My first baby “weaned” herself – she just lost interest. But, with my second child it’s been different. Weaning is a touchy subject. How long should you nurse? Should you wean at all? It’s a highly personal decision that others should stay out of, in my opinion.
I decided last week to wean my little boy, who’s now 14 months old. He has been biting when nursing and he doesn’t show any signs of losing interest. I’m ready to stop nursing. Before we weaned Liam was nursing twice a day: once before bed and once at about 6 am in the morning. I was hoping that a weaned baby might mean more sleep for everyone.
Day 1: It’s bedtime and time for Liam’s feeding. Instead of nursing him, I let Daddy do the entire bedtime routine. Liam went to sleep without a fuss and slept a little better than normal, waking at 7 am for a solid food breakfast. I leaked all night and woke up a bit engorged. As the day goes on, I leak like crazy and things get pretty uncomfortable.
Day 2: This is the WORST day! I’m completely swollen and still leaking like a drippy faucet. Where are my nursing pads? (Stock up on nursing pads before weaning!) I resort to using thin cotton socks. It’s sad, but true. My breasts look like they are filled with lumpy rocks. They feal like it too. I am in constant pain even sitting still or lying down. Is this what it feels like post-partum if you don’t nurse? I wonder if my boobs might fall off…
Day 3: I realize I should get cabbage leaves or something to help with the pain, but I’m too lazy and busy! At least I have real nursing pads now. The leaking is slowing down, but the engorgement is still serious business. Fortunately, I am no longer in constant pain. Holding Liam or allowing anything to touch my chest is very painful.
Day 4: We are over the worst! Although my breasts are still very swollen, I believe that the swelling is starting to very, very gradually subside. I am tempted to pump, but I know that will only stimulate more milk production. I realize by the end of the day that I am no longer leaking.
Day 5: Wait a minute, how long is this going to take? Liam adjusted to weaning surprisingly well. He “asked” to nurse a couple of times on day 2 and 3, but was pretty easily distracted by games or other food. He’s sleeping until 7 or 7:30 each morning, with only a few nighttime wakings requiring little comforting (which is Dad’s job – yah!!!) to go back to sleep. My boobs, on the other hand, seem unaware that we really don’t need that milk anymore. I’m still lumpy and engorged.
Day 6: Some random leaks spring here and there. Very odd. However, things are definitely settling down and slowly going back to normal. I have wonderful news: Liam slept through the night last night from 7 pm to 7:30 am with no need whatsoever for parent interaction. Woohoo!!!!
I have been told that it can take up to two weeks for your breasts to go back to normal after weaning. I didn’t experience this at all with my first baby, because the process was so gradual. It’s nice to have my body back to myself, and even nicer that someone else can put Liam to sleep at night without my help. Now that Liam’s not breastfeeding, I’m making an extra effort to offer him lots of whole milk and cuddles. He’s growing up!