Friday, September 14, 2012

breaking up is hard to do

So I'm not really breaking up with anyone, but it kind of feels like it.  You know, like when you keep reminding yourself of these truths:  I just can't do it anymore.  It's over.  I just have to admit it.  I need to do what's best for you.  I need to do what's best for me.  In other words, I'm officially weaning Duke.

If you remember, my plan was to nurse up until a year.  That's still looking like it'll be the plan, but the weaning process is starting a couple weeks earlier than expected.

Why?  I've noticed a few things over the past several days:

1.  Duke has been waking earlier than normal in the morning.  If you've been reading my blog awhile, you know Duke has always been a late riser, starting his morning at 8:15-8:30.  For the past week or so, he's been up and crying around 7:30-7:40.  A couple of days, he'd drift back to sleep for a bit and then wake closer to his usual time.  Today, he woke at 7:30 and was not joking.  It wasn't a fall-back-asleep kind of cry.  He was up for the day and he was ready to eat.  There are several factors that could be influencing this.  It could be that we've been pushing bedtime a little bit this week, causing him to wake earlier.  It could also be that he's hungrier earlier because he needs more calories.  If it's the latter, I would say that probably has to do with nursing and not with solid foods.  These are just my guesses.
2.  There have a been a few times while nursing when Duke will pull off and fuss, as if he's not getting enough.  This is enough to make a mama really sad.  The few times it's happened, I've had Colt warm up some breast milk in a bottle for me to feed.  He gobbles it down.
3.  My supply physically feels low to me.  I don't feel my let-down hardly at all.  Now, I know you don't always have to feel your let-down.  But my supply is noticeably different.
4.  I've tried boosting my supply with Fenugreek (which I tried a few times when Duke was younger and it worked wonders).  But this time, it's not really doing anything.  It may be helping maintain it, but it's not boosting it at this point.
5.  Even when Duke is nursing and getting enough, there are times he just seems kind of disinterested - like he's over it.
6.  I think my body may be over it too.  It seems that since nothing has changed in our schedule and Fenugreek (and other things) aren't really boosting my supply, maybe my body is telling me we're done.

Sure, I could be crazy and take Fenugreek around the clock, eat all the good foods for increasing milk supply, and pump like a mad woman.  But really?  For just 2 more weeks of solid nursing?  That seems a little ridiculous.  I'd rather listen to my body and do this weaning thing as naturally as possible.

I have very mixed emotions about all of this.  I figured I would, but it seems trickier to navigate through it all than I originally thought. 

On the one hand, it's the end of an era.  My baby boy is growing up.  I see it with my own eyes and now I can feel it with my own body.  It's real.  He's getting ready to drink milk out of the fridge like normal humans.  It's tough to swallow some days.  And it's not that I want to keep nursing past a year.  I absolutely do NOT.  But I will miss parts of it - the part where Duke wants me because I'm the only one who can give him what he wants/needs or the part where Duke lies still in my lap, looking up at me, playing with my hair as he eats.  Sweet and precious moments like that will be missed.


As you can see, I am experiencing equal parts of sadness and excitement.  That may be the most annoying part of it all, honestly.

My plan is to replace one feeding with a bottle about every week-ish.  With 5 feedings, I plan on it taking about 5-6 weeks.  So far, I've replaced his late afternoon (3:30-4:00) feeding with a bottle.  Why that feeding?  In my research, that's the one that is usually recommended first to eliminate.  Also, that's the time of day when I have the least milk.  In addition to that, two days out of the week I'm teaching during that feeding, so it makes sense to get rid of that one first.  I've been doing this for 3 days now and I've had enough milk for the other 4 feedings.

And please remember, I know that not all of you care what I do when it comes to weaning.  But for me, it was nice to read about other moms' experiences and processes so I could prepare for how I wanted to handle it.  I hope this can be a helpful tool for some of you.  If any of you out there have any tips or want to share how weaning went for you, please do!


  1. So hard yet so liberating too! I remember being ready to wean Elle but also having a hard time giving it up. She bit me and my skin wouldn't heal so it sealed the deal. ;) good luck can't believe he is already almost a year! My advise is go slow to avoid mastitis, make sure you are drinking water still and resting. Your hormones may flip out too just FYI. Also when ready to be fully done peppermint and some sudafed helped me. I also had a sinus infection about the same time(spring) so I needed the sudafed.

    1. Yes, I'm trying to focus on the liberating part. haha Thanks for the tips! I'll let Colt know about the hormones ... :)

  2. Oh gosh, I completely remember the emotional rollercoaster of weaning! Luckily, if you take it slow like you're planning, by the time you're really done you'll probably be ready. I found that as Riggins got older all those sweet moments that I hated to give up with nursing were replaced by even cooler interactions as he became more and more of a little person.

    Since you asked for tips, I was given some great advice by a friend that I will pass along. Instead of replacing nursing sessions with bottles, try to just phase them out and replace them with their "big boy" equivalents: milk in a cup at meal times and water in a cup at snack times. If you replace them with a bottle, then you still deal with dropping that bottle feeding (and weaning from a bottle, which docs recommend giving up around a year anyway) later on. For example, toward the end of our nursing days Riggs would nurse upon waking, before his afternoon nap, and before bedtime (the morning feeding was the last to go for us). Then he had a cup of milk at each meal time (I started presenting that at 11 months which gave him plenty of time to experiment and get used to it before I was really done with nursing and he HAD to drink it!), and a cup of water with a snack after each nap. Hope that makes sense! And as always...feel free to completely ignore this advice :)

    1. Thanks so much for sharing! :) That thought has crossed my mind ... I think originally it just overwhelmed to think about all of it. But I definitely see the value in going straight to the sippy cup. So, for this late afternoon feeding that is replaced w/ formula in a bottle, would you just put that formula in a sippy cup? I know this feeding would be considered a "snack time," but I don't think he's ready to drop the calories from the formula and replace it with water. Does that sound right?

    2. That sounds right to me! Until he's swapping more of those breastmilk calories for cow's milk calories at meals, I'd just swap in formula! And some kids get finicky about what they will take from a cup, so just know that all of these transitions can take time. It took a full month of putting a sippy cup of milk on Riggs' tray at every meal before he was ready to actually drink it! Just try to stay laid back about it all and he'll get there!


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