Weaning




Despite what this title might imply, I am not weaning Clyde at one month old!  Lord willing, we'll be going at this breastfeeding thing for a while yet.  But some lovely bloggers are hosting a linkup about the toddler years over the next few weeks, and I thought I'd join in this week - the topic is weaning and transitioning to cow's milk or formula.

I loved nursing my babies.  Aside from a very rough start with Wyatt, my time of breastfeeding Wyatt and Gwen was uneventful and special.  I loved the bonding time with my kids, and I still treasure those memories.

I weaned both Wyatt and Gwen around six months old for a few different personal reasons.  You may be thinking, wait, aren't you supposed to breastfeed for a year?  Yes, that is the recommendation, but six months was just the right time for us.  Breastfeeding to a year would have been great too, but personally, I don't have any problem with using formula.

I still wouldn't change it.  We started trying for another baby soon after I weaned Wyatt because I anticipated problems, and it did end up taking eight months and a trip to my fertility doctor to give us the beautiful gift of our Gwen-girl!  After I weaned Gwen we were not trying to have another baby right then, but a month later I got a surprise positive test - Clyde was on the way!

If I had nursed longer with either of my kids, I'm not sure Gwen or Clyde would be here.  I can see God working through our story, even in something as emotionally-charged as deciding when to wean.

The decision of when it's the right time is very individual.  I would just say to pray about it, decide what is going to be best for your family and your situation, and then come up with a plan.

Because it was me deciding to wean I had to come up with a strategy for making it happen, rather than waiting for my babies to start dropping feedings themselves.  The transition went really smoothly for both Wyatt and Gwen - I don't think they even noticed when we stopped.

I followed a similar plan with both of them, so here are my tips.

-Drop one feeding at a time.  This is obvious, and you can read it on any website that talks about weaning, but I thought I'd better mention it here.  Cut one feeding out, wait a few days (or even weeks), and then cut another feeding out.  You don't want to quit cold turkey - that would be really hard on both baby and you!

-Don't go straight to formula or milk.  It's easier for baby to get used to the taste of the new stuff if you start out with a mixture.  I always made a bottle of half breastmilk, half formula as a starting point, and then once they became accustomed to that I increased the percentage of formula until they would take a full bottle.

-Enjoy your last nursing session.  If you, as the mom, are leading the weaning charge, then you are going to know when it is the last time you will be nursing your baby.  This can wreak havoc on your emotions.  Thank you weaning hormones!  (Yes, that is a thing.)  Just enjoy it.  Notice every precious detail.  Write down your favorite nursing memories.  Then feel free to cry for the rest of the day.

-Drink peppermint tea.  If you are uncomfortable during weaning, drink a lot of peppermint tea.  Peppermint decreases milk supply.

-Use cabbage leaves.  This sounds really weird, but if you take a cabbage leaf and put it in your bra, not only will the coolness ease the discomfort, but something in the cabbage helps decrease your supply.  This helped me a lot during the weaning process!  I would recommend only using them when you are going to be hanging around the house though, because you will smell like cabbage.  Just take a shower before your husband gets home.

-Drink sage tea.  Sage tea also decreases milk supply by decreasing your prolactin levels.  I tried this with Wyatt because I weaned him right before we went on vacation, and I wanted to dry up my milk before we left.  Sage tea is kind of gross, but I put a bunch of honey in it to make it taste better.  However, if you do happen like the taste, don't add it to your tea cabinet.  Long-term sage tea consumption can be toxic.  Not necessarily good for you, but good for getting your milk to dry up faster.

-Go out and buy yourself a new bra!  Weaning is hard.  It's emotional, it's uncomfortable, it kind of makes you feel like a cow.  You deserve a little celebration when you are done - so ditch the nursing bras and go buy yourself something shapely and cute!  You earned it.

What process did you go through - emotionally and practically - when you weaned your child?

Linking up here.
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Kayla Rae said...

Love this post and that you linked to your post about having no problem with formula! I formula fed Bella and I am exclusively pumping for Brantley so it has been very different to say the least. He will be six months old on Monday and I struggle with whether or not I should stop soon. I overproduce milk so I have been donating mine! Hmm...I should blog about that... :P

Stephanie said...

I was afraid of having to wean Joshua with our second child on the way but happily he made it easy for me and lost interest on his own a couple months before his sister arrived (He was 16 months). I think personally, if not for the next baby I would of been happy to keep nursing him (at least before bed) until he was 2 but that's just me...he's a busy little guy so it was always a nice quiet and cuddly moment for us. It will be interesting to see how things go with this baby.

Melanie said...

I nursed Makayla as long as she wanted to..I had no problems there! I was blessed we went 16 months!! Of course, we weren't planning on expanding our family or else I may have had to speed up the process!

Courtney B said...

I loved this post!! I think it's my fave of them all! I love your advice to pray about it! That should be the #1 thing I go to when trying to make a decision, but it's also the one I forget to do, or avoid at all costs because I don't want to hear an answer (does that make sense?) So thank you for sharing your story with your babes and reminding me about what's most important!

Bridget said...

Love that you feel good about your decision to wean at 6 month. People are so quick to judge and jump all over others for their decisions these days :) I struggled with nursing and actually hated the first 3 months of it and was counting down the days until a year would be over. Somewhere around 3 months we hit a groove and I started actually liking it. We got close to a year and things were going well. I just wanted to stop pumping at work so when Abbie hit a year I dropped my mid morning pumping session and mid afternoon session over a few weeks and then nursed her morning, noon, and supper time. At 15 months, much to my dismay Abbie woke up one day and decided she was done nursing and never wanted to again. That is her personality though...always has been. Once she decides she is doing something then nothing is stopping her. It broke my heart more than hers I think :)

Anonymous said...

I just came back to read this! I have been really researching this topic as I know it's coming up for us. I'm afraid I'm going to be an emotional mess!!!

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