Weaning From Breastfeeding

I went back and forth as to whether I wanted to do my usual “Thursday Thoughts” or chat about our experience with weaning today. I’ve received lots of questions lately about how nursing is going, if we are still doing it, and so on and so forth, so I figured it was as good a time as any to share. Hopefully our experience will help some of you out there. If you’re not really into this mommy talk stuff, I totally get it! I’ll see ya tomorrow. Winking smile

So here we are, 13.5 months after Hunter was born, and as of a week ago, we have officially weaned from breastfeeding.

cutehunter

We had some major breastfeeding struggles in the beginning. I told myself I’d be happy if we made it to 3 months. And then we reached that point, and I told myself I’d be happy if we made it to 6 months. At 6 months, Hunter was a total champ at breastfeeding, and I was pretty confident we’d have no problem making it to the full year mark.

Hunter turned one at the end of March, and we were still doing four nursing sessions per day – one when he woke up in the morning, one after his morning nap, one after his afternoon nap, and one before bed. He started showing some disinterest in his midday feedings, so I randomly decided to nix one right around his first birthday. We stayed there for a week or so, and then I cut out the second midday feeding. If we wouldn’t have been in the midst of moving at the time, I probably would’ve cut out another feeding sooner, but I didn’t want to change too many things up on him all at once.

Giving up the two midday feedings weren’t really a challenge at all. I substituted the nursing session by offering him (cow’s) milk and a snack, and he seemed to do just fine with it. I was a little concerned that he didn’t seem very interested in the cow’s milk at first, but then I learned that he would take it better if I warmed it up for a few seconds.

After 2-3 weeks of only the morning and bedtime feedings, I decided to do away with the morning one. The decision actually came on very randomly. It was a morning that we were rushed and trying to get out the door for church. I thought, “Hey, what the heck, let’s give it a shot without nursing and see how he does.” Sure enough, he did just fine. The main adjustment with taking away the morning nursing session was that I had to feed him breakfast and give him a sippy cup of milk pretty much right when he woke up. When I was nursing him in the morning, we’d nurse, wait about an hour, and then eat breakfast. I actually like doing breakfast right away so we can get out the door faster if need be.

I held on to that last bedtime nursing session for awhile. It was my favorite one because he was cuddly and practically fall asleep in my arms. I knew letting it go would be difficult for both of us.

Capture

Early last week, I finally decided it was time. We did our normal bedtime routine – bath, book, prayers, but instead of nursing him, I just snuggled with him. I laid him down, and he cried for about 10-15 minutes. The crying was unusual for bedtime. He usually rolls right over and goes to sleep without a peep. It was really hard to hear him cry knowing it was because he wanted to nurse. I was second guessing my decision and wondering if I should hold onto breastfeeding for just a little longer. But then the crying started to decrease, and he eventually fell asleep. The second night, he cried again, but it was only for about 5 minutes. The third night, he went down with no crying at all. And the fourth night, Cody put him to bed, and he didn’t cry at all.

Since then, he’s done great and I’ve surprisingly been doing great with it too. I still get in my nightly snuggles, so I think that has helped make the transition a little easier for me.

I’m sure some of you are wondering why I decided to wean Hunter when I did. The answer? Primarily because I’m going out of town over the first weekend of June (for BLEND!), and I don’t want to be pumping while I’m there. I also just knew it was time for us to be done with it .As much as I loved those nursing sessions (especially the nighttime one), I was ready to have my freedom. It’s a personal decision that I feel good about. And I’m so proud of us for making it as long as we did.

For those of you wondering how we’re working the cow’s milk into his diet, here’s what our current routine looks like:

  • 8:00 AM (wake up for the day) – breakfast + ~2-3 oz. cow’s milk in a sippy cup
  • 12:00 PM (right after first nap) – bottle of 4-6 oz. cow’s milk
  • 12:15 PM – lunch
  • 5:00 PM – bottle of ~4 oz. cow’s milk + snack
  • 6:30 PM – dinner

Capture

(FYI: He eats plenty of yogurt and cheese too. The kid loves his dairy.)

As you can see from our schedule above, we’re using a bottle a couple times throughout the day after his naps to get him the cow’s milk. He does great with a sippy cup, but he gets distracted really easily so the bottle is a nice way to ensure he’s getting enough, and it also helps him ease into playing after his naps. I hold him while he drinks his bottle, so it’s nice to cuddle with him for a few minutes before he’s off playing again. Eventually we’ll sub out the bottle for a sippy cup all the time, but for now, it’s working fine.

image

Also, for those of you asking about Hunter updates, I’m going to do one every time he has a doctor’s appointment, so it’ll be more like every 3(ish) months rather than every month. He has a 15 month appointment at the end of June, so you’ll get an update then! Smile

Have a super Thursday! I’ll see ya tomorrow!

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Comments

  1. says

    Thank you for posting this. I just posted a similar post on Monday, but I was asking for advice on weaning. For some reason, I can’t jump the gun yet. I think it’s because Aiden is still waking once a night for milk. If I weaned him, he would probably stop though I guess. What kind of bottles do you use?

    • Ashley says

      I’m glad it was helpful for you. Feel free to email me with anymore questions. :) We use Playtex bottles.

  2. says

    I remember weaning my son like it was yesterday (he is 10 now)…I never thought it would happen yet at the same time, I didn’t force it. I just knew it would sort of happen naturally with a slight push from me to move us on to sippy cups instead. I gradually switched over the day time feedings to snacks/cups/other activities leaving just the one before bed. At almost the 16 month mark, I just knew were done. He had a full mouth of teeth and my supply was completely dwindling. I remember releasing his mouth one night and never looking back. The next two nights my husband and I were out for dinner so my parents were there to put my son to bed. Once we had those two nights down, I knew not to revert back. It worked pretty well for us. My son never loved milk, even when I added a hint of chocolate to the cup but he did drink some of it, eat his other dairy products and thrive just the same. Amazing memories.

  3. says

    Congrats on a HUGE step!! You handled that change so incredibly well! I was a mess during weaning. You’re going to LOVE having your body all to yourself again! :)

  4. says

    This post will come in handy for me one day. Did you have any issues, hormonally (mood, sadness, etc.) weaning him? Or since you did it gradually, did you not notice much of anything?

    • Ashley says

      Good question! I should’ve mentioned that. My mood was totally fine. Every once in awhile I get a little emotional seeing him grow up, but I don’t think it went hand in hand with breastfeeding. I was doing that before I was done nursing. Ha! I did find myself to be a lot more tired as I was dropping nursing sessions. I noticed that in myself several months ago when I first dropped a couple sessions though so I wasn’t surprised by it. I also got a couple clogged ducts throughout the whole thing, but it was nothing some massage and hand expression couldn’t fix. I think doing it gradually definitely help my body and emotions adapt and ease into it though! :)

  5. says

    You did a wonderful job sharing about how you did it and why. I am proud of you guys too! Way to do what is best for you & Hunter :)

    I hope to go as long as possible nursing, so I hope to follow her lead when she is done nursing, but we shall see!

    YAY FOR TOMORROW BEING MOVING DAY!!!!

  6. says

    Thank you for this post! I enjoyed reading it as I will be weaning soon too. Also, I was very interested to read about how you now put Hunter down to bed without the boob. I’ve been very worried about how we will do that lately and makes complete sense with how you do it now. You are such a wonderful Mommy :) xoxo

  7. says

    Thanks for this post, it will be helpful come weaning time here. If all goes well we will continue bf’ing full time till 9-10 months then wean down to just morning and evening feed before I go back to work. I am not sure I will miss it right now but when the time comes I might feel different!

  8. Katie says

    Way to go Mama!!!!! :) So happy for you & so glad you had such a great experience. I can’t believe how grown up Hunter is getting (I know I say that a lot) hehehe Good luck moving! xoxo sending lots of hugs!

  9. says

    It’s definitely very interesting to hear other stories about weaning! I’m so wish-washy with my own situation. When I was pregnant and then started breastfeeding, I thought 6 months sounded forever away and long enough itself. Then, I eventually made it to a year, and now here we are at 1.5 years. I like what you said about independence. If I wasn’t still nursing Nia would I be more inclined to try and have a night away for myself?

    I hope Nia will start weaning herself gradually because I don’t think I’m ready to remove them myself. With summer coming (I HOPE! haha) maybe being out and about will encourage her!!

    Great story :)

  10. says

    I weaned my daughter Emma right around a year and while it was sad, it has also been a huge blessing. Life is so much easier when you’re not breastfeeding, I feel! We’re also still using a bottle, for the same reason – she gets so distracted with a sippy cup and would rather just play with it like a toy instead of drink the milk.

  11. Amanda N says

    I had been waiting for this post and somehow I missed it! Glad I saw it though, it’s great to get some insight on this as I know our time is coming. I think she is semi starting on her own as on the days I work she doesn’t always take a bottle, but on the days I’m with her she nurses 4-5 times like usual. She’ll be 11 months next month so I plan to work on cutting out a session then. I also still have tons of milk from pumping in the freezer, so we won’t have to transition to cow’s milk right away – but she doesn’t always take the bottle either. Sorry to blab on – nice to get some thoughts out to someone other than my husband, mother, or mother-in-law!

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