Time to Wean

Roo is basically 21 months old and I’ve been breast-feeding her for almost 21 months. When she was first born, the doctors told me that nursing burned too many calories and so we needed to bottle feed her. So she was bottle fed and a NG Tube fed for the first week of her life. Around 6-7 days old, I was in the NICU and the nurse asked me if I wanted to try nursing her. I was overwhelmed, nervous and didn’t know what the heck to do! I had been pumping every three hours starting about three hours after I gave birth. But to have my daughter at my breast was overwhelming.

The first time was not successful. She didn’t really latch on fully but she tried! It took about three tries before we both got it. But, I still wasn’t allowed to breast feed her as her main source of nourishment. For four months, I pumped every three hours and then fed her a bottle. When she was about two months old, I was allowed to nurse her after she had her bottle fortified with Neo.sure. I loved it but it was exhausting. Pumping, feeding and nursing every three hours was taking it out of me. Finally, when she was four months old, the pediatrician said that I could stop pumping and fortifying. At this point, she was still getting a bottle of ready-to-feed N.eosure if she still needed it after nursing.

As soon as I started to nurse on demand, my daughter became a nursing champ. She nursed when she was hungry. She nursed when she needed comfort. The insane co-sleeping period, she was practically attached to my boob all night long. When she was 9 months old, I told myself that I would nurse her until she was one. But then one came and went and we were still nursing. At her 15 month appointment, her pediatrician recommended that I keep nursing her until the next flu and RSV season was over, which pushed us to now.

With April approaching and the flu and RSV season coming to an end, I’m thinking about how I will wean Roo. I’m ready but she is not. There was a point where all she needed to nurse was morning and night but we went to Chicago over Christmas and something changed and she started to nurse every three to four hours again. She kept that up for quite a while after we got back, when we were together. When I’m working, she does fine without it – she drinks milk and water out of a cup. It’s now the middle of March and when we are together, she still loves to nurse ALL the time.

In May, MH’s work is honoring him (and others) for their excellent service to the company. His work is flying us to Lagu.na Bea.ch for three days (and we are adding two days to visit friends). My parents will stay with Roo. It is THE perfect time to wean her. I’m a little nervous because I’ve heard weaning can cause a huge hormone surge and cause some serious emotional upheaval and I don’t know if I can deal with it right now but…

So, how do I do it? How do I get started? Never in my life did I imagine that I would have been one to do extended breast-feeding but here I am! How did you wean? How do I start and when do I start? What was your experience?

6 thoughts on “Time to Wean

  1. I am obviously no expert since Little Man is still baking away, but from what I’ve heard from other mamas, it’s easier to start weaning out a feeding that they don’t really need. Say for instance, Roo really needs a feeding to go to bed at night, but wakes up during the night just for comfort. Have your husband go in to sooth her for that middle of the night comfort feeding so she won’t rely on you.

    I’ve also heard that if babies are feeding just out of boredom, you can try distracting them with a game, water, or a small snack instead of nursing.

    There’s a girl on youtube who I’ve watched for years, and she has a video on how she weaned her son at 21 months that might be worth your time to watch: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uWCaZIDr6aE

    I hope it all goes well, good luck!

  2. I have no idea about fully weaning – Ike is 21 months, too, and usually only nurses before bed and naps on weekends, occasionally in the morning when he wakes (I work full time). But I’ve bookmarked this post for future use, should I need it – http://thejoyofthis.com/2013/02/22/mother-led-weaning-how-and-why-i-gently-weaned-my-son/. GOOD LUCK! I am so glad that you got to have this relationship with her – I never thought I’d get this far, either. The idea of it ending for us is exhilarating and bittersweet and nostalgic-before-it’s-even-happened, somehow all at once. ❤

  3. Very welcome – I cried my face off reading it, too. 🙂 I hope it’s as easy on both of you as possible, and that you find new ways to be close and connect along the way.

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