I wanted to wean slowly with L. Since he pretty much dropped the first breastfeeding session of the day around the beginning of January (I think it was a mix between being sick and wanting to play with his brother who would barge in on our morning session most days), I gave L pumped milk in a sippy cup at breakfast. My hope was to nurse him 3-4 times a day through his original due date at the end of February, but the visit to the allergist sort of cut that short. He wasn’t allergic to cows milk and I didn’t know what was in my pumped milk. After his allergist appointment mid-January, I decided it was time to begin weaning more seriously.
If I had asked, I’m sure the allergist would have told me to not to give L any of the saved breast milk I had stashed away in our freezer. However, I just couldn’t get myself to throw it away. Or wait and see if being peanut-free would really help L’s eczema. So, despite not knowing what foods I ate when I pumped, I decided to mix in one bag a day with the cows milk. I came up with, what I felt were, valid reasons, however unscientific they are:
- I just couldn’t get myself to throw it away. Liquid gold. My precious. I just can’t do it.
- I couldn’t donate it because of my antidepressant.
- Because L was a preemie, I feel it was more beneficial to give him the pumped milk through his due date.
- I only had one box of pouches left.
My weaning plan was the same as the one I had when I weaned G: take one feed away each week. I started with the one before L’s morning nap. Since he didn’t always finish the sippy cup I gave him at breakfast, I’d offer it to him before I took him upstairs. I replaced nursing with a book, which he wasn’t into at all at first. Luckily he was content with sticking his thumb into his mouth and falling asleep as soon as I laid him in the crib.
The boys spent the day at their grandparent’s house at the end of that week, so I used that opportunity to begin phasing out the nursing session before L’s second nap. Again, I read a book before I put him down for a nap. By now he seemed to be a little more into reading and even began favoring certain books. This was also when we introduced cows milk.
The beginning of the next week, I had a therapy appointment which meant I’d be gone most of the day. I used this to drop the feed L wanted before dinner, and it was the hardest one as it’s Witching Hour. Since he’d usually snack during this session I didn’t feel L really needed it and having him pop on and off the boob numerous times when I am trying to put dinner on the table wasn’t working. If Hubby isn’t around to keep L entertained while I make dinner I hand him a sippy cup of milk and that usually quiets him down for a moment or two.
A few days into getting down to one nursing session a day, L began to to get pretty fussy and clingy. I’m not sure if that’s directly related to weaning, or that he was sick again, or he was teething. Then one day he freaked out every time I turned my back or put him down and he had a fever that wasn’t going down with Tylenol. A trip to the doctor indicated both of L’s ears were infected. Once the antibiotics kicked in a few days later, he wasn’t as clingy and I wasn’t wondering if I had made a mistake by cutting out the Witching Hour feed when I did. It also meant I would
I nursed L for the last time on Thursday night. I was surprised to find I was feeling sad about it. I wasn’t this sad when I weaned G. With him I couldn’t wait for our year-long breastfeeding journey to be over. I honestly don’t think I was ready to wean L. He keeps getting sick (a follow-up visit yesterday determined that one of his ears is still infected) and it would have been nice to continue until spring so he could continue to get some health benefits. But his frenectomy is scheduled for Tuesday. It didn’t make sense to go cold turkey on him the night of having a medical procedure. And it doesn’t make sense to continue after the frenectomy because his latch will be different and why spend time trying to remaster nursing technique when I’d be quitting in several more weeks? I know I don’t need that stress.
I’m super proud of what L and I accomplished:
- We nursed a little over 13 months!
- No formula — a goal I’d had with G, but it didn’t work out.
- Exclusive breastfeeding the first six months. I kept a human nourished all by myself! I can’t even keep a plant alive half that long.
- L and I participated in World Breastfeeding Week. This was one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done.
So, it’s with bitter sweet feelings that I can say L and I are done with this phase in his life. Now I can focus on sending both boys on overnight trips to their grandparent’s house so Hubby and I can have a weekend alone here and there. And eating peanuts (mmmmmmm, Snickers).