The decision to wean your child is a very personal one. It effects many different aspects of your life. But it does not break the bond between Mother and child, mine still cries for me despite the fact that her milk now comes from a bottle. I can kiss her little head while she is drinking her milk now, something that is not easy to do when nursing. It is much messier, however, and needing a cloth under her chin while drinking these bottles makes her as much crazy as me! But it needed to be done. For all our sakes.
As I approached and exceeded 8 months of getting 2 – 3 hours of sleep a night due to a nursing baby every 2 hours, I finally gave in to the feeling that it was time to wean our little one. This is such a bittersweet thing to do. I immensely enjoyed nursing both our girls and was extremely happy I was able to do so. I never had any issues while nursing our latest edition and I even contemplated going longer with her than I had with the first. It just wasn’t meant to be.
The first few days I only gave her bottles during the day, to see if she would make a big fuss or not. She was still up all night long for the comfort of Mama. The first night she had a bottle after her bath I got a little nervous, she was so wide awake I thought she would never fall asleep! But a few minutes of her fussing a bit in her crib, she was out. She woke up at 12:30 or 1:30am and I nursed her (which at this point was at least 8 oz with how engorged I was!) which of course put her right back to sleep. Except that 2 hours later, there she was again wailing and complaining. The next night I decided to give her a bottle instead. She slept right through her “normal” feeding! It was a nice, solid, five hour stretch. This was something that has not happened I don’t think ever!
I know, I never should have been nursing her to sleep in the first place. It didn’t start out that way I assure you. If you have ever tried to wake a newborn while nursing, you know all the tricks they give you don’t always work! I attempted to remedy this with the ‘Baby Whisperer’ E.A.S.Y. method which worked for a bit, but even through this she was still up – screaming – every two hours at night after her initial long stretch once putting her down. I gave her cereal before bed, changed diapers, walked her, didn’t walk her, kept her in the crib rubbing her back, let her cry a bit before going in to soothe her again. Nothing was working. I asked her doctor about it, at each of her appointments worried that maybe I wasn’t producing enough milk or maybe not good enough milk to sustain her for longer periods. She only told me that it was my child’s temperament and that I had to persevere through the crying and just not feed her. Her weight certainly attested to the fact that my milk was enough for her to live on and she was always the happiest baby no matter what during the day – no colic or digestion problems here.
So, for the past five days at least, I have been EXTREMELY uncomfortable (cabbage leaves in the bra, pumping once a day to relieve the pressure) but things have been going very well. I am amazed at how easily this child adapts to different situations and how she has very rarely fussed over being given a bottle instead of me. Perhaps she’ll need therapy later for the “trauma” of being denied the breast, but for now her successes since the weaning are a testament to the fact it was time.
She can now put herself back to sleep without us needing to get out of bed and pick her up. She is sleeping better through the night and has even been put back to sleep without a bottle several times. She is enjoying more intimate time with other members of her family, Daddy, Grandma and others will soon follow I am sure.
This is a sad thing for me mainly because this is most likely our last child to be nursed. I do miss the closeness and the special feeling that only I could do this for my child. However, you have to wean your child at some point and for us this was the moment. She was only two weeks earlier than her sister (and she was weaned after she bit me with her new teeth!) and I am proud that we were able to make it past the 6 months they say is most beneficial. The benefits have certainly outweighed any physical or emotional drawbacks I have been feeling so far!