The process of weaning or teaching your baby how to stop breastfeeding can be difficult emotionally and physically uncomfortable.
If you’ve ever had to wean (stop breastfeeding) or are currently in the process, then you know it ain’t easy. It’s frickin’ hard.
You ask yourself…
- Is now the right time?
- How will my baby handle it?
- Is this pain for real right now?
- Are all these feelings and emotions normal?
- Why didn’t anyone warn me about this moment?
I get it.
There is guide-after-guide to help us with breastfeeding, but where is all the information about weaning (the final unlatch)?
Well, mama… I did some research and I found a mom who has shared her experience with weaning openly and honestly and it may be just what you need to read to know you aren’t alone.
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ONE MOM SHARES HER EXPERIENCE WITH WEANING
If you have Instagram you should definitely consider following @shutthekaleup.
The mom behind the gram is Jeannette Ogden and she recently shared her experience with weaning. Jeannette doesn’t hold back when she shares the challenges she faces while trying to wean and how she feels about it. Read her post below:
- shutthekaleup this is us at the moment. it ain’t glamorous i’ll tell ya that. purple cabbage is what’s up tho 💜
things no one tells you about weaning..
we’re all different and not one story is identical. here’s MY experience so far, day 7. the first three days were painful, uncomfortable and my boobs were engorged which led to clogged milk ducts. taking hot baths with peppermint + lavender oil, massaging, hand expressing, sunflower lecithin supplements and wearing a tight sports bra with cold cabbage leaves helped big time.
feelings: guilt, sadness, super sensitive, annoyed, exhausted and on top of that i’m experiencing nausea, body aches, headaches and lots of cramping.
thoughts: will we have the same connection? will he feel neglected? will he continue to ask for it? do i give in? does it mean i failed if i give in?
i’ve nursed him for 2 years + 3 months and i’m thankful my body allowed me to for this long but he tugs, pulls and bites so i’ve been feeling like it’s time.
he asked for milk as soon as i got home on friday night and my instincts were, i should *gradually* wean because it’ll help with this intense hormonal shift as well as any changes bub is going through. we’d ease into this transition instead of it being so abrupt like it’d been. i’m new to this, not an expert whatsoever so i’m going with what feels right for me and my boy. i’m also sharing because no one ever talks about this. i want other mamas to know they’re not alone and shouldn’t be afraid.
i was in pain/engorged coming back from hawaii so i nursed elliott but not for long since my milk supply had significantly dropped. he asked for it the next day and told him i couldn’t til bedtime so i had to work hard to distract him. aj flew out 5am saturday morning for work so it’s been a bit more difficult to be doing this on my own but sure enough, we’re down to just one feeding before bed.
welcoming change and being proactive. this doesn’t mean i failed at weaning, i’m actually WINNING 😏 small changes go a long way!
gonna continue to go through the motions, show myself extra TLC and self chill the hell out because this is the process for growth ✨
Post quoted and shared with permission from @shutthekaleup
6 THINGS YOU SHOULD KNOW ABOUT WEANING
1. YOU + BABY ARE IN CONTROL OF WHEN WEANING HAPPENS
Many reputable sources recommend moms breastfeed for at least a year. Many moms breastfeed for a few years (when possible) but it’s a personal judgment each mom makes. Every child is different and your circumstances as a mom play into the decision to wean.
When I stopped breastfeeding it was in part due to my struggle to produce enough milk from the beginning and when I went back to work my milk supply took another hit. I pumped exclusively for a bit and finally stopped with the breast milk altogether when pumping produced less and less milk.
2. WEANING CAN BE UNCOMFORTABLE
Weaning is difficult for baby and it’s also difficult for us physically and emotionally.
Symptoms you may experience include:
- Painful Engorgement
- Mood swings
- Body aches
Many of these changes are a result of our good ol’ hormones.
When I stopped breastfeeding, I had feelings of sadness and guilt. In fact, I felt like a failure for not making it to 12 months. I also had body aches and cramping as my cycle wasted no time to reclaim her place in my monthly routine.
3. WEANING CAN BE DONE GRADUALLY
Breastfeeding is part of your routine and routines can take time to change (especially for your baby).
There is no rule that weaning has to happen cold turkey. Gradually decreasing the number of times you breastfeed a day can help make the transition easier.
You can try using the power of postponing and distraction to limit the number of feedings, when your baby wants the breast. Creativity will be key.
Some moms choose to limit nursing to specific times of day like at morning and at night.
4. SOME FEAR & ANXIETY IS NORMAL
As moms, we always want to do what’s right. But what’s right for my kid may be different for what’s right for your kid.
We can get paralyzed because we don’t want to make the wrong move but we can’t be afraid to trust ourselves to know what is best for our kiddos.
- If you are a new mom going through all this for the first time it can be overwhelming.
- If you have more than one little one, then you know that what worked for one kid may not work for another.
Don’t be afraid to reach out to people you trust to get information or a hug; although it feels like it sometimes, you aren’t going through this alone. Find your community (locally or online) and grow in it. Also, always do your own research and consult a doctor before accepting medical advice.
5. SELF-CARE IS IMPORTANT
My favorite part of Jeanette’s post “self-chill the hell out because this is the process for growth”.
I 100% agree that it’s important to take time to take care of you and chill out.
The symptoms of weaning will leave you in need of a massage and relaxation. Do it. Don’t just do it. Do it without guilt and apprehension.
If you are dealing with painful breastmilk engorgement, here are some common remedies:
- Warm baths
- Breast massage with warm oil
- Cabbage leaves placed on the breast (in bra)
- Hand expression
- Cool compresses
6. COMMITMENT WILL GET YOU TO THE FINISH LINE
Choosing to wean can be an emotional decision but it is a decision.
- If you have a partner, include him/her in the process as much as possible.
- Try to be consistent.
- Stick to it (says the mom who never wants to see her baby cry).
Sticking to it doesn’t mean you won’t give in a few times (you may). Just continue trying and start each day brand new.
I knew I would need to learn how to breastfeed, I didn’t know that learning how to stop breastfeeding is just as complicated. I thought weaning would break a special bond I had with my daughter but that wasn’t the case. She handled it better than me.
What was your experience with weaning? Did it happen smoothly?