my long, involved weaning tips

A couple of people asked how I was managing to convince Happy Fun Baby that his favorite pastime (nursing) was no more. I’d like to offer some sage advice on how to wean. I’d like to, but I really don’t have any, so in lieu of advice I will just tell you what I did:

Stopped nursing. (Dude, I know.)

This is how it worked:

Saturday morning (when we decided to run with the whole weaning thing) I hadn’t nursed the kid yet, so we just kept not doing that all day. He’s typically pretty take-it-or-leave-it about the daytime nursing, so we kept him well supplied with snacks and drinks and he didn’t really seem to notice. Not So took bedtime that night, and the kid put up his usual pre-sleep fight but didn’t really seem to notice that he hadn’t been nursed.

Until 3am. At 3am, he woke up wanting to breastfeed. Mama did not accommodate. He woke up more, pulling at my top and weeping. We offered water, milk, rocking, singing. The weeping escalated to screams. Scream, scream. After 45 minutes (!!) Not So put the kid in the Ergo and took him for a walk around the neighborhood. Apparently he calmed down pretty fast once they got outside. When they came back to bed, Ellison grabbed on to my neck like a drowning person and fell asleep like that, clinging.

The next day there was a fair amount of “Nuh? Nuh?” and me saying “No, we don’t nurse anymore,” which prompted brief teary episodes but nothing like the screaming of the night before. That night he woke up at 3:30, screamed for 15 minutes, and then fell back asleep clinging to my neck…right after Not So finished getting dressed to take him outside again. Poor Not So!

But the next night the kid slept through, and last night he only woke up briefly and fussed before going back down.

He’s still obviously quite interested in nursing, but he seems to accept that we’re not doing it anymore. He’s eating a lot more solid food. He’s also a bit clingy, needing more hugs and snuggles than usual…which is nice, actually, because I feel a bit bereft as well. It’s not that I miss nursing (I so, so do not) but it’s really hard to hear my baby cry and know that I could make it better and I’m just not.

So, yeah. That’s my big reveal. If I were to proffer advice, it would be to start the process on a weekend so at least you can nap during the next day, since there’s going to be no chance of sleep the first night. Of course, if you are clever and have already night-weaned, you’re one step ahead of me.

(By the way, I’m still in a fabulous mood. Am I the only person in the world whose weaning hormones actually make her feel better?)

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5 thoughts on “my long, involved weaning tips”

  1. Shari: heh. I know, I was kind of being a smartass, but it’s true, that’s all I did! Honestly, it’s not as bad as I thought it would be. He doesn’t physically need to nurse, especially in the middle of the night, so I think maybe it’s easier than trying to do it with an infant (having to substitute a midnight bottle for the boob seems like a lot more work to me).

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  2. Christa, yeah…I mean, he doesn’t *need* to nurse, but it was a huge comfort thing for him. But god, I hated it. I feel that I can admit this now, since I am not doing it anymore: I loathed nursing. I was beginning to think of the kid as a little milk vampire, sucking my life force out. That’s definitely not going into the baby book, you know?

    Fireflower, I so hear that. It’s such a relief to not worry about it anymore, isn’t it? And part of me wonders if my experience would be different if we had another one. You’ll have to let me know!

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  3. Dude! Stop. Nursing. Genius! Clearly I just need to want it badly enough to be willing to endure the cries. Somehow I have only a smidgen of guilt when I let him CIO at night because I’m desperate for sleep…now I just need to be desperate enough to get my boobs back.

    And I have read that giving them extra cuddles and loving in place of nursing time is an important way of helping them make the transition. Sounds like you are doing a great job! I hope it’s continuing to go well.

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  4. You’re not alone. When I finally gave up trying to force my milk to finish coming in, and gave up attempting to breastfeed, and came to terms with bottling the Munchkin, I did feel better. I wasn’t stressing out over trying to feed, care for her, pump… I just got to enjoy my baby. And given how easily distractable Tiff turned out, how she liked to chew her nipples all to shreds, this is a good thing.

    That said, I’m looking forward to the Little Bit showing up. I’m looking forward to doing this all again. Somebody shoot me.

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  5. Poor kiddo. Though I see it as caught between a rock and a hard place – it would be worse IMO for him to remember nursing as a bad feeling. All that matters is you finding other ways to show you love him, and you’re doing that. Continued good luck to you!

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