMama & Baby are weaned – it’s bittersweet

  1. CONGRATS to you both! It is difficult to see your child grow and gain independence … especially since they are such “grown up” concepts for such a wee one but …. in the final analysis, isn’t that a key component of our job as parents? Teaching our children to do for themselves?
    I nursed Jon for 14 months and I lead the weaning process (he would STILL be at the breast, if I would let him!) It definitely came with mixed emotions; including guilt. I tried to remain grateful …. grateful that I was able to have that experience with him at all (we know nursing doesn’t happen for everyone) and grateful that, after a really rocky start, we finally succeeded with flying colors!
    I’ve come to believe that, as a parent, I am constantly “shifting gears” in order to best meet the needs of my children. Weaning was one of many “gear shifts” in our journey towards the happy, healthy boy I enjoy today. While not nursing brings that sense of loss of closeness and bond, I have found that other experiences bring equal joy in different ways. Being there everytime he is sick or hurt or scared …. being there everytime he has a success (YAY! potty training!) … being there to “ooh-and-aaaah” over his school projects and hang them on the fridge for all to enjoy …. SO many things … will keep you close. Connected. Bonded. Magically in-tune.
    Be proud of what your family has accomplished; thus far and welcome all that is to come!

    • Thank you Jessica! Parenting/motherhood is quite a journey and each phase brings new joy…thank goodness for that! Thank you for your continued words of encouragement and for the great example you set for other moms. You are one awesome Mama!!!

      Xo

  2. I’m totally dreading weaning my (10 month old) son… he is awful with taking a sippy cup and makes a huge mess with a bottle. We haven’t started weaning yet though… I’m hoping to keep going til a year or so. While I dread the thought of weaning b/c of losing that special, close time… I do see how it will lessen the “workload” for me. And it would be great to be freed up for a bit before the next pregnancy comes around! 🙂

    • Tara, thanks for your comments! LLB wouldn’t do more than chew on the sippy cup until we were weaning. That’s probably why the sudden or cold turkey worked…she just adapted. You will be fine! Try different methods. I have friends who eliminate (1 at a time) feedings from the middle of the day. The night time feeding is usually the last to go… I wish you lots of luck and please keep in touch via twitter or Facebook…we have so much in common!

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