We’ve started to wean!
Now, I know I’ve said that before, but this time I actually truly, sincerely, hand on heart, honestly mean it. I’ve wanted to wean before, and have threatened many times to do it (especially in the middle of the night during the nipple twiddling stage)… but my love for it and its utter ease has always overpowered that desire, until now.
So why am I so set on actually doing it this time? What’s changed?
Well, in short, nothing. I still love it (as does my little milk monster), but I just feel like it’s the right time. I’ve never had this feeling properly before. I guess on the previous occasions I always knew in my heart that we hadn’t quite finished yet.
But this time around it’s different. I’ve just spent a brilliant two months of quality time with my son in the UK. I watched him thrive in every possible way around his family. He’s grown physically bigger (if that’s even possible – he is massive!) and his vocabulary is blossoming every day. The baby I took home became a boy before my eyes. And as I watched this happen, I came to realize that this chapter of being his Mummy – the breastfeeding chapter – was coming to an end. I could do it longer, but I don’t need to. It’s time. The end of a marvelous boobin adventure for me and the boy! Job successfully done.
I initially set out to breastfeed for six months. This turned to six days when I decided I couldn’t hack the newborn hunger. But we powered through, met our six month mark, then hit the 18 months mark and beyond! To say I feel like a marvelous Mum (for once) for making it this far is an understatement. Yes, the ride has been tough on occasions, but it’s been a beautiful journey which I have cherished.
So we’re embarking on the weaning adventure together. But the thing is, Zachy LOVES his milk so much that I fear the end of this journey is going to be a little bumpy to say the least…
I marked his second birthday as his last day of on demand feedings. These feedings have generally been first thing in the morning…to keep him asleep a little longer (ha, busted!), around mid-afternoon to get him to nap if we’re at home (oh, busted again), and in the evening to get him down to sleep for the night (okay, I think you get the pattern here…). IT’S JUST SO EASY TO WHIP OUT A MAGIC SLEEP-BOOB!
My strategy, therefore, is to cut out the first two feeds (morning and afternoon), leaving him to still enjoy his evening feed so he can drift off into a sweet easy sleep (trust me, the decision to leave this particular feed rather than going cold turkey is in everyone’s best interests – neighbours included!) My plan is to then gradually get rid of the evening feed when it’s all less of a shock to him…hopefully.
So to help me stay strong, I’m starting this little ‘Keen To Wean’ diary. I’m charting the days – the ups, the downs, the ease and the hardship as I know it’ll keep me going. I’ll be open and honest about the whole thing, and if I need help, you can spur me on. Also, if there are any other fellow Mamas’ out there keen to wean too, perhaps you can join me on this ride? I’ll add frequently to this blog post until I feel we’re done, and I’ll inform of each new update via my Facebook page.
So, ready? Let’s go!
DAY ONE: Zachy woke and went directly for the boob. I declined and explained that “Mummy’s milk has gone for now” and that he’d have to wait until later. He had a bit of a grumpy snuggle on my chest, but actually didn’t protest too much. My husband got us our morning cups of tea, and brought back some warm cow’s milk for Zachy. I’m not wholly keen on replacing my milk with cow’s milk – it just seems so illogical – but for the sake of weaning right now, I’m going to let it pass until I find an alternative.
DAY TWO: Oh lordy lordy, did we have the mother of all meltdowns this afternoon! Nothing, NOTHING, would satiate Zachy’s thirst for milk. He lay on the sofa screaming, batting our faces away until I am pretty sure he forgot what he was crying about. After a while we used the distraction technique and took him out for a ride of his trike – it worked, and he seemed to somewhat accept the oat milk I purchased today (he rejected almond milk and quinoa milk, but oat milk is actually quite yummy). And yes, I know, hippie Mummy – I just can’t help it sometimes.
Aside from that he was fine for the rest of the day, however, I have now come to fully understand the extent of his preference for the right boob. OH MY GOD BOULDER BOOB! I literally couldn’t wait until his bedtime so he could drain the beast. Ouch! Hopefully it’ll stop producing so much now that two feeds have been cut.
DAY THREE: We’ve had a good squeeze, play and pretend suckle (lol yeah, he does that) while watching cartoons this afternoon. He hasn’t seemed so bothered – no tears – which is brilliant! He went down easily at night with his yum yum feed, but woke about five mins after I left. I snuggled him back to sleep without boob, but his Mummy-presence sixth sense was at its height and he seemed to wake, grab me and say “no” each time I tried to get back to my episode of ‘Stranger Things’ (seriously, watch it – its very good, though I am developing a weird crush on Hopper – am I alone?)
DAY FOUR: Well, I am not entirely sure if this was a dream or not, but I vaguely recall pulling the little guy from the boob in the middle of the night. I had a t-shirt and bra on so it’s not like there was just an open bar there, but he has been known to find his way in to the goods before (he actually once sucked milk through my nightie when he was tiny!) Maybe I automatically put him there when he stirred. Maybe it was a complete dream. I really am not sure. Anyway, one thing is for sure – he wanted milk this morning, badly! I had no intention of giving it to him, that is until I made a selfie-blunder and he opened my top as I took the photo below! Oops! He was like a magnet latching on and there was nothing I could do…so, eek, I let him keep going. He was so happy and snuggled.
I felt like I broke my vow a little doing that, but we’ve been strong the rest of the day (in fact he hasn’t even asked for it!) Daddy is attempting bedtime right as I type this. I’ve no doubt that I’ll be in the bedroom within the next 10 minutes when our son realizes its not actually Daddy-playtime…
DAY FIVE: We had a slight grumble this morning at not being offered milk, though he was somewhat happy to satiate his thirst with water and slurps of my cuppa! Overall it’s been a very positive day with zero milk-induced tears. WIN!
DAY SIX: Hmmmm, well my alarm clock this morning was a certain toddler tugging at my top, squeezing my boobs and batting my face saying “Mama, wake up, bwizz” (bwizz being a mashup of his words for “booba” and “please”) I rolled and I groaned, but he was after the goods well and proper. This ended in me eventually leaving the bedroom to go make cups of tea while Zachy sat and had a story with his Daddy (distraction technique). The rest of the day (unrelated tantrums aside) went by easily.
He is having his evening feed while I type this, but is NOT GOING TO SLEEP! My magic sleep boob has seemingly lost its powers today – not good as I have wine and steak night waiting, but perhaps beneficial in that we’ll need to find an alternative sleep method soon anyway…no time like the present.
UPDATE: He rolled off the sleep boob, said “Finish bwizz” followed my “I see Daddy, no more Mummy”. Oh, ok then, that’s me told. He is now playing cars with his father while I salivate over the steak!
DAY SEVEN: The morning was the hardest today. He really wanted a comfort snuggle boobie. I tend to wake up so thirsty in the morning, craving my cup of tea, so I imagine milk is very similar for tots too. We eventually had to satiate his thirst with cow milk as he wouldn’t take water. He perked up hugely after that, but again I do question this logic when MY milk is actually designed for him. It’s hard.
The rest of the day was lovely – we went for a ride, saw some camels, made savory carrot and corn muffins, and had salmon steaks from the BBQ. It all seemed to do the trick as he was asleep within seconds on the boob at bedtime and slept right through!
DAY EIGHT: We had a breakthrough today in that Zachy didn’t ask for milk AT ALL – until I offered it to him at bedtime as part of our little routine. He has either learnt that he won’t get any (which makes me feel sad and guilty), or he doesn’t have the taste for it so much.
He went to sleep easily enough. I did. however, sleep without a bra on last night (got to have a bit of freedom – the bra in bed has been driving me a bit nuts) – he seemed to sense this freedom and accessibility and clambered onto me half asleep asking for some in the night. Luckily I had his water bottle close by, which he thirstily gulped before going back to sleep. I’ve wondered for a long time whether his night requests are actually thirst – he previously rejected water (probably because he knew he would get milk) – so this seems like a positive step! And that, yep, it is actually thirst.
DAY NINE: A really good day…until I went to put my bikini on in the afternoon and I heard the words “Ooooooohhh, booba!” before being launched at and wrestled! All very much to my husband’s amusement.
I was working late (laptop in bed oops) and I accidentally woke Zachy who then insisted I carry him to the bathroom while I went to the loo and brushed my teeth. I fed him back to sleep but the removal of comfort boob caused many tears. Thankfully he settled after about 10 mins and is still asleep now (it’s almost 8am) – bliss!
My husband captured this beautiful photo of us before he left for work this morning.
WEEK THREE: I realise that I have not done an update in a week or so, mainly because it has all been same-same. I would like to say that we are pretty much weaned – he has completely stopped asking for milk during the day, and if he does he says “booba later”. I do still give him one tiny nip at night for a couple of minutes – it helps to get him to sleep and is like his little reward at the end of the day. There is hardly anything there mindst, so it is definitely more for comfort. Night waking have stopped completely which is brilliant – he is definitely better rested for it, though alarmingly he has slipped three day-time naps this week which is a bit terrifying! We start nursery this Sunday (my baby is starting nursery – it’s only just hitting me after months of talking about it!!) so let’s see how this new routine goes for us all!