Leonidas has officially weaned. YAY 🙂 and BOO 😦 !!!
Leo has been a boob fan for as long as I can remember in his first year. Nothing else could comfort him more than the boob and he’s never rejected it in any way. Around the end of October (then, 15 months old), I decided that I wanted to slowly wean him. Honestly, I wasn’t too serious about it. More like I wanted to just give it a shot and see how he would react. There were some supporting factors though:-
1. I am leaving for a trip for 5 days in Feb 2015 without him. It makes me worry just thinking how he’ll cope without me around. Which means, no nursing before sleep, in the middle of the night, and comforting him with it. He would wake up around 1-2- times at night, with eyes closed, crying… and only the boob can soothe him.
2. I just did not want to pump anymore! I loved my Spectra M1 and it has served me so well. I just didn’t want the hassle to find time/place to pump and worrying that I may not have enough for the next day (I don’t think that 1 bottle of 3oz is enough for him at daycare anyway). Also, the fact that I am more mobile now, travelling to different places for work and pumping/storing is getting really challenging.
So the main reason was because I’m travelling. And so I thought of giving it a try, slowly and steadily. I was going to nurse him at night still until he is ready, probably until early Feb when he turns 18 months. I knew for sure that he’ll still need milk-any kind of milk. I know many moms recommend fresh milk after 1, but he wasn’t a fan. I wasn’t going to deny him so I bought a pack of the basic Dutch Lady/Dumex Dugro 123 for him to try. He rejected it many times. I probably wasted a whole pack of it. Offering him and then throwing it away.
I would prep one bottle of breast milk and one bottle of the formula to daycare daily. Surprisingly, he accepted the formula (given by someone else and not me) and it has been going great for about 2 weeks. I had totally stopped pumping (no more freezer stash), and some days I would prep two servings of formula to daycare as well. Then, he was only getting breast milk at night or whenever he’s with me. I practiced the “Don’t offer, don’t reject” style. For some reason, one day I just decided to give him a bottle at night before bedtime. He rejected it altogether and would cry. He only wanted me. I can’t remember how long it was, but some time in November, he started accepting it. I will make around 5-6oz for him and he would happily take it, and fall asleep, on his own…
That is when my heart started to ache. I knew I wanted him to wean, but didn’t expect it to be so fast. I was targeting by January or something. Not nursing to sleep was a great deal to me. It was our bonding moment and moments for cuddles and snuggles and lotsa kisses. My heart was aching and I was sad. I actually don’t know what to feel or what I was feeling. Having said that, I still did nurse him in the middle of the night between 3-5 am if he wakes up. He would fall back asleep quickly. Slowly, my heart ached less as days pass by with this routine. I would still spend time with him as he is having his bottled milk and I would cuddle and pat him to sleep.
One day, he woke in the middle of the night and started crying. I offered the boob and he would suckle so hard, it started to hurt. It went on for a few days, I felt very uncomfortable and he would not unlatch! I still had milk, but maybe not as much as it was and a slower letdown. I figured he may be thirsty so I prepped a bottle of water for him. I offered it to him if he wakes and he started taking it more frequently and falls back asleep. It has been a week plus, maybe 2, that he’s been taking the water and no boob 😦
TODAY, he woke up happy and cheerful as he has always been. While preparing to go out, I realized that my boobs are probably slowly getting back to it’s normal size now and wondered if I still had milk. So I cradled him in my arms and offered him the boob. Guess what?
He suckled for maybe 2 seconds and then started smiling at me! I tried to offer again and said “nen nen”, he repeated after me and just stared in my eyes. He turned his head away, smiling and showing me a sign that he doesn’t want it anymore. It was TODAY, I knew for sure he has weaned a 100%.
Part of me is really happy, that my little baby has grown up and being more independent. He would take a bottle whenever and now, he actually looks forward to it and sometimes asks for it. I am happy that I can leave him in the care of someone else without concern (sometimes it’s nice to be able to have some time out alone!).
Another part of me is sad. Well, not sad, sad. But bittersweet. It has been a beautiful journey and an experience I will never forget! I am so blessed to be able to breastfeed him fully until 15 months. The process was quicker than I had expected, and less painful as I expected. We have achieved another milestone and it is time for new challenges and finding new ways to bond with him.
Here’s some moments of our breastfeeding journey :’) Thank you son, for the wonderful and precious experience. I love you!