Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Weaning woes

I've had a hard time writing this post because I am floating down the river of denial.

We are nearing the end of our "breastfeeding relationship". In fact, I did the lactational walk-of-shame to our local drugstore to pick up my handy failure-in-a-can (now with extra vitamin G for guilt) this week (on sale! 3 dollars off!) and L will be trying it at daycare for the first time today at 10.5 months old.

Honestly I've been slowly getting over the formula "issues" as my supply and then my freezer stash dwindled these past few months. I'm just not ready to stop nursing. Despite (or maybe because of?) my early struggles, I really fell into the rhythm of nursing L. Even with the recent distraction and the biting (ouch!), I am in no way ready to let go. I'm still pumping despite practically non-existent yields so that I can keep up some semblance of a supply to justify nursing him at home a couple of times a day.

Some of it is clearly emotional. My baaaYYYYBEEE is growing up, I may never have another, etc...

Some of it is logistical. What excuse will I now have to escape to the basement for 20 minutes several times during the weekend and just SIT in QUIET. Also what the hell do I do with L at 5 AM every morning when he wakes up? Now we just bring him into bed to nurse, and I get to lie down for at least 20 more minutes (and if we are REALLY lucky, like yesterday, he fell sleep nursing until 6:30!!!) I can't handle having to get out of bed and give him a bottle. ugh.

L? He's pretty much over it. He nurses pretty well before bed and in the morning. Maybe before naps on the weekends, but he's easily bored & ready to move on.  His bottles are also coming home mostly untouched...he waited til 7.5 months to take to solids and he's not looking back. He eats more than B does at meals these days (though toddlers produce ATP every time they say "NO!" so they don't need food as an energy source)

I try not to think about it. G packed up the formula and took it directly to daycare. I refused to mix it up ahead of time. I keep attaching the pump to myself 3 times a day, and dutifully bring home the total 1oz I eke out at the end of the day.

I never thought I'd make it this far, but now I wish it were further....


  1. You don't have to wean completely-- your breasts will adjust to only making the milk that he wants. So if he wants to nurse at drop off and pick up and no other time, your breasts will get used to that and gear up for those times. We still nursed for over a year after I stopped pumping, but less and less as he got older. I really missed it because nursing is a great way for me to lose weight!

    Regarding not getting much out of the pump-- if you want to keep pumping, check to see if the problem is the pump instead of you. i would get cathair on the membrane and that would mess up the seal. Also I broke two medela PISAs... they got tiny holes in the membrane. If I hadn't been on a support group I would have thought I was the problem and not the pump. Also try replacing the little white flappy things on the horns. For some reason that works too sometimes.

    That said, after ~6 months the negatives to formula are very small. It's just like any other non-bm food. You no longer get the benefit of non-stinky poo because solid food makes poo stinky too, for example.

  2. Here's some more on the pump:

  3. I totally get everything you've said here. Even though I've weaned, more or less, I feel all kinds of guilt/happiness/sadness/frustration and a whole host of other things about ending the breastfeeding relationship, and it is probably all tied up with the fact that she's about to be a toddler, not a baby.

    I've noticed that baby E sometimes eats more than my 2.75 year old toddler, too. It's amazing how much food she can put away. That's probably what makes this period in breastfeeding so challenging--babies at 10/11/12 months are really into food. I've heard that after this initial love affair with food, breastfeeding becomes easier again (maybe at 13/14/15 months), but I haven't tried it myself.

  4. For whatever reason I was more opposed to the formula than the soy milk that our daughter eventually drank (dairy allergy) and we ended up starting her on regular soy milk around 11 months so she had a pretty limited amount of formula which our doc recommended because she was low on iron.

    If he's 10.5 months you might want to talk to your ped about introducing regular milk earlier? If you have the same weirdness about formula that I did. Something about it being too processed, etc. Crazy, I know.

    I also stopped pumping around 11 months and did not regret that. We nursed a couple times a day (just morning and night IIRC) until 14 months, and it was fine. Not a ton of milk, but she seemed ok with that. When she got sick around 12 months and wanted a lot of nursing, my supply went right back up. It was pretty cool.

  5. I feel for you. We went through this a couple months ago and I struggled. I will say, though, that now that we're weaned, I am so happy. Matthew is happy, I am happy... we both have our freedom and the snuggles are so wonderful because I know they're for more than milk.

    It will be OK - but it is sooooo hard.

  6. I'm another data point in the stopping-pumping-but-still-nursing crowd. Smaller just started refusing bottles at about 10 months and would wait for me to get home. So my pumping output dwindled down to nothing, and I quit pumping at work. After about a month, I was adjusted to her only nursing 3-4 times a day (and night). She eats a ton, drinks loads of other liquids, and nurses for comfort and when she's sleepy. it doesn't have to be all-or-nothing if you want to continue to combo-feed.

    (and the preview isn't picking up my openid, so this is sharah from

  7. I went through the same thing with all of my kids - all at different stages - and, though none of my bf'ing experiences matched the ideal picture I'd painted in my brain, I realized that weaning was a lesson to apply to the rest of parenting: you do what works for you and your family and try your best to make your reality a happy one.

    I hope this transition goes smoothly for both of you and that L is giving you some more sleep in the early mornings.

  8. How are you doing now? It's been almost a month and L is almost a year old! Are you feeling any more at peace with L's weaning? I hope so. He sounds like such a good eater. I think what you're experiencing is very very common. Though... one mom at daycare was recently complaining about a recent drop in supply and physically recoiled in horror when I said, "Well, if it doesn't rebound back, you can always supplement with formula."

    Well, it's true right?

    Anyhow, people are dolts about this issue. The important thing is that you and L (and B and G) are all happy and healthy. I think when my daughter weans I will miss nursing her too.... but it's just a part of them growing up. Watching them find their independence is rewarding too. I feel so proud of my daughter when she shows me her new skills.

    Hope you've been weathering the changes well!

  9. Useful info. Hope to see more good posts in the future.
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