It’s been awhile since I’ve had a chance to update my Baby’s First Year | Take Two series, but I wanted to make sure I stopped in to continue it, even if this post is coming a bit late.
Weaning Elyse went completely different than weaning Jase, so I wanted to be sure to share both stories here on the blog. It just so happens it took me eight months to get to sharing it.
When Elyse was about ten months, I began gradually weaning her and taking feedings away little by little. I have found that it goes much smoother when you take a gentle approach instead of forcing the process along. I started by taking her dream feed away, just like I did with Jase, to get her to move up to an earlier bedtime. That one was a breeze and not hard to do at all.
After removing the dream feed she was left with four nursing sessions a day. I waited another month and then began stretching the time in between these nursing sessions to make it where we were going down to just three nursing sessions a day. I fed her food instead of nursing her and kept her distracted and playing. This made it to where she didn’t even realize she would normally be nursing at that time. She was busy with playing and had table food to fill her belly.
After about a month of three nursing sessions a day, I dropped down to two around the 12 month mark. When we got to this point I didn’t feel ready to stop. It was different for me, I had always thought I would stop right at 12 months, and I did with Jase, but it didn’t feel like it was time with Elyse. I was torn between the thought of sticking to my original plan and timeline or waiting until I felt ready. But I could tell in my gut and by observing Elyse that we both weren’t ready. I didn’t want to nurse her for a long period of time, but I knew it wasn’t time just yet. So I took the pressure off and decided to listen to that feeling in a mama’s heart.
I am so glad I did because I know she would not have been ready. Waiting an extra three months was the best decision I could have made for the both of us. As she approached 15 months I felt as if we were both ready. The thought of stopping is always bittersweet. The thought of freedom once again is nice, but the bond with nursing is special. I definitely don’t think the decision will ever be completely easy, but I knew it was time. So we faded out the morning session and then a week or so later worked on fading out the bedtime session.
The process was similar to how I weaned Jase and I would recommend it over and over. A gentle approach to weaning made both experiences go smoothly. The timeline wasn’t at all as I would have planned and expected. It taught me so much that every child is different and that listening to the pull and tug in our mama heart with each child is very important.
Why do I go with this gentle method?
It makes it easier for both mom and baby as well as slowly decreasing your supply in order not to cause clogged ducts or pain. I didn’t have to pump until the very last two feedings. I would pump about a half ounce to an ounce in the morning when I was still nursing at night to help relieve a little of the fullness in the morning. I would decrease the pumping in the morning until I didn’t need to pump at all. I never had to worry about pain or a clogged milk duct and my supply kept up with her continuing to nurse at night until she completely stopped.
Did your weaning experience go differently than you would have expected?