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How to wean from breastfeeding

FB_Breastfeeding When it comes to the tips on how to wean from breastfeeding, every lactating mother has an interesting experience to tell you. For mother that returns to work outside of home, breast milk is usually fed in bottle, thus things get easier to wean a child because there is less attachment on the boobs. For a stay-at-mom who nurses her child directly, there might be a lots of drama, meltdown and things can get quite complicated particularly in the event of mother led weaning.

And here is my story...

If you were to ask me how to wean from breastfeeding to bottle or formula, we never reach there. When Austin was a few months old, he was given breast milk in bottle so that I could get some rest while the others were attending to him. Strangely, he started to retaliate, rejected bottle when he was 3 month-old, though he was fed this way twice to thrice in a day.

So, I decided to breastfeed directly. Day and night, every feeding. At night however, I still sneaked out to pump, collecting an extra of 10 to 12 ounces. Seeing the bullish trend of my 'collection' boosted my confidence that I could provide adequate breast milk for my child. To think about it now, I was kind of silly! Austin didn't want bottle anymore and I still refused to wean from pumping! I was hoping and wishing that one day he might change. He may want to take breast milk from bottle again, then finish up all the packed and frozen breast milk in our refrigerator. Just in case, you know, in case!

When Austin reached 6 month-old, his Daddy went for an overseas assignment. Being away meant I was left with no one to help me at night. So I told myself, I was not going to pump anymore. After the last cleansing of the machine, bottles and sterilizer, those stuff were packed and shelved. Moreover, Austin was ready for solid and breast milk was no longer the only food. Even the worst were to happen, I could thaw the frozen breast milk. Remember, our freezer compartment was solely dedicated to breast milk and nothing else!

With solid on his way, Austin was still up for boobs around 5 to 7 times a day when he was 6-10 months old. Each nursing session took shorter, around 5-10 minutes for one side. I was kind of enjoying the intimate moments and I could breastfeed him anywhere, anytime. I truly enjoyed the convenience.

After Austin turned a year old, I seriously searched for tips on how to stop breastfeeding because we wanted another child. At the same time, Austin started to toddle at which we thought he might forget the boobs. Alas, he was not. In fact, he was pretty much very attached, started to self-service. I went on, applying the rule of 'never offer, never refuse'. If he comes for boobs, I give in but never initiate. At 14 month-old, Austin was still nursed outside home, up to 4/5 times a day pretty consistently. When he turned 18 month-old, we sent him to play school, thus it helped to drop the morning nursing, tapered down to 3 sessions - afternoon, evening and dawn, pretty much only at home. Whenever we were out, he got distracted and totally forgot about boobies. I knew that my breast milk supply wasn't much but Austin still wanted, more like an attachment or a sense of security kind.

How to wean from breastfeeding at night

One day, we decided to replace his evening nursing with a bowl of snacks. Hey..he could go to bed without needing to suck anymore. Distracting him with an extra solid feeding seemed to drop the evening session. Great! Next was the after midnight tension. Co-sleeping with your child was great for nursing mom but this also made breastfeeding at night the toughest and the last to go. At first I tried to put on a button up high pajamas, sleeping on my tummy so that Austin would not have access to the boobs. Being unhappy, he pulled off my jammies, scratched my body or rubbed his on mine, giving me a hard time to sleep well at night. So, I decided to move to other room. Of course, I get my sleep. But by 5 o'clock in the morning, he would bang his bedroom door, calling for me! At 2 year-old, Austin consistently insisted for boobs at dawn so that he could suck and back to his sleep until the sun was out.

After he turned 25 month-old, I had almost given up to wean from breastfeeding. Folks around were telling me, the older he is, the tougher it would be to wean. Yes, power struggle and independence come in. To be a bit unusual, I decided to put on bra on one evening. When he came to me, searching for boobs, I told Austin, 'Milk is finished, no more, boobs are empty!" while shaking my hands. To our surprise, he understood and look sympathetic. Thanks to my pathetic expression. Although he looked a little disappointed walking away, he didn't fuss neither get cranky. After that evening, he never ask for boobs anymore at dawn. So did the day after, and the week after..and I guess reasoning somehow works for us on how to wean toddler from breastfeeding.

How to wean a breastfed baby is never simple. It took me a year from the beginning of my first thought. When Austin started to talk, he also listens and perhaps this made the weaning process a lot easier than what I had imagined.

Aiming to breastfeed for only a year, I had never thought I could nurse Austin for 25 months!! The breastfeeding years are certainly an accomplishment that makes me equally happy to let go without any guilt neither any physical pain.


 

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