Thursday, April 3, 2014

Weaning Advice Needed

So, my friend B asked me for weaning advice, and I am ill equipped to answer her questions since my kids could not get off the boob fast enough. 

If I remember correctly, Adriana started eating cereal at 4 months and I was supplementing with formula soon after, and Lucia started eating cereal at 6 months, but I think I might have supplemented with formula around 4 months with her too.  Adriana loved purees and thought those Gerber squeezy pouches were the best snack ever until she was almost 3, but Lucy never really liked them and always preferred table food (and lots of it).  Both girls had HUGE appetites from day one, and my boobs never really cut it once I went back to work at 4 months.  As soon as I started pumping, my supply tanked, and by 8 months both girls were done.  Plus it was heartbreaking to pump all day and not even have an ounce to show for it, so I was pretty done too. 

It was kind of a natural exit with Adriana; I was COMMITTED to making it a year and tried really hard, but she had no interest in them once they weren't making enough to satisfy her.  She'd want to play or bite or look around, basically anything except nurse.  I probably could have stretched Lucy out another few weeks, but we had hearings coming up and I was going to be away from home, only seeing the girls on the weekend.  I didn't want to be tied to a pump when I was traveling, so I think I quit pretty close to cold turkey.  She totally didn't miss it, she loved her bottle.   

My friend's daughter is 14 months and not showing any sign of stopping.  You know how you feel when your kid isn't sleeping through the night and you feel like it will never, ever end?  I think that's how she feels about breastfeeding.  She is ready to be done, and doesn't know the best way to go about weaning. 

If you weaned your kids after a year, please let us know how you did it.  Any advice is appreciated!!


Ginger said...

I don't remember exactly the details of weaning, but I do know I nursed in some capacity until J was about 18 months or so? By that time, he was really just doing two nursing sessions, one when he woke up, and one before bed.I basically did all of my weaning the same way--slowly, and one session at a time. I don't know if your friend is still nursing all day or at night, but I would say that dropping the day ones first is easiest, because it's easiest to find a food substitute--milk, pouches, table food, etc. Anyway, what I remember doing was starting by not offering whatever session I was planning on dropping. If he wanted to, we would, but if he didn't "ask" then we wouldn't. The morning one was fairly easy because I could have my husband get him a cup of milk while I got in the shower, or take him up to the kitchen, so there was an "easy" separation. After a week or so, I'd start actively saying no, even if he asked. That took a little bit longer for J to get, but even still he weaned fairly easy that way--he was so busy, it was pretty easy to distract him with something else.

The night one was harder, because that was our special quiet time, but I basically did it the same way, but with the difference being that I tried to find another ritual type thing to add into the bedtime routine to replace that one. Something quiet and soothing that WASN'T nursing ( I think we did a special song and rocking with just me after all the rest of the nighttime stuff). We never gave J a bottle at bed, but I know some people who use that to help wean.
One thing I will caution your friend--there can be a really wicked hormone hit when you wean. Even doing it slowly, like I did, it hit me pretty hard. For a while. Just something to look out for.

Erin said...

We weaned at exactly 14 months! At that point we were down to probably only one session in the morning and one at night. He was pretty content to drink from a sippy cup (which he was doing at school anyway after 1 year. Though I think we started the sippy cups with water around 10 months?)

Anyway, this is probably not SUPER helpful, but if it is possible to plan weaning around this, it worked beautifully for us: we went on vacation. We left town for I think 10 days (4 of which were driving days one way and back.) The TOTAL shake-up of our normal routine is what did it. He was so distracted by the fact that we completely broke free of our regular routine (and we are SUPER by-the-routine people, and he especially is a creature of habit) that I don't think he even had time to miss it. And then when we got home, we just carried on without it and he never asked for it or acted like he knew we had stopped.

So obviously I'm not suggesting that you plan a "weaning vacation" or anything ridiculous like that, but if you already have a trip planned, it might be a good time to try it. Or if you have some way of breaking up the normal routine, it might be enough of a distraction. Like, here, the weather is starting to warm up, so maybe around the time you would nurse, go to the park or play outside and maybe she will forget about it in the midst of having fun.

phancymama said...

How much is she still nursing? We dropped the evening nursing first, mostly because by 11 months I was just done being touched by 7pm. Then we dropped one at a time and the last drop was the morning one at 2 years. Husband just got up with her one morning and that was that. There's a phrase somewhere that's like don't offer but if they ask let them nurse.
I seem to recall that weaning at this age is better done slowly, which might be tough if your friend is itching to be done. Is there anything that would alleviate some of that feeling? It was so freeing to me to drop the night nursing and I honestly think that gave me a renewed patience for the rest of it.
Oh, it also helps to make the boobs less accessible. Higher neck shirts, bras on, etc. my kiddo was an opportunist and if she saw bare breast she was ready to eat. If they were hidden away, out of sight out of mind.
The Leaky Boob is a great web page and FB page resource. Also Swistle has at least one post on the weaning hormones, which are indeed a doozy. Wishing her luck.

Jessica said...

I also weaned by leaving town. Paul was 18 months and down to nursing a couple times a day. My milk was practically gone, so I didn't have to do anything but stop. I think I was away for four days and when I came back I never offered again. I think he asked once and that was it.