Wow… so I actually forgot that I had written a blog post about my weaning experience with Noah back in the day. It’s so interesting to see how that experience was so much different than my experience with Emma. If you want to read that post you can find it HERE. The main reason why the experiences have been so different is because Emma has never taken a bottle.
Let’s preface this post by saying every experience is different, every baby is different, and situations can be different. Weaning can be totally situational, so it’s never a good idea to compare your experience with someone else’s. Like I said in the beginning of this post, it was so interesting to look back on my experience with Noah. His birth was also completely different, which made his whole feeding experience different.
From the minute Emma was born, she latched. I was ecstatic. Basically crying happy tears. Noah’s birth was a bit more intense, and he was taken to the NICU right after birth (it’s a long story, and they don’t even take babies to the NICU for it anymore… ughh don’t even get me started on how stupid it was), but we didn’t get to have the whole “first latch experience”. In fact it took me forever to get him to latch properly which was why we introduced a bottle early on for him.
Now when I say Emma never took a bottle, I mean she took one maybe twice. Once was from my mom and once was from Dylan in the really early days. I was home so often with her that I just nursed her. It was way easier, and honesty I was so happy that it came so naturally with her. I tried so hard to get Noah to nurse (I finally was successful & he nursed until he was 14 months or so old), but the fact that it was so easy with Emma led me to stick with it. It was just so much easier than washing bottles, timing feedings, etc.. I just nursed her whenever she was hungry. Our bodies were basically in rhythm with each other, and I knew when she was hungry and needed to eat.
Now when it comes to weaning her, I sort of put my foot in my mouth because she had no interest in bottles. I would leave the house in 3 hour periods, and get back home quickly to feed her. When she turned 6 months old, we started introducing solids and that helped a lot. She was able to go longer without nursing. I think it was around this time when we started laying her down awake for bed, and I wasn’t nursing her to sleep. With Noah, I nursed him to sleep quite a bit longer. Emma was such a good sleeper, that she didn’t really mind it. She would fuss a little, and then fall asleep. She’s really always been a great sleeper which made me feel like I didn’t really need to nurse her to sleep.
Sure there would be nights when she would wake up, I would sneak in, and then nurse her back to sleep. But she wasn’t necessarily dependent on it for anything. Which is a good thing because night weaning is totally the hardest. A few weeks ago I found out about an upcoming trip I was going to be taking where I would be away for 3 nights. I kind of freaked out for a minute thinking “Oh no, what will Emma do without nursing?” The realization is that she was only really nursing in the morning & sometimes one feed during the afternoon. She was eating so much solids & drinking organic whole milk throughout the day. She was a little over one year old, and I still felt guilty like I shouldn’t be weaning her for some reason.
The afternoon feed was the easiest to drop because she was busy during the day, and would eat really well. The morning feed has been the hardest to drop. My milk is always the most full then, and she usually eats for the longest amount of time in the morning. We slowly weaned the afternoon feed just by cutting it out. It was really hard if I was around here, so I would have to go upstairs and do some work while Dylan stayed downstairs and fed her. Or if it was a day when I had a babysitter I would have the sitter feed her milk or a snack while I was out.
Since I’m always home in the morning when she wakes up it’s harder to cut out the morning feed. For the last week and a half I’ve been experimenting with cutting it out. I’ve kind of done every other day. One day I will nurse her in the morning, the next day I wont. Then the day after that I would nurse her, but would cut down the nursing time. So we are kind of slowly weaning out instead of drastically stopping cold turkey. We leave for our trip late this week, and of course I feel guilty about it.
But in all honesty… I think she’s ready… and guess what? If she wants to nurse in the morning when we get back… she can 🙂
No matter where you are in the weaning process just know that you’re doing an amazing job. It can be so taxing on your hormones, and for me it caused some anxiety. Hang in there mama. I promise it gets easier.