breastfeeding · Doula observations

Weaning Woes

image

I should preface this by saying: my kids have both refused bottles. The most AM ever took by bottle while I was at work was about 2 oz, and she was over 9 months old at the time!

My breastfeeding goal was 18 months. With my oldest, my goal was 12 months, and we made it to just shy of 14 months before weaning with no fuss. This time around, I decided to split the diI fference between AAP’s recommended minimum and WHO’s recommended minimum. We decided that 18 months was a reasonable goal and set out to achieve only that amount of time. 

Shortly after this decision, I felt very strong that I needed to donate milk. I worked to bring my supply back up… and up it stayed. Even after AM turned a year old and I stopped donating, I continued to have full and leaky breasts for months.

image

Between feeling touched out and my struggles with a postpartum mood disorder, I was counting down to that 18 month mark. It came and went without even a small change in nursing. Whereas I had been down to two breastfeeds a day with NJ shortly before she weaned, AM was still content to latch on around 10 pm when I got home from work and stay attached all night.

I started experiencing nursing aversions. I hated breastfeeding. It was an icky, angry feeling that often made me feel tremendous guilt. I knew that breast milk was still good for her, still biologically normal. I’d donated my milk for months and never felt as irritated with my pump as I was getting with my toddler. It was bringing back flashes of rage, which was my major symptom of postpartum depression.

I had to be done. So, about a month after I had intended to wean, I sent DH up camping with both the kids and I stayed home. I weaned cold turkey. I iced my breasts every few hours at work the next day, wore cabbage in my bra when I got home, took a decongestant to help dry me up, and got terribly engorged. I tried not to touch my breasts, but I did massage out clots, hoping to avoid mastitis.

image

I made it through the 3 days they were gone, my breasts finally softening and drying. AM pulled at my clothes daily, signing please and asking for “bobbies”. I gently refused her, snuggled her, and gave her water or cow milk.

Then the teething started. She cried and cried and wouldn’t calm down. She wouldn’t eat or drink and just kept begging for her bobbies. In desperation, I gave in. She dry-nursed for 45 minutes and finally fell asleep.

It was interesting to me how much better I felt emotionally/hormonally after my milk dried. I felt like the mom I wanted to be, not the monster I’d been with my depression.
image

I thought we were weaned. But a few days later, I gave in again. And again. Her molars really gave me the run around.

I also thought she was still “dry-nursing“, until my husband got a surprise one night while we took some adult time.

My milk was back.

Whoops.

My rage returned, although not as severely. I swore her off the breast again. Right when she learned to ask for “mewkies”.

Great. Just what I need. She’s even cuter about it now.
-my internal dialogue

I gave in again. She’s now 22 months old and still breastfeeding (occasionally). My feelings of nursing aversion have mostly dissipated and we’re in a happy place. I don’t know when she’ll finally decide to be done, but I do know that sometimes life surprises us.

image

And milkies have served her well.

Don’t forget to like me on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/notreblemotherhood/

Advertisements

One thought on “Weaning Woes

  1. Wow, this was a fascinating read for me! I could have really benefited from reading an honest and real post like this during the first 6 months of nursing when I, too, often felt aversion to nursing and feelings of anger, helplessness, and in turn, guilt, at being so limited in having to nurse every few hours. Amelia used to drink from a bottle until she was 3 months old, and then she just suddenly stopped taking it, and didn’t touch one again until she learned to drink from a straw at around 1 year. For me nursing began to feel like a positive and nurturing bond sometime after 6 months when she was able to go longer stretches of time without nursing (during the day that is, since at night she was always milk addicted).

    And there was also this weird issue I experienced until she turned 6 months old where she wouldn’t nurse as frequently as she should and gained weight very slowly (which, come to think of it, actually led to my encouraging the night-nursing to ensure she got adequate nutrition). And then when I began solids, she decided she enjoyed nursing more but hated solids – didn’t really take to solids until around 13 months of age!

    That toddler nursing position, by the way, is hilarious and totally relatable. It’s also interesting that you said your mood improved once your milk dried up. I am experiencing similar feelings as my milk production decreases.

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s