Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Weaning for this dummy.

When and how to wean are probably the two most loaded questions when it comes to breastfeeding.  When do you stop and how do you stop?  Do you breastfeed for 6 months? 1 year? 2 years? When you start weaning how do you do it? Cold turkey? Gradually? Really gradually?
When I started breastfeeding I hoped I could do it for a year; no more and no less.  That was the game plan but if I couldn't then it wasn't going to be earth shattering to us.  We would chose the best formula and just go with it.  I've been lucky and we're going on a year come January 23rd.  We have had to supplement with a little bit of formula because I work a full time job and pumping just wasn't making it by itself.  I'm okay with that.  Teagan is still as healthy as a horse.  No harm no foul. 
Now comes the weaning part.  To be quite honest Teagan started weaning herself around 10 months.  She started losing interest and wouldn't always stay latched long enough for a let down.  She became more interested in real food and less interested in Mommy milk.  Surprisingly, I was okay with that.  Her body was starting the adjustment of getting more of her nutrients from real food and less from me.  Which is what it needed to do. Things just seem to fall in place for our weaning attempt. Teagan was preparing to move up at "school" and needed to get on that class's schedule.  This meant eating real food at 11:00 instead of me going to nurse her like I had been.  This was harder for me then I thought it would be and took a few days of lunchtime tears from me but she took it like a champ and we got over it.  Starting in January I stopped pumping at work and started Teagan on organic whole milk in her sippy cup for school (this was only after making sure she wasn't allergic and getting permission from her doctor).  My milk supply has been a mixed blessing for me over the last year.  My body adjusted to giving Teagan just what she needed but it wasn't too keen on making extra.  That was hard during the time I was pumping and needed more.  It has also made weaning easier, less leaky and less painful then some of the experiences of others I know.  Basically no cabbage leaves for this nursing mama.      
Now comes the hardest part.  Weaning in the mornings and weaning before bedtime.  My sweet child likes to get up anywhere between 4am and 4:45am for a morning snack and then she'll go back to sleep for a few more hours.  I decided to tackle this nursing time first.  Frankly, it has been a nightmare.  Not the not nursing part but the getting Teagan to not still wake up at 4:00am part.  It has been hard to not just nurse her and put her back down in the mornings.  Even though we've been doing this for over 2 weeks, Teagan's carpet has a permanent mommy butt impression from where I've sat as she has cried herself back to sleep in the mornings.  Obviously we are still working on the going back to sleep part in the mornings but she hasn't nursed in the morning for over 2 weeks.  So I consider it a semi-success.  Next will be the night time feedings.  This one is going to be a little hard to give up but Teagan has basically given it up for me.  She is nursing maybe 5 minutes at night and doesn't go down asleep anyway (we've not put her down asleep in months) so I don't think it will be too bad.  We've got a set schedule and plan to incorporate a little snack (that way empty belly is no excuse) before teeth brushing, reading and bedtime.
Do you have any suggestions when it comes to weaning? How long did you breastfeed? What was the weaning experience like for you? Was it hard or were you ready? I'd love to hear your experiences.

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