Wean Me Gently

April 28th, 2009

This weekend Brad and I decided it was time to start weaning Nevie. It’s been such a struggle for me to come to a decision with this. I’m very proud that I’ve exclusively breast-fed my daughter for 9 months straight. The only time she’s had a bottle was while she was a newborn and my milk was taking it’s sweet time to come in. Since then, she has been a boob-only baby. Well, as of last week she has started trying to stand while she nurses. This doesn’t work very well because my boobs don’t stretch that far. So nursing time has become quite a workout for us both. She’s very interested in breast-feeding, but she’s equally interested in practicing her mobility at the same time.

My plan was to breast-feed for a year, and to be honest, I’ve been counting down the days until that one year mark. I’m just over it. I haven’t had my body to myself in almost 2 years. Monitoring everything I put in my body as safe for baby or not, to not be able to leave Nevie for more than a few hours at a time; we’ve only seen a movie in an actual theater once since she was born because I can’t be gone that long. I need a break. I need myself back.

So as we began the weaning process I’ve felt like such a bad mother. What’s her pediatrician (also a lactation specialist) going to think of me? What are other moms going to think of me? Am I hurting my child by taking away the very best thing she can eat? Should I just deal with her lack of concentration to eat and try to force her anyway? Am I being selfish? Am I not trying hard enough? These thoughts have been plaguing my head for days now.

This is such a bittersweet stage in motherhood. I’m excited about my freedoms, but I’m also sort of mourning the loss of being so needed and feeling such a closeness to my little one. It also reminds me that she’s not going to be a baby much longer.

Brad’s been really great at supporting me. I think it’s easier for men to not care what others think of them- especially as parents. Men can’t relate to the pride that comes along with sustaining your child her entire existence to this point. He continues to reassure me and remind me of what a good job I’ve been doing and that it’s okay if I want a break.

For now, Nevie is nursing when she wakes up and before she goes to bed. Between those times she gets formula. She’s still learning how to use the bottle. She doesn’t quite realize that she’s suppose to drink from it instead of banging it on things. She’s getting better at it though. I haven’t decided how long I want to stick with this schedule before weaning completely to a bottle. I think I will give it at least a month before I decide. Until then, I plan to relish in the little bit of freedom I now have. I think even a movie might be in our near future.

3 Responses to “Wean Me Gently”

  1. Erin April 28th, 2009

    Do what works best for you…forget what anyone else says…only you know what kind of mother you are-anyone else who wants to comment had better take a look at themselves first. You made it past 6 months and more often than not, most women don’t even make it that far. She will be just fine and probably happier if you are as well. :) I am proud of you for doing such a great thing. Fiona was given 1/2 formula & breast milk by about 6 months. I stopped nursing her entirely at 10 months and she’s just as healthy and happy as she can be and smart as a whip! Since I was so busy with 2 kids, Abby was 100% breastfed but mostly from pumped milk. If you find that she just can’t get the hang of the bottle, give it to her in one of those sippy cups instead. Keep up the good work & don’t worry so much! I love your blog, btw…I’m off to snoop around it now.

  2. Jenn April 29th, 2009

    Yesterday she had a hard time with the bottle, then today she drank it like a pro! I was kind of worried about how she’d transition from bottle to sippy cup, but she’s been practicing with the sippy cup for awhile now and since using the bottle she is better with the sippy cup. I guess she had to realize that liquid comes out of things other than mommy : ).

    Thanks for the kind words! And encouragement. She’s happy and I’m happy…and that’s really all that matters!

  3. Amy April 29th, 2009

    Even after having three boys and breastfeeding all of them I am in no way an expert. But I do know that the most important thing is to follow that instinct inside you.
    All of my boys were weaned at different times (Liam 5 months, Bryce 8 months and Cameron at 6 months) and they are doing fantastic mentally and physically.
    I do think breast milk is a vitally important thing for a baby but if you can only do it for a month or if you choose to do it for a year that’s great. Personally I’m not a fan of going past the point where they can walk and talk. All babies are different, some wean themselves and some become really interested in solid foods and get really distracted at the breast. There are subtle clues that your baby gives you, yes we have to be mind readers too. :)
    Give lots of choices for a few days and see what she likes best and go with that. You are doing exactly what you should be doing. She’ll get the hang of things and so will you, and she will keep you guessing for years to come.
    Nevaeh sounds like she’s ready to start weaning to me. Breast feeding right when she gets up and right when she goes to bed will be the last feedings to go so give her other choices during the day and she’ll show you the way.

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