The last few days have marked a transition in the relationship between my daughter and I. On Friday morning we began the process of weaning – and by process I mean we were DONE. No gradually decreasing nursing sessions, just DONE.
It might sound drastic or mean, but it’s my philosophy that it is much easier to make the change (for her and I) when we are on the same page and start a new routine for naps and bedtime right away. She understood that there would be no more nursing and now we cuddle to bed. I feel it would be more cruel to let her nurse once or twice a day and otherwise fight her on it. I have the same philosophy about potty training – once we start going in the potty we don’t use diapers or pull ups, we go straight to underwear. It’s all or nothing.
We are now on day 4 of ‘no nursing’ and she is doing great. The first day is always the hardest. She woke up a few times and didn’t want to go back to sleep, so we were pretty tired on day 2. Day 2 she didn’t try to nurse and she took her nap no problem with some cuddles. Day 3 she did great again and she only woke up once at night. I was able to lay her in bed and she put herself back to sleep within minutes. This is the reason why I chose to wean her now, because our sleep was suffering massively from her using me as a pacifier all night. With my other children I found that as soon as I weaned them they started sleeping through the night.
WHAT TO CONSIDER BEFORE YOU CHOOSE TO WEAN COLD TURKEY
Both times I weaned my other children I was pregnant at the time so I never experienced the reason why they tell you to decrease nursing sessions gradually – painful engorgement, blocked ducts, and possible mastitis (breast infection).
I have been very careful and aware of my body over the last few days to avoid this happening. Some ways you can relieve the pain of engorgement are:
-Take hot showers and express manually (just enough to relieve the pain, you don’t want to ramp up your supply)
-Use cabbage leaves in your bra (it’s not based in science, but it’s worth a try)
-take ibuprofen to relieve pain and swelling
Also consider that weaning affects your hormone levels and moods. It is very possible you will feel sad or weepy. Your body also needs to adjust to the change. While I did not experience much in the way of mood swings, I did experience body aches and some flu like symptoms the very first day.
I have been following these steps and I am happy to say by day 3 I was feeling much better. My flu like symptoms were gone, I had less swelling and engorgement, and I am no longer needing to take ibuprofen for the pain.
If you choose to wean cold turkey you might consider discussing with your doctor or child’s pediatrician if you have any questions. I am in no way a medical professional, just offering my personal experience and advice.
Did you wean your child gradually or cold turkey? Do you have any advice for a mom thinking about weaning?