I love breastfeeding. I am one of the lucky mummies who have had a relatively easy breastfeeding journey. I don’t take that for granted. I am extremely grateful, and I have enjoyed my experience with both children immensely.
My breastfeeding journey with Amy went on until she was a couple of months past one year. At that time, I was beginning to wonder how to go about weaning her off. But then one day, she decided to surprise me, by cheekily refusing to latch. I was a little shocked, but mostly glad to be honest! I asked her ‘Are you sure? Don’t you want milk?’ and when she shook her head again and ran off, the human milk bar officially closed! Hurray me!
So when it came to Alistair, I was kinda hoping for the same thing – that he would amazingly self-wean when he turned one.
Well, his first birthday came and gone, and he wasn’t showing any signs of weaning off. In fact, he became even more demanding and boob-obsessed. He wanted to nurse not just for hunger or thirst, but for comfort as well. Some days I’d find him stuck to my boob for hours!
And the nights got even harder. He had to nurse to sleep during bedtime, and every time he stirred during the night, he would need to nurse back to sleep. In fact, sometimes he had to suck AND sleep – the moment I unlatched him, he would cry in anger and I would have to do it all over again.
It felt worse than the newborn period. At least when he was a newborn, he only woke up every 2-3 hours for a feed. And he would go back to sleep right after the feed. But now, he sometimes woke up as often as every hour, and he would be nursing foreverrrrrrrr.
I was really getting tired due to the lack of sleep every night. I was reading articles upon articles, I spoke to friends, I consulted the maternal and child health nurse. Everyone said “just say no” or “let him cry it out”. I tried certain ‘no cry’ methods, but they just didn’t work – he cried anyway.
My heart ached every time I tried to let him cry it out, and so I kept putting off my plan to wean him off.
Until I started work. I was literally turning into a zombie, and I thought, enough was enough. It’s time to get my (boobie) freedom again.
Lots and lots of tears. And I was slapped, kicked and abused many times. Each crying session lasted about an hour or more. I virtually had no sleep, and I gave in twice. #help
Still lots and lots of tears. But he didn’t abuse me as much haha AND he only woke up twice – this is super good progress! I stayed strong and I didn’t give in at all. #yay
Less tears tonight hurray! He woke up twice, cried and protested but definitely not as intense as the previous days. The crying period was wayyyyy shorter. And I found a strategy: I pretended to still sleep when he woke up, and after crying for awhile, he would just snuggle with me and fall back asleep. Please let this continue to progress well!
Almost no tears! He only semi woke up ONCE, and protested for like, 1 minute??? He also didn’t even ask for boobies; only hugged me and went back to sleep by himself! AND, he practically slept through the night you guys!! FOR THE FIRST TIME! AM I REACHING THE LIGHT AT THE END OF THE TUNNEL??!!
He woke up a few times to protest and ask for boobies, but I don’t think there were tears. Abused me though hmmph. But at least he went back to sleep by himself. I’m getting a hang of this guys. I haven’t been giving in, and I don’t feel bad at all anymore!
He slept through for at least 8 hours!!!! Hallelujah! He woke up once and cried for boobies a bit, but I ignored him (pretended to be sleeping) and he went back to sleep soon after. Yes!!!
He woke up angry a few times last night, but most of the times he fell back asleep within 2 seconds. Well, it’s been a week of no nursing to sleep at bedtime and no night nursing at all. So we should be good yea???!!
Finally, at almost 23 months old, I have weaned Alistair off night feeding!!!!
Finally, after almost 23 months, I am beginning to get at least 6 hours of uninterrupted sleep at night!!!!
(but actually, because I’m so used to being woken up multiple times by him, I find myself still automatically waking up a few times. It’s time to train myself to sleep through the night!)
I know I am not entirely (boobie) free yet, because he is still occasionally breastfeeding during the day. But at least I’ve conquered the toughest night weaning!!
And now, the next step is to wean him off completely. #yessss
As much as I’m looking forward to stopping, I also know that I will miss breastfeeding a lot. Breastfeeding really is an incredible journey and such an amazing way to bond with the child. (Important disclaimer: I am not in any way suggesting that you can’t bond with your child if you do not breastfeed. As with most aspects of motherhood – and personhood actually – breastfeeding is a choice and there is no wrong or right. You do what is best for you and your family, and that is the best.)
If you are a breastfeeding mama, enjoy it. I know there are ups and downs, but this season will end before you know it.
And if you’re also trying to wean your little one, good luck!