Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Weaning: The when and the how

I have no idea how to wean my baby from the boob.

I know it’s not mandatory to do at any specific point and time. And I know that the longer you breastfeed, the more health benefits for the baby. But I’m ready. Anna’s going to be a year on Friday. It’s time for us.

I’ve given her whole milk in a bottle twice a day for the past few days and she loves it. But she still grabs at my shirt and tries to motorboat my chest… which is my daughter’s classy way of saying “I’d still like Mama’s milk thank you very much”.

So I nurse her first thing in the morning, before bed and once in the middle of the night. And I’m not quite sure how to stop this whole process without Anna freaking out on me and without my boobs leaking all over the place.

It’s kind of like anything you try to quit, isn’t it? Do I go cold turkey? Do I just deal with Anna’s wrath? Do I start giving her milk in a bottle before bed… or could she just have water? Or nothing?

So many questions about my boobs.

I don’t know. What has your experience been? How did you wean?

Help a Mama out, yo.


  1. I gave K whole milk for about two months before I fully weaned. I started with just one bottle, and graduated to whole milk during the day and nursing at night and in the morning. That helped to get my body used to not nursing and therefore helped to ease the giant leaky boob problem. Then I started giving her a bottle of water at night while I was reading her stories. So, she got used to not eating before bed. The final step happened when I had to go away for work...I was gone for a week so she just got used to getting up in the morning and getting a bottle of milk from daddy. But you could duplicate the scenario by having your hubby get up with her in the mornings for a week or so. Now, she goes to sleep without a bottle. She still uses a pacifier at night but I am not too worried about it!

  2. Thanks Colleen!! What did K think of the water at first? Was she okay with it - or was she mad it wasn't milk?

  3. First of all, there just comes a time when you want your body back, non? I mean, you want the best for your children, no doubt, but it is completely your decision when you want to stop nursing.

    As for us, when it came time to wean Luka from the boob, it kind of just happened. I guess both of us were ready. When I went back to work, I tried to nurse him in the morning and night but the morning one became too rushed as I needed to get him dressed, to daycare and then myself to the Go Train. So, that was the next feed to go. Then there were a few nights in a row where I had after work plans. Nursing just stopped and he didn't seem to bothered by it.

    I agree with the post above - maybe have Anna's daddy take over a few of the daily feeds to help her get used to not nursing on you.

    Hope you are enjoying the 1/2 marathon clinic. I am certainly missing the group runs.

  4. This is a great post Heather. I'm not sure either. But I agree with above. Olivia now only nurses at night and in the middle of the night once. I don't nurse her to sleep anymore either. And I just noticed recently that she doesn't nurse before we head out the door to work and daycare.

    So personally - I'm hoping she just weans herself. I'm ok a bit longer.

  5. I had Nate down to one feed before bed from about 11-12 months to 15 (and only that long as I didn't want too much adjustment between weaning and starting his new daycare - if I had of been at home full time he would have been completely weaned at 11-12 months).

    Once I decided the last feed had to go, I had Char put him to bed for about 2 weeks. He didn't like it at first, but I was able to put him down after that without him asking to nurse. I just dropped a feed every few days to a week and it was so gradual that I didn't leak. There were a few times he asked I just distracted him with something else so no upset.

  6. At 14 months, Olivia still gets one boob feed, when she first wakes up. I don't mind keeping it up for however long it does. She usually goes back to sleep right after, so it gives me an extra 1/2 hour to an hour of sleep in the morning :)

    To be honest, I can't say that we actively weaned her. Over time, she just decided she liked the bottle better. I exclusively breastfed for maybe the first 6 months, then started supplementing her bedtime feed with a bottle of formula, which we found let her sleep longer. We switched to whole milk at around 9-10months, which she loves.

    By the time I went back to work, she was down to just the morning & bedtime boob. Then she started refusing the bedtime boob. So now, she gets milk, either from a bottle or a sippy cup, before each nap & before bedtime, plus the early morning boob.

    So, uh, yeah, I guess I don't really know what advice to give you. Maybe try give her milk from a bottle after her bedtime boob. You might find that she stops getting up in the middle of the night.

  7. Thanks everyone! It definitely helps to hear about the things you've been doing.

    Rosie - I love that you said "I guess I don't really know what advice to give you"... because I find that just hearing your story (and other Mom stories) is exactly what I need to realize that I'm doing just fine and I'll figure things out one of these days.

    And I definitely think hearing all your stories could potentially help other Moms who read this, too. So keep the comments coming ladies! :)

  8. Andrew (my lovely husband) was just testing out the commenting function for me. He's really not *that* guy. :)

  9. more thing. When you do stop breastfeeding, your boobs shrink. I knew that might happen, but I didn't realize the extent of the shrinkage. I have always been pretty "well endowed" and now I don't know what to do! I guess I need to take a trip to La Senza. And lose more weight since now that my boobs are smaller, my boob-to-belly ratio has decreased. Good thing Kailyn is cute cause she did a number on my body!

  10. Colleen - that's a perfect segue into tomorrow's post! How did you know?? :) Also - dammit. I just bought myself a gorgeous new bra and it fits perfectly. Perhaps I won't wean Anna just yet... :P

  11. Saw your site through the pregnant chicken and came upon this post. Just weaned about a month (or two) ago and wrote the post below. Hope it's a little helpful. Looking forward to checking out your blog!