Wednesday, August 05, 2009

How Weaning Happened

I've put off writing this post for a long time and finally, now that Charlotte is almost 2, I feel an urgency to get it written before I forget the details.

Our weaning from breastfeeding was mostly Charlotte led, but with a strong dose of encouragement from Momma. I was, and still am, comfortable with the idea of tandem nursing, but didn't feel like it would be a mark of motherhood excellence if I did tandem nurse. Or that it would be a mark of shame if I didn't.

My pregnancy probably played the biggest role in Charlotte's weaning. As I progressed, the milk began to change and it was more work for her to get it. Apart from that though, when I saw signs she was frustrated, I decided to encourage her in a direction that didn't involve nursing at all.

The other thing that helped was Charlotte began sleeping through the night right around 18 months old. And since most of her nursing was overnight, I got off easy for those few feedings.

Once I reached the decision to wean her, I started to limit the length of nursing sessions. I told Charlotte after she had nursed for a bit that she had 10 seconds left before we would be all done. Then, I would very slowly count down from 10 before announcing more snuggle time and then bed time.

After a couple weeks of doing that every night, I limited her to just one side, telling her she had drank all the milk in the other side the last time we nursed. From there, I began counting a little faster... and soon she would pull off before I was even halfway done.

When we got near the end, I decided to just tell her one night that all the milk was gone. I completely expected her to get fussy about it and whine, knowing I'd give in and let her try one more time. Instead though, she just sat up and started jumping on the bed in a playful way. So, I let her play for a few minutes, and we finished our bedtime routine. Charlotte was 21-months old at this time.

I came down stairs and was just amazed that maybe we were done. Even though I had been preparing Charlotte for this next stage, it shocked me how readily she accepted it. Since then, she has asked for milk a handful of times, but never pushed it when I told her there was no more.

Now, with a new baby coming, if she mentions my milk, I tell her that it is for the new baby. It will be interesting to see how she reacts to another little girl getting her momma's milk.

Overall, I am incredibly pleased with the gentle weaning we were able to experience. And now, I am looking forward to starting over again with a new baby.

1 comment:

  1. They are so wise beyond their years and amazing what they can do when it is THEIR idea!!! Great job Charlotte!

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