First and foremost, I want to praise the Lord for the opportunity to nurse Jase. I had major anxiety about it right before he was born because I know some women cannot breastfeed. I am thankful for God’s faithfulness in hearing that desire of my heart and for his provision in answering that prayer for us. It was not easy, but I knew to count it all as a blessing even through the tough times. (And there were DEFINITELY some doozies!) Praying to be able to successfully nurse future children, Lord willing.
After reading a good bit about the benefits of nursing, my initial goal was a year. I wasn’t quite ready to stop yet right at a year and prayed about when we should start the weaning process. Wednesday, July 9 was our last day nursing. Jase was 14 months old.
I planned to stop a little before then, but God had different plans. Poor Baby Jase busted his lip pretty good, so I decided to keep nursing because I know it’s comforting to him, and also because breast milk has healing properties. Thankfully it healed fast, but y’all, it was so awful. I know he is a little boy and is going to have boo boos sometimes so I tried not to overreact, but I cried & cried, prayed a TON, sent pictures to all my pedi nurse friends for advice, called my mom and the doctor, and almost took him to the ER. Legit MELTDOWN mode over here.
At that point he was still nursing briefly for 3 (sometimes four) times a day for very short periods of time. Like I said, I prayed that God would reveal to me the perfect time to start nursing, and I truly felt like this was it for a couple reasons. One of those reasons was that we had a few upcoming trips planned (Indiana & Chicago), and I wanted to be done nursing by the time we left in mid-July. We have traveled a good bit throughout Jase’s first year, and we always just brought him along so I could nurse him. (Plus, I do not really like to be away from my baby! I know they need their mommies. I do know it’s good for him to have some time with others though too since Jonathan & I are both home with him all day every day. It’s important to us for him to spend time with other family members.) He went to Amelia Island, Destin, Texas (twice), New York City/New Jersey, & Hilton Head with us (little world traveler!) and did fantastic. He has such an easy going personality, and it was so much easier to have him there with me so I could feed him. Prior to our overnight trips to IN & Chicago in July, the only two times he stayed home with Grammy (away from us) were Cabo & Nola. Obviously I pumped on those two trips, and it was such a pain. I hate pumping anyway, but there is just something about sitting on a toilet in the bathroom stall of the airport, or even worse, in the bathroom on an airplane, PUMPING. It’s not the worst experience of my life by any means, but I’m just sayin…I can think of some other things I’d rather be doing. I pumped and dumped in Mexico because I didn’t trust the water to clean the bottles out, but I brought the milk from Nola back home. (Again, I tried to not complain and be thankful I was able to nurse for so long.) Now that he is 14 months and eating SO WELL (HIGHLY recommend Baby Led Weaning- child eats super healthy, feeds himself, and will eat pretty much anything we give him, which is whatever we eat), I really felt comfortable with him having regular milk & solids.
Milk Transition:I started giving Jase a sippy of organic whole milk or almond milk here and there right around 12 months to make sure he wouldn’t have a reaction and that he would drink it. At first I would warm it up a little and give it to him out of a bottle because I thought that would be an easier transition. He would drink a little but didn’t seem to love it, so I kinda held off with the milk for another month before introducing it again. This time around 13 months, he did great with the sippy and really liked the milk. Thank the Lord, no reactions. I didn’t have to heat it up this time, and although my mom and Jon both tried a time or two to give him a bottle, I asked them not to do that anymore since he didn’t really need it. (Didn’t want to create another step in the weaning process if he was fine with the sippy.) He drinks mostly water anyway and LOVES it. (Personally I am NOT a fan of juice- but if you do give it to your kiddos, I encourage you to choose organic brands and dilute it. Juices typically have a TON of sugar and it’s not great for their teeth, which are prone to decay at their little age.) We give him milk twice a day with a snack, and he doesn’t usually finish a whole sippy. We mix it up between organic whole milk & almond milk. Our pediatrician said organic dairy is pretty much a non-negotiable if you can afford it, but even then you still want to pick the best. Check this out about milk quality my friend Dana shared with me.
Again, he eats a super healthy, balanced diet and gets plenty of calcium in yogurt and his other foods throughout the day, so I feel confident with what we are doing now. I know every child is different. Their habits, their weaning process, their emotional attachment, their diet, and their tummy’s ability to handle milk, so definitely talk with your pediatrician. This is just our unique experience.
Weaning: I didn’t really do a whole lot of ‘weaning’ per se. Our feedings were gradually becoming shorter and when I would pump, I would only get around 3 oz. or so. I had a feeling the weaning process would go pretty smooth because he is so laid back & has such an easy going personality. So far, every transition has been pretty easy with him, so I didn’t think this would be much different. He was definitely extra cuddly and especially wanted lots of extra lovin & snuggles in the morning and before bed. No complaining from this mama! I soaked it up!! He started letting me hold him “like a baby” (the same position he would nurse in) and he would suck his thumb while I held him. SO stinkin SWEET! He tried pulling my shirt down a few times, but I would pull his hand away and redirect him. Most people cut back on one feeding a day for a few days or weeks to gradually wean them, and start offering milk in a sippy at mealtimes instead. He was already eating 3 solid meals, snacks, and drinking milk during the day, so the breastfeeding was more of a comfort/cuddly thing at this point for us. (And of course the liquid gold provides a ton of benefits for mom & baby!)
It wasn’t a super painful or uncomfortable experience for me either. I did wear one or two sports bras a few days, which I typically do anyway when I work out. I will say it definitely took longer than I expected to dry up. I could feel the milk ducts filling up and I was definitely pretty lumpy for several days….weeks actually…especially in the mornings. But again, it wasn’t miserable. There were a few nights I had to sleep on my back instead of my tummy, but it wasn’t a huge deal. It took about 12-14 days total for the milk to completely dry up. I’ve heard of women using cabbage in their bra to help with discomfort, but for me it wasn’t painful at all. (Now in the beginning stages of nursing, on the other hand, that pain was a different story!)
Here are a few other posts about nursing: