Welcome to the Carnival of Weaning: Weaning - Your Stories
This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Code Name: Mama and Aha! Parenting. Our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles about the end of the breastfeeding relationship.
When Spencer was born, I continued to let Sasha nurse all she wanted, but had to set limits as far as timing. I'd been warned several times to make sure to feed the newborn first. That task was nigh impossible! Sometimes they'd nurse 1 hour apart, so then who really nursed first?
Eventually I started cutting back on her nursing sessions. And then my milk supply dwindled. I didn't make the connection at first, but someone else finally did. (Not until after I'd tried supplements, diet changes, more pumping...) So I started letting Sasha nurse pretty much all she wanted! It didn't help my milk supply like I'd hoped. I did, however, find that I just.. I just don't like nursing her.
As I mentioned in my recent series on Night Weaning, I just don't like nursing Sasha anymore. If I nurse her for more than about 10 minutes, my stomach turns. It is not a pleasant sensation. Plus, she continues to leave teeth marks, a habit she has had for at least a year now!
So... I went from Sasha waking every 2-3 hours through the night to nurse to night weaning her. Then we moved into a travel trailer. Her first night she slept on the floor near our bed. Then she slept a few nights on the futon before being transitioned to her bunk at the other end of the travel trailer for naps before finally transitioning her night sleep there as well.
Then I really started my crack-down. I decided 15 minutes ONCE for bedtime was enough. I remembered my advice for the Night Weaning, as well. I needed to make the decision and stick with it. The first night was a battle, though not as bad as the night weaning. I kept having to tuck her back into bed over and over again. She cried and asked for different things.
In the first week, we only had a couple nights' practice at going to sleep without a nipple in her mouth. She'd skip naps and then fall asleep with less than 10 minutes of nursing. I also started limiting nap time nursing to 10 minutes. And I always advise her first. "You can have Mommy Milk for 10 minutes, and then night night." She always agrees, but she'll agree to anything for Mommy Milk! I nurse her and tuck her into bed the way she likes. If she doesn't go to sleep (for a nap, anyway), she asks if she can get up. Yes, I don't force her to take a nap.
Since then I've even shortened bedtime nursing to 10 minutes as well. Sometimes she falls asleep in half that! It all has to do with whether or not she napped and how well I time bed time. We've also finally instituted a healthy bed time routine. We brush her hair and teeth. She goes potty. That last one is very important and I've forgotten it several times!
She has had so many changes in her life in the last year! I feel bad about it at times, especially about all the changes she has had in just our nursing relationship. I have a lot of guilt over that anyway, though. I feel guilt for having negative feelings about nursing her. I feel guilty when I see articles about how beneficial it is for toddlers to nurse until they're ready to wean on their own. I even question whether some of her behavior might stem from having milk taken away from her. But what parent doesn't second guess themselves, right? People say not to feel guilty, but that is easier said than done.
I am leaning heavily toward weaning her completely, especially as she is asking for milk during the day less. (She also gets "Morning Milk" for just a few minutes.) Up until recently, she was still asking for milk all day long. My thoughts are that once she gets into a habit of going to sleep without milk (on those nights when she nurses, but not to sleep), then I can consider taking the next step. Right now I don't feel like I can take it away from her completely.
It breaks my heart to consider forcing her to wean on my terms rather than hers, but I know my negative feelings toward her aren't good for either of us.
How did your children wean? Do you have any regrets about the process?
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (and many thanks to Joni Rae of Tales of a Kitchen Witch for designing our lovely button):
- On Breastfeeding, Weaning, and One Mother’s Identity — Jessica at Natural Parents Network has been nursing one or more of her children since 1993 - breastfeeding is wrapped up in her concept of mothering and herself. She shares her thoughts on weaning.
- two tales of weaning — Aspen at Aspen Mama writes about their countdown to wean.
- Wean Me Gently — Tam at Please Send Parenting Books shares a beautiful weaning ceremony.
- You say potato, I say bleeeuuuuch... — Anelie at Mindcradle had read the books and knew just how to introduce her baby son to solids—unfortunately, he had other ideas.
- A Post Called Weaning — (Not) Maud at Awfully Chipper writes about how weaning her son took longer than she expected.
- On Weaning, Pregnancy and Emotion — Shannon at The Artful Mama talks about her mixed emotions as she allows her son, Little Man, to guide her through his weaning process.
- half of her life — Staci at Springpatch Jam looks back on her nursing relationship with her first born.
- Is it just this After Forty Mom or is it harder to wean when its your last? — Amanda of After Forty Mom shares her emotional journey towards the impending self-weaning of her toddler daughter.
- Nursing Limits — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she has weaned her toddler down to minimal nursing and her guilt about the decision to do so.
- Weaning Video Series #1: Preparation for the Weaning Process — Why is weaning such a taboo topic? Dionna at Code Name: Mama got mamas from across the blogosphere to start talking about weaning - on video. Come check out the first video in a series of five that she'll be posting this week.
- Weaning due to anxiety — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about how she had to wean to preserve her mental health.
- When Will I Wean? A Guest Post — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama hosts a guest post from a mama who contemplates when her breastfeeding relationship will end.
- On His Own Terms — Momeeezen shares her heartbreak from when her son weaned much earlier than she anticipated.
- Our Weaning Story - Sudden, Surprised, and Embracing a New Season — Weaning doesn't always go how we imagine. That Mama Gretchen shares the story of her daughter's sudden weaning and how she has embraced this new season of motherhood.
- A Tale of Two Weanings — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares the similarities and differences of how her nursing relationships with her now six-year-old and four-year-old daughters came to a close.
- She Doesn't Remember — Alicia at Lactation Narration finds that her 6 year old no longer remembers nursing, only one year after weaning.
- It's The End of the World As We Know It — A story about the end of a tandem nursing relationship on Never Mind The Rain: A toddler moves on to a new phase in her life before mom is fully ready.
- A Natural End To Our Breastfeeding Relationship — With two self-weaning children, Jennifer at Our Muddy Boots does not know when the end will come, but that it will be natural and without regrets.
- Child-Led weaning: It's Not Extreme; It's Biological — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children explains why child-led weaning is based on biology rather than social constraints.
- 6 Years of Natural Weaning in 5 Steps — Jess at miniMum shares how and why she let her first child stop when he was good and ready.
- Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Two, Three? — Zoie at TouchstoneZ discusses going from 3 nurslings down to 1 and what might happen when her twins arrive.
- Is This Weaning?: A Tandem Nursing Update — Sheila at A Living Family bares all her tandem nursing hopes and fears during what feels like the beginning of the end for her toddler nursing relationship.
- Memories of Weaning: Unique and Gentle — Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife shares her weaning experiences with her two sons, each one unique in how it happened and yet equally gentle in its approach.
- Weaning Aversion' — Gentle Mama Moon shares her experience of nursing and unplanned weaning due to pregnancy-induced 'feeding aversion'.
- Three Months Post-Mup: An Evolution of Thoughts On Weaning — cd at FidgetFace describes a brief look at her planned (but accelerated) weaning, as well as one mamma's evolution on weaning (and extended nursing)
- Weaning my Tandem Nursed Toddler — After tandem nursing for a year, Melissa at Permission to Live felt like weaning her older child would be impossible, but now she shares how gentle weaning worked for her 2 1/2 year old.
- Every Journey Begins with One Step — As Hannabert begins the weaning process, Hannah at Hannah and Horn's super power is diminishing.
- Reflections on Weaning - Love Changes Form — Amy from Presence Parenting (guest posting at Dulce de Leche) shares her experience and approach of embracing weaning as a continual process in parenting, not just breastfeeding.
- Weaning Gently: Three Special Ideas for Success — MudpieMama shares three ideas that help make weaning a gentle and special journey.
- Guest Post: Carnival of Weaning — Emily shares her first weaning experience and her hopes for her second nursling in a guest post on Farmer's Daughter.
- 12 Tips for Gentle Weaning — Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting describes the process of gentle weaning and gives specific tips to make weaning an organic, joyful ripening.
- Quiz: Should You Wean for Fertility Treatments? — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries talks about the key issues in the difficult decision to wean for infertility treatments.
- I thought about weaning... — Kym at Our Crazy Corner of the World shares her story of how she thought about weaning several times, yet it still happened on its own timeline.
- Celebrating Weaning — Amy at Anktangle reflects on her thoughts and feelings about weaning, and she shares a quick tutorial for one of the ways she celebrated this transition with her son: through a story book with photographs!
- Naturally Weaning Twins — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses the gradual path to weaning she has taken with her preschool-aged twins.
- Gentle Weaning Means Knowing When to Stop — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl writes about knowing when your child is not ready to wean and taking their feelings into account in the process.
- Weaning, UnWeaning, and ReWeaning — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy discovers non-mutal weaning doesn't have to be the end. You can have a do-over.
- Prelude to weaning — Lauren at Hobo Mama talks about a tough tandem nursing period and what path she would like to encourage her older nursling to take.
- Demands of a Nursing Kind — Amy Willa at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares her conflicted feelings about nursing limits and explores different ways to achieve comfort, peace, and bodily integrity as a nursing mother.
- Breastfeeding: If there's one thing I know for sure... — Wendy at ABCs and Garden Peas explores the question: How do you know when it's time to wean?