I’m just about to wean my second daughter from breastfeeding. My plan is to be done with nursing within the next few days. I'm quite certain she will be my last baby, and this will be the last time I will be nursing. I’ve been trying my best to explore my feelings on that for the last few weeks. Someone who I really respect tells me “you’ve got to feel to heal”; and she’s totally right. So I’m working on feeling all the feels right now. It feels heavy. Really heavy.
Laura is just about to be 14 months and I truly believe the weaning is a mutual decision. Neither of us need it any longer; but that doesn’t mean that it won’t be a huge change in both of our lives and our relationship. And change is hard.
I always intended to wean around this time. I weaned my first at 15 months when I had become pregnant. Our last feed to go was first thing in the morning and I didn’t want to mix morning sickness (I had a lot with both pregnancies) with nursing. It turned out to be a really great time for both of us, so I thought that would be a nice time to wean again. One of my BFFLs is getting married on the May long weekend this year and I’ll be away for three nights to do all the events - the bachelorette party, rehearsal dinner, wedding. I knew I wanted to wean ahead of the wedding so both of us were used to the lack of breastmilk well before me leaving for the first time in her life. So that is what brings us here - to mid-April - staring weaning head-on.
Most of our feeds ended up being full feeds - and by that I mean her nursing on both sides - but it just so happens that this last one has always been split into two parts. When she wakes first thing in the morning she nurses on my right side and then right before her morning nap (about 2 hours later) she nurses on my left side. By now all the other feeds have already been transitioned to bottles of homogenized milk. I’ll likely write another blog post in the future on how I did that.
What I’ll miss the most is our quiet time together. By the time your kid is 14 months they don’t sit still for any length of time ever, unless they are nursing. The time first thing in the morning is my favourite. She is often up before my toddler so I’ll bring her into our bed and we’ll lay together. Sometimes she’ll even stay there for 20-30 minutes taking her time and enjoying the calmness together. It’s beautiful. It’s one of my favourite times in my day, and I will remember it fondly. If she’s not sleepy she can slurp the milk back in max 5 minutes and be on her way. That, and the fact that her morning diapers are not nearly as wet as her afternoon diapers (after she has had a bottle or two), tells me she’s really not taking much milk from me anymore. I have full confidence in my body’s ability to produce exactly what she needs, I just don’t think she needs very much from me right now.
When I weaned my first I found it more distressing. Overcoming my struggle to learn how to nurse and then having a baby who refused to take a bottle until she was 10 months old really locked me into breastfeeding. I felt like my identity as a mother was completely tied to breastfeeding. I even wondered “what makes me a mother if I’m not breastfeeding? Anyone else could soothe her in the exact same ways I can if I’m not nursing”.
I eventually came to realize that is so not true. It has so much more to do with the relationship between the two of us than where the milk comes from. I got to enjoy more book reading, more hugs, and each bottle or sippy cup of cow’s milk almost always came with snuggles too. So this time around that part isn’t worrying me. But it’s still a change. And change is hard.
To all you mamas out there going through this or who have been through it, my thoughts are with you <3.