And the weaning begins...

Originally when Josh and I found out that I was pregnant, we came up with a plan to wean Zeke slowly over the next few months. We hoped that with the lowered milk supply most women experience he would lose interest in breastfeeding and that by taking his feedings away one at a time it would be a *fairly* painless process, having Zeke fully weaned 3 or so months before the new baby is born and wants to be breastfed.

The problem is my supply didn't slowly lower so much as it all but disappeared and it isn't causing Zeke to lose interest in breastfeeding as much as its causing him to be really really frustrated with my breasts and bite them. Which makes ME frustrated as I'm already sore from all the hormones BEFORE he bites me with his 5 razor sharp teeth. The feelings on breastfeeding as of yesterday morning: Frustration all around.

So I decided upon waking up yesterday that I wanted to go as long as possible without nursing Zeke. I was frustrated with his behavior, I was in pain, and it seemed to me that breastfeeding wasn't even comforting him anymore, just making him angry. We actually lasted all day. He had 4 bottles (1 at waking, 1 at nap, 1 in the late afternoon, and 1 at bedtime) but never breastfed. He actually barely even asked to be nursed and whenever he did he was quite happy to have a bottle or some cuddles instead. I get the feeling that he remembered the annoyingly empty breasts of the last week or so.

So when he fell asleep for the night and Josh and I were getting in bed I had a thought. "What if we try to not nurse him tonight either?" I said. Josh looked at me like I was insane but it made a lot of sense. 1. Nursing was not making Zeke happy, he didn't understand why I had so little milk and he was frustrated. 2. Nursing wasnt making me happy. I was sore, I was being bit, I was fed up. 3. He did soo well all day with the bottle, maybe he'll take it at night too?

But then we realized we didnt want to get him into the habit of a bottle of milk in the middle of the night. I mean, I know some kids need a midnight meal but I know my son and he doesn't. His night feedings (he usually does 2) are a habit that I've just not cared enough about to break. So the new idea? We will let him have a bottle of water in bed with him instead.

And guess what? It worked!! He moved into our bed about half thru the night (like he's been doing lately) and brought his bottle with him and he would just wake up, grab it, take a small drink, and go back to sleep!!

In the morning he did get quite cranky to nurse and when I handed him the bottle of water he gave me a nasty look and threw it off the bed. But it was just a matter of dragging myself up to make him a bottle of milk. No more lazing for an hour or two in bed while he nurses and plays :(

But I feel so good about all of this. I mean, part of me feels sad. I miss breastfeeding. I feel guilty for weaning him so young, he's not even 1 for another month, after all. But hey, it wasnt working anymore. And at least he's not upset. I can't believe, in fact, how happily he is drinking out of a bottle, considering he never had to before. And I especially cant believe he is going all night with just water. We will wait a few weeks and change out the bottle of water for a sippy of water but honestly he can take a sippy of water to bed forever for all I care. I keep a glass of water on my bedstand, after all.

So here is to one of the easiest (so far) weaning processes I could have imagined. Although I WILL admit that 30+ or so hours since his last feeding I am getting really sore and a bit engorged. I didnt have much milk but it will build up over time. I hope I dont get mastitis.


Trippleaaa said...

YAY! I'm glad that the process has been relatively easy thus far, I hope it continues. I too have the same view about the sippy cup with water at night. He an have it for as long as he would like. Frankly, I can't hear him cry it out and don't want to!

Michaela said...

It's good to hear that he's doing well with the weaning. I tried giving Noah a bottle of water at night, but he would have nothing to do with it.

MommyAmy said...

You have done an amazing job nursing for as long as you have! Sounds like the transition is something you were BOTH ready for which of course is making it that much easier. One of my girls weaned at 6 months and switched to a bottle. I could have fought her on it, took away the bottles and insisted on her nursing. But I had another baby to nurse too so I just let her make the switch. My other daughter nursed until 10 months. And at that point she was done with me and wanted bottles too.

When you DO switch to sippies, check out tilty cups! You have to order them online but they are BY FAR the best cups we've used! They do leak from the spout because they have no valve (and therefore require some supervision), but from what I understand no valve cups are better for dental health anyway.

Night Owl Mama said...

glad to hear it was a easy process for you I'm stll trying to get my 14 m old off. Atleast u'll have a break in between babies