Conflicted about Weaning!!

Katherine - posted on 10/18/2013 ( 2 moms have responded )

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Hello moms! My son turned one last week and I was able to breastfeed for the entire first year. I struggled to make it the whole year and thought I would feel a great sense of accomplishment and pride if/when I made it. But now that we've hit that milestone, I just feel very conflicted about weaning. I work full time and so continuing to pump at work is not an option. I'm okay with dropping those two bottles that he gets at daycare but I'm very conflicted about dropping his early morning feed and his nighttime feed. I leave early for work and so I pump before my son gets up in the morning and leave the bottle for my husband to give him but I always nurse him first thing in the mornings on weekends and days off and every day before he goes to bed.
Part of me is just not ready to cut that emotional tie yet and feels like I should give it another month or two before I completely wean him off of those. The other part of me is exhausted and would LOVE to get an extra 30-45 minutes of sleep every day that would be possible if I didn't have to pump. It's like the mommy side of me is at war with the exhausted side of me. I feel guilty about wanting to wean and get more sleep but also sad about the loss of the nursing relationship - just totally conflicted about it all. I guess it somehow snuck up on me and I'm not as prepared for it as I thought I would be. My husband is very supportive of me either way but he just doesn't understand my feelings. In his mind, I hit the one year mark, I should be proud and happy but ready to be done. But that isn't how I feel at all. Anyone else have similar feelings or advice to offer?

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Katherine - posted on 10/21/2013

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Thank you Lori!! It's really nice to know I'm not alone in my feelings. All the other moms I know who nursed were completely tired of it by the time their babies turned one and were glad to be able to wean. It made me feel like I was crazy for feeling this way. I appreciate the support and your ideas. You're right, nursing isn't an all or nothing deal so I will keep the two feedings that I can and see when/if I feel ready to drop those. And it is great that we both have such wonderful, supportive husbands!! Thanks again!!

Lori - posted on 10/18/2013

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Katherine

First of all - congratulations on making it to the year mark. That is a HUGE accomplishment and you should be proud of it.

However, I also completely understand the mixed feelings about weaning. With my oldest daughter I had also set a goal of 1 year. As my daughters first birthday approached, I was starting to get extremely nervous about weaning her. I'd told myself I would nurse her the full first year, but I had never imagined that I could possibly nurse longer than that. I didn't know anyone who had nursed longer than maybe 14 months, and that was literally one person.... with a teenaged son. As I was telling my husband about my mixed feelings about weaning he said something that to me at that moment was very profound. He said "just because she's having a birthday doesn't mean you have to stop nursing on that day" In one way I knew that, because I hadn't planned on just quitting nursing cold turkey on her birthday, but I had planned on making a serious effort to wean beginning the day after her birthday. I let that statement knock around my head a bit and decided that neither she nor I were ready to wean. I KNEW if I tried to wean her at 12 months we were going to have some serious crying about it. I decided to take it slow and let the weaning happen when it happens. At 1 year she still had days of breastmilk only. Some days she'd eat solids 3 times per day, other days she wouldn't. Well, trying to make a long story a bit shorter I slowly increased the amount of solid food, and slowly decreased the amount of nursing. By about 18 months we were at the point of nursing before bed time, first thing in the morning, before nap time and again right after nap time. The next few months I debated about which nursing session to drop next as they all seemed important to her. When she was 21 months old I found out I was pregnant again, and that was the reason for the pain I'd begun experiencing while nursing. That clinched my decision that NOW was finally the time to wean. 2 months later, she was weaned. I had not planned on nursing more than 12 months, but I ended up nursing her for almost 2 years (23 months).

The 2nd time around, I'd done more research, knew more about the benefits of extended nursing (beyond 1 year) and my goal was 2 years. With my 2nd when that 2 year mark came, I was happy that we'd made it to 2 years, but again not ready to wean. I'd discovered my LO has a dairy allergy and she doesn't like to drink a cup of almond milk or coconut milk, so my alternatives to breast milk are very limited. I continued nursing her until almost her 3rd birthday.

So - my suggestion: Drop the pumping sessions at work first. Continue to pump before work and nurse when you are home. Give that at least a few weeks to make sure that your body acclimates to the decreased demand for milk (you don't want to get engorged) and that your son is doing well with whatever milk you choose to give instead of breastmilk. If at that point you still want to drop the extra morning pumping session I'd say go right ahead. But if you're still not sure you really want to take that one away then continue it for a few more weeks, or even months. And also continue to nurse before bedtime. You may find that you're able to stop pumping in the mornings that you work, but you can still nurse in the morning on your days off... or you may find that if you stop pumping you'll have very little milk in the morning. So what you do is just ultimately up to you.

I'm glad to hear your husband is ready to support you either way you decide. But since he isn't the one nursing, he will never completely understand the feelings behind it. Just be glad he's supportive of you!!!!!

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