Thursday, July 21, 2011

It's Time? Deciding to Wean

My little eater!
As Nia's first birthday approaches I have weaning on my brain. The fact that we've had such a long, on-demand breastfeeding relationship is truly a blessing, and I've pretty much rolled with the punches.

Although Nia's been signing "milk" since 7 months old, about a month ago she started aggressively pulling my shirt and lunging towards my boobs for milk. Mr. Love Bird does not like this one bit and honestly, I don't either as it's very embarrassing in public and once she even ripped the strap off one of my favorite dresses. She also will try to pull my breast out of my shirt when I'm holding her! I've taken to holding her hand and reinforcing the sign for milk and asking her, "What do you want?" She'll then go, "Hmmmmm?" and do the sign.

A couple weeks ago I thought it was ok to start gradually weaning as her interest in solids increased, but then I was slammed with her sudden increase in demand for milk I believe it's due to the fact that she started walking, a couple back teeth are starting to push through and we're in the midst of a heat wave.

I've read on KellyMom about the various ways to wean and how weaning abruptly can really damage a baby's future development. While Nia is now eating 3 meals a day and snacks, her need for breastfeeding is also about comfort. Although walking is exerting her independence she still very much is a baby who needs the closeness that breastfeeding provides (and I love the snuggle time too!) - she's just more aggressive about asking for it now!

Several months ago I had scheduled an allergy testing appointment for the end of August as a push to force me to start weaning Nia as it can only be done when not breastfeeding. Now as that date is nearly a month away I'm thinking I may have to reschedule. I'm leaning towards BLW (baby led weaning), and I think this is the best method for Nia based on her current increased interest in solids.

Honestly, I really, really want my body back, but I can go a few months more and do what's best for Nia. In reality, as Sherry over at Young House Love pointed out, the WHO recommends breastfeeding until the age of 2 and in many other countries children are breastfed until 3 years of age. I really hope not to go that long, but if that's what Nia needs, then so be it.

Besides Sherry's recent post on her 14 month breastfeeding relationship with her daughter Clara, I've found this post from La Leche League very helpful: in Letting Go: A Weaning Story I completely identified with the author when she wrote: 

I see how nursing my baby has helped him flourish. I see how comfortable he is in his own skin because he has gotten the kind of comfort he wants. I see how helpful it is to both of us to be able to breastfeed him when he's not feeling well, when we're in the emergency room with croup at 11 pm, and he's feeling hot, scared, and confused. 

I see how he finds his peace. Orders his world. I see how blissful it is to sit with him at dawn and nurse him into another day. I see how breastfeeding him for comfort has made him more comfortable in general. More patient. More respectful of my needs. More able to calm himself. More centered. Happy. 

I see how it has made me more patient, more centered, able to calm myself. I see the look of deep knowingness in his eye, as if we've been walking the planet together for a couple of hundred years. I see how breastfeeding has become part of our rhythm, our rhyme, our understanding of each other. How it has given our relationship a whole other layer of connectedness. And how that connectedness has influenced my parenting choices, how I perceive him, and how he responds to me.  

{La Leche League also has a good post about BLW here too.} 

Overall, I'm very happy that Mr. Love Bird has been supportive of my breastfeeding relationship with Nia and that I have other mommy friends who also breastfeed. A supportive community is very important to a successful breastfeeding journey!

For those of you who have weaned or getting close to weaning do you have any other thoughts or resources to share?

 

4 comments:

  1. Good for you for doing research before cutting off the supply cold turkey. I remember when I thought I would stop breastfeeding when M turned 1 like I could turn it off like a light switch. I was so torn between wanting my body back and doing what's best for my baby. Well the decision was made for us at 18 months and I was surprised at how well she took it when my milk dried up. Hang tough mama! See you in a few days!

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  2. My little one will be one next month and I'm also thinking about ways to wean. She is taking more solids, but she also loves the boob. I plan on stopping when she turns one. We'll see how it goes. I think the last nursing session to go will be the night feedings. She relies on that the the most (for confort of course). Sometimes it's the only way she'll go to sleep. Good luck!

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  3. Love stories of black women breastfeeding. I'm so glad you researched first. I've breastfed all three of my children, and each one has been a different, but rewarding experience. We are still going strong at 14 months with our 3rd. He eats throughout the day, but no big meals really, he still prefers the breast.

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  4. I tooootally feel you on the grabbing of the shirt. My daughter will even pull my bra down and latch herself if I am holding her walking around the house. In public it can get down right ugly. I started by weaning the day and nursing in the morning and at a night. I have gotten rid of the night and I am still doing the morning. To be honest I don't think there is much milk there for her anymore. She will go from breast to breast and when there is no more milk she will get down and play. I think it is comfort for her. I figure I will let her self wean. She is now 15 months.

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