Four weeks ago, I weaned my 20-month-old. We have both had our share of tears over this ordeal. With my little miss, it was a much harder endeavor than it was with my first born. I had been planning to wean her, but kept moving the date back. We would have good, easy days and I would think I could nurse her for months more. Then if she didn’t feel good, was tired, was irritated or hungry ALL SHE WANTED was the boob. She would pull on me, throw tantrums if I told her “no,” and scream at me. After one particularly bad day of this, I WAS DONE. That was that, I couldn’t take it anymore. I needed my body back, at that point I had either been pregnant or breastfeeding for FOUR YEARS. It was time.
I had tried to cut out a feeding a day in the weeks and months leading up to “The Big Wean,” but it was never enough for her. She always wanted more. MORE. So I cut her off cold-turkey, which maybe wasn’t the smartest thing I have done as a mom.
In retrospect, I wish I would have done these three things differently:
1. I made the decision to quit nursing based on emotions.
Had I added a dose of logic to this decision, I could have made a better plan and perhaps not felt so guilty when she was really mad about it, because I would have had facts to back up my choice. The way I went about it made me feel extra selfish.
2. I didn’t seek out help.
I live pretty much in the middle of nowhere and breastfeeding groups are nonexistent, as far as I know and I know of no other person in this whole county who has breastfed beyond a year. Despite his best efforts, my husband was no substitute for a group of supportive women going through the same thing. I could have traveled to find a group or at the very least found an online support group.
3. I didn’t give my little one a boob replacement.
This may be contrary to professional advice, but like I said, I didn’t consult an expert. I wish I would have gotten little Miss used to a bottle or pacifier months before weaning. She wasn’t finding comfort in anything but me. This was very stressful for both of us.
I have received this solid piece of advice about breastfeeding: “only continue as long as it is working for both mom and baby.” It was hard to be the one in the relationship it was no longer working for, but I could have made it easier on myself if I had done these few things differently.
Current update: It has been seven weeks and she still asks for the boob every day. Most of the time I can distract her with something else and move along. I have always said that breastfeeding is the hardest thing I have ever done and weaning this sweet babe has only added weight.