Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Our Weaning Experience

Not really sure how to start this post - I keep starting and stopping, re-writing and deleting. Well, here goes.

At the start of my second pregnancy I made the decision that I was not going to intentionally wean Penny. I had always had the goal of nursing her at least until her second birthday; if she wanted to stop before then or continue past that ambiguous date I'd be fine and we'd take it as it comes. Throughout the pregnancy I've cycled through moments of continuing to love nursing or sometimes just really dreading it. If there is one thing that's for sure, upon discovering that I am pregnant it was no longer comfortable. I was sore and soon my belly became more swollen. But I knew this was something that she still needed so I toughed it out and knew this was only for a season. I snuggled my P close.

Around week 20 I definitely noticed that my supply was dwindling. Eventually we transitioned to what I accepted as her comfort nursing for nap and night time. Perhaps there was a little bit of milk in the beginning, but I seriously doubted it as the weeks passed. I prepared myself for the possibility of the weekend of our babymoon being the weekend that Penny weans - because that's very often how it happens for kids at this age. The night before we left, I nursed and snuggled Penny so close, bringing myself to peace that this could be it. We had a good run - a few days short of 20 months. Sleep came quickly for her that night and I felt the possible finality of it all - and in my heart I was happy.

When we returned I expected that she might ask for it, but that afternoon and night she didn't. The next morning as we were getting ready for naptime she signed 'milk' once, and I simply said 'milk is all done,' and she was fine. She settled onto my chest as I rocked her and this became our new norm for nap and night time.

I can't be thankful enough for such a simple, yet bittersweet, end. I'm thankful that I wasn't pushed to the point where I felt that I needed to wean. I'm so thankful that I had the foresight that our last time could be our last time, so I cherished it.

She is really connecting with her dad more. They have always been very close, but now she will readily accept snuggles from him for nap/night time, where it used to only be me and there was no substitute. We can now very easily share our parenting roles, whereas it was plain fact that bringing her to sleep was a job that only I could do.

Over the last weeks I've been reflecting on how this changes me as a parent. I had the fleeting thought that in some ways I felt like I no longer 'count' as an attachment parent. Isn't that silly? The core of AP is how we connect with our kids - which includes how we feed them and how they sleep, but it's not limited to that. The end (or for some - it never began) of breastfeeding doesn't dis-include one from being an AP parent. My connection with my child has now evolved, which is how it's supposed to be! I gave her autonomy in choosing when she was going to be done, even though at times the costs to me seemed great, and it ended up being such a peaceful transition. My heart is full of gratitude and wonderful memories of our special bond together.
Share your weaning experience!


  1. This is a beautiful post! I love how you acknowledged that AP is so much more than breastfeeding - it truly is! I'm also so happy that you were able to cherish your final nursing session. As you know, mine with Jemma was so emotional for me, I was left with a lot of unrest and stress about her weaning. Very much hoping that things with Max will be calmer :)

    1. Thanks Gretchen! I remember reading your tribulations and that guided me too. Here's to a new experience with Max :)

  2. This is just what I needed to read, my little one just turned one and everyone keeps bugging me about when I'm finally going to wean him, but he's not ready to wean yet and neither am I. It's great that you had the idea to let her choose and that it could be such a nice experience.

    1. Sam, don't worry about what other people are saying :) You do what is comfortable for you and your son. There's tons of research to back up why continuing to nurse after 12 months is absolutely important. Personally my daughter has been "sick" a total of 4 times in her 21 months - and 2 of those times were after she weaned. If that's not the perfect reason to keep BF'ing, I don't know what is ;) Good luck to you!



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