I tried to wean my little one since he turned 15 months but met no success.(He’s 20 months now). I would always cave into night nursing because, well, I had discovered a nursing-while-sleeping-position, and SLEEEEEEEP is just tooooooo precious. But the backaches in the morning had me kicking myself in the shins. Every night I would go to sleep with the resolve that I need to quit, and every day I would google articles about how to quit. I guess a part of me felt guilty about it too. What I learnt during the process:
Give your baby one bottle a day since the very beginning
No matter what anyone says, a few ounces of formula a day never hurt anyone. I can’t imagine a few ounces would mess up anyone’s supply. Please remember: advice from lactivists is NOT greater than your own instinct. In the end the only thing that matters is your and the baby’s comfort and the relationship you two share. Nothing else. A resentful breastfeeding mom is no way better than a happy, well-rested mother who occasionally formula feeds.
It’s not the end of the world
I have lost count of the number of people who told me that weaning is a VERY difficult time for the mother and the child. Especially the child. There are tons and tons of tears on both sides and ‘you should be ready/prepared’. Honestly, this premonition is really debilitating for someone who is already trying to muster the courage to go ahead. Your attitude should be, “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn!” (in the words of one Rhett Butler). Every baby is different. There are no standard reactions. I have come to realize that the only thing babies truly lack is predictability. So please, all you breastfeeding ninjas, quit scaring moms who are ready to wean.
Coffee is the holy grail
I tried rubbing lemon juice on myself and he lapped it all up. Then I tried coffee paste. He made a bad face and cried. I shoved the bottle into his mouth. A few soiled t-shirts and bedsheets later… success!
Engorgement may happen a week later
So I was told the first few days would be the most difficult. That wasn’t the case for me. I slathered coffee paste all over myself and from thereon it was adios. Day one was a little uncomfortable, day two and three, I was back to my pre-breastfeeding self. Fourth, fifth, sixth day happened and I felt a huge sense of achievement. Day seven painful engorgement hit me big time. I manually expressed a little bit during a hot shower, popped a couple of Tylenols and had about three black coffees a day. I was good to go!
Milk intake fluctuates from day to day
After successful induction on the bottle, there are days my toddler guzzles down about 8 ounces (of cow’s milk) and some days he flings the bottle across the room. So don’t worry if your baby is not finishing all the bottled milk in the first go. Perseverance will take you far.
Nothing but love
To really love your child, you need to love yourself first. Be kind to yourself. We are human and we all make many mistakes raising our children. No one has everything down pat. Also, every situation is different; follow your heart and do what seems best at the time. I was scared shitless. But it all ended just fine. I didn’t breastfeed to the point of resentment and my baby doesn’t hate me. Our relationship hasn’t changed since the weaning. There are loads of cuddles throughout the day, there always were.
In all these months, nothing rings truer than, ‘The days are long but the years are short’. Love deeply and often – your baby should feel like a rockstar. Cuz that’s all that matters.