Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Breastfeeding - Saying Goodbye To Our Treasured Moments Together

Mommy and Baby - Our special moments while breastfeedingOk, for about a week I kept saying, "Today is the last day I will breastfeed Lincoln."  Of course I kept looking at that super sweet face and I just couldn't bring myself to stop.  We were down to only one feeding a day at nap time  but I just couldn't seem to let the last feeding go.  It took me about two months to get me to that point.  I was going to wean him in December, but he got sick and I felt he needed me.  Then he'd trip and fall or bump his head; Mommy and her boobs to the rescue!  So how would this end?

Ok, I know most of my readers are very pro baby led weaning.  I hope my post about weaning Linc myself doesn't make any of you upset.  Having breastfed my first for 8 months, and my second for only 2 months, my goal with Linc was a year and I'm excited to say that we made it plus some!  I felt really bad about my decision to wean after reading Kim of Dirty Diaper Laundry's post about her continued commitment to breastfeeding.  Sometimes I think that maybe I should just keep on going.  I won't lie.  I'm going to miss this time with my son.  I know he's my last and I won't get to experience this ever again.  

That being said, I can see the positive side as well.  I can think of many little reasons why I want to stop (being able to drink when I want to, not having a road map of veins on my chest, feeling like my boobs are mine once again), but it's the bigger reasons that have me set on my decision.  First off, we co-sleep with Linc and he tends to want to breastfeed ALL night long.  This has resulted in a LOT of pain in my legs due to the awkward positions I sleep in and not being able to shift in the night.  I'm sure I'm stuck with the pain for awhile but hopefully with time my legs will return to normal.  My second reason for weaning Linc is that I feel my husband feels like the third wheel when it comes to Linc.  Linc and I have obviously created quite a strong bond through breastfeeding, but I can tell Brian wishes he had that bond as well.  I'm hoping by weaning Linc, they will be able to create a closer bond when they lay down for bedtime together, or my husband gives Linc his milk at night.  My third reason for weaning is because we have a big week long trip that my husband and I are taking in May without the kids.  Linc won't take breast milk in a bottle very well and we promised my mother in-law that Linc would be weaned before that trip.  She's already endured quite a few shorter trips where she watched Linc with little to no sleep at night.  My fourth and last reason is more recent.  As you all might know, I plan on becoming a surrogate for a family that cannot have children on their own.  The only problem is that my cycle won't start again till I stop breastfeeding.  It was this way with my girls and it seems to be this way with Linc as well.

I know many will say that I'm sacrificing our bonding time together, but that really isn't true.  I'm a stay at home mom so we spend all day together playing, hugging, and laughing.  We still co-sleep and take naps together so we have tons of cuddle time.  He'll usually fall asleep right next to me at night (sometimes in my arms), and every morning at 5:30 we wake up and lay on the couch together as he drinks his milk and we watch cartoons.  Those are the moments that we will still have together, close, quiet, and protected.


For those of you that also plan on weaning in the future, I thought I'd share how we went about it.  The key to our success was teaching Linc to fall asleep on his own, and the rest all just fell into place.  Just as a side note... Linc was 13 months when I started this process.

For the first two months I taught Linc to fall asleep.  Night one was not awesome.  I fed him as usual, but instead of nursing to sleep I pulled him off when he stopped swallowing frequently and we cuddled.  When I say cuddled, I mean, I cuddled while he cried.  I know he wasn't hungry because I just fed him.  I know he wasn't scared because I was laying right next to him.  I know he was mad.  Who wouldn't be?  I continued this for about a month.  Each night got better.  He cried less and less till after about 5 days, he didn't cry at all.  If anything, he cried for a few seconds then rolled over and went to sleep.

I waited a month till I moved on to the next step.  I wanted him very comfortable with the process.  That's when I started to teach him how to fall asleep on his own in the middle of the night.  I did the same thing that I did with his first night feeding.  During any middle of the night feeding, I would feed him till his swallowing slowed and then pulled him off.  He was very mad the first few days, but after about 2 or 3 days, he just started going back to sleep on his own.  I continued that for about a month.

My next step was to remove night feedings all together.  This is when my serious weaning process began late last month.  I would still feed Linc at night (not to sleep), but if he woke in the night I just comforted him to sleep.  I set a time limit that I would not feed him again till 6am.  At that time he could have his morning feed.  Because he already knew how to fall asleep on his own he really didn't do too bad.  He just kind of groaned and then rolled over and went back to sleep.  We continued with this routine for three days.

Next to go was the morning feed.  I figured this was an easy one to eliminate since we just wake up and eat breakfast, be that a cup of milk or a bowl of cereal depending on his mood at the time and how early it is.  We continued with this routine for three days.

Next to go was his afternoon nap feed.  I'll admit this was one of my hardest feeds to eliminate so I just tried to be driving around during that time so he'd fall asleep in the car.  Yes, eventually I had to go back to my regular nap time routine in bed and that was hard.  I continued with this routine for three days.

Next up was the bedtime feeding.  This was surprisingly a very easy feed to eliminate.  Not as easy as the morning feed, but better than the nap time feed.  He might have cried a bit the first night, but now he cries for about 2 seconds and goes to sleep.

Last to go was the morning nap feed.  This one was so hard!  I actually got stuck on this last feed for about a week.  I just couldn't let it go.  I knew this was the end and it was bitter sweet.  I relished every moment till our last feeding on Valentines Day.  The next day we happened to be running errands during his morning nap and driving in the car the next day.  This whole past weekend we were camping and it really helped to distract him from the change and me as well.

I've loved these past 16 months ... and the months I breastfed my girls as well.  Those are memories I will never forget and cherish for a lifetime.  Now it's time to make new memories.  Our bonding times will never end and my daughters and son will always be my babies.  


  1. how did you get him to not want to BF during the day??? that's the one i'm having a hard time with.
    Thank you for posting this BTW. I so want to wean my nearly 15month old...but every time I try she cries so hard and it breaks my heart and I know she's getting her 2yr old molars (i've seen em) so I don't want to take away her nutrition esp on days she won't eat.
    Hopefully I can find the curage and strenth to help my LO deal with no more nursies too!

    1. That is a very tough time. I think that's why it took me so long to cut out that last feeding. Something kept happening. He'd be cranky one day, fall one day, fall the next day (he falls a lot). At first I just tried to band-aid the problem by conveniently taking a drive and having him fall asleep during those feedings. I did that for a few days till I think he just forgot about breastfeeding during the day. Now he's totally used to getting his cow milk instead. He will go to the cabinet and with his cups and point or he will run to the bed and point. Either way I know he wants his bottle and a nap. We still do lots of snuggles during that time so nothings really changed except the type of milk he's getting and what he's getting it out of.

      Hope you two can find the perfect way to wean as well that's best for the both of you. : )

  2. This must be so hard to do! Congrats on reaching your year goal.

  3. Oh, this post made me cry. It really is bittersweet. But you know what? Good for you guys. It is wonderful that you made it to your goal, and greater still that you know just what bonding is all about. It's not the milk, it's the time we spend with our loved ones. Congratulations and best wishes to you and your family~

  4. Congratulations to meeting your goal and then some! I've always said I will BF until she is done (my daughter is 15 mo. now). But she's been somewhat weaning herself over the past 2 months. Some mornings she doesn't want milk, sometimes doesn't want before nap either. But then she got the stomach bug and regressed back to wanting to nurse. I'm ok with whatever she wants, but its nice to know that she can do without too in case I need to be away.

  5. thanks for writing about this. Nolan is just down to before nap, and before bed, but I am SO scared to drop those feeds, for fear he will not be able to fall asleep!

    We totally night weaned at 14 months, and now he is 15 months. I have loved breastfeeding, but I am ready for some more freedom.


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