From the day Paighton was born I exclusively breastfed. No formula supplements, I nurtured my child in the most beautiful way possible for a whole 15 months. I never had a “over supply”, never had bags piled high with milk in the freezer and Paighton wasn’t a fan of the bottle. Despite all of those obstacles I was still able to nurture my child in so many ways I can’t even imagine. The bond alone that paighton and I created was just something I will cherish for the rest of my life. As I’m sad to say my journey is officially over with P I just have to wait four more months till it starts again.
Why did you stop breastfeeding?
I’m already 18 weeks pregnant (5months) and between the symptoms of pregnancy it was getting harder and harder to breastfeed. I’m a total advocate for pushing through the pain but what worries me the most was that 1. The nutrients that go into my milk could be taking away from my baby in the womb. 2. Once you get into your third trimester breastfeeding in some moms can put you into preterm labor, although it’s very unlikely the possibility is still present. This factor scared me the most because I went into pre-term labor with Paighton twice. At both times she wasn’t near ready to deliver.
How did you start the weaning process?
The weaning process was definitely a struggle at first. I only gave up one feeding for starters which was the night time feeding. Normally Every night I would feed P till she would fall asleep, that was how we got her to go to bed. After 2 weeks I started to try and drop the morning feedings. P wakes up at 6, needs a diaper changed than she eats and goes back to bed. When she woke up to breastfed we replaced it with eating a banana and drinking some water or making her pancakes. The option of providing real food when she wanted to breastfeed was a big game changer. Lastly came the nap time feedings, I held off on this feeding for so long, because Peyton is at work and isn’t home to comfort me when she’s crying. Giving up the nap time feedings gave P some unsettling emotions. Which caused her to encounter the tantrum phase. During this process of her having to understand her feelings I would talk to her and explain to her what she was feeling was called “frustration” or “anger”. At no point in this process did I ever get upset with her, yelled or “spanked” her for being “bad”. Not only is this a hard journey for me it’s even harder on her. Which is why I started out with only dropping 1 feeding at a time.
How did you feel going through this process? Going through the process was challenging mentally and physically. The mental part about it was the fact that I had to cope with the understanding that I’m doing what’s best for my unborn child. My heart would be destroyed if something happened to my pregnancy because of my decision to continue to breastfeed P. I know many moms who have completed the tandem feeding journey. Where they breastfeed their child all throughout their pregnancy. Than start the new journey of feeding their newborn baby. That was a goal of mine but unfortunately I had to put my health and unborn child’s needs before my mental trophy I wanted. Throughout this journey at times I wanted to just give up the process and feed Paighton. Which brought me to the physical part, during pregnancy a symptom is that your nipples get very sensitive. And when I would feed Paighton the sensitivity was overwhelmingly hurting! Especially when Paighton would accidentally bite me….
How did you transition Paighton to her toddler bed? We tried multiple ways to put her to sleep as a matter of fact. The first way was the “cry out method”. Who ever is strong enough for that this might be a option for you. However….. We were not loving this night routine at all! Our next option we tried was a bed time story! After a warm bath and a lavender lotion massage Paighton would pick out a book and mama and dada would lay in bed and read it to her. This worked a few night till Paighton wanted to feed going to sleep again. I was extremely exhausted every night that it got to the point where I would go to sleep before P or Peyton. Peyton who’s the best dad ever! Took on this challenge of putting P to sleep without me. He would put on “Cocomelon” a baby show on YouTube and hold her as he sang the songs. This worked for about a week till she yet again wanted to breastfeed going to sleep. I knew that I had to quite breastfeeding all together to help with her new routines. We got a toddler bed, went to Walmart and picked out a comforter, got her a super comfy pillow And just made the whole toddler bed idea fun! She helped me make her bed, and she picked out her two favorite stuffed animals to put in her bed! I must say just the excitement we put into her having her own bed made her more excited to sleep in it.
How did you get paighton to fall asleep with out breastfeeding? When we laid paighton down for bed after her bath, I read a night time story to her. The first night was a little tough because she kicked and screamed and just wanted me. I laid down next to her in her bed. Peyton and I would sing her songs as I gently traced her face with my fingers. The tracing got her to close her eyes and she focused on that rather than screaming. We continued to sing the ABC’s till she was fast asleep, the next challenge came when I would move out of her bed she would wake up half asleep and search for me. With fast thinking I replaced where I was sitting with her favorite bear and she now sleeps on it all night long. When she wakes up at 6am she now just wants to cuddle with me and lay in our bed which I have no problem with at all. What use to be a dreadful 6am alarm to breastfeed is now a morning cuddle time with my baby girl!
Our advice to parents… This process doesn’t happen over night (for most people). Some babies don’t wean themselves off from breastfeeding at one years old! If you can continue to breastfeed for longer then I did please do!! It’s so healthy for your child and their developmental state. However teaching your toddler to fall asleep by themselves is a trait they need to learn for their grown up lives. To the moms thinking about weaning your babies soon, you already are amazing because you breastfed your child (doesn’t matter the amount of time). The dedication you had to nurture your child from your body even after they were out of your womb is amazing. Remember no matter what you feed your child whether it be formula, or breastfeeding or both you are still a wonderful mom!
Note to our little Princess P!! As happy and excited I am for you to be growing up ending this breastfeeding journey with you has been so hard. Mama had cried more times than I could imagine. For 15 months this was our thing we did! No one else could do what I did for you. I remember the first times feeding you hurt so bad I dreaded when feeding times came. But your daddy stayed by my side and encouraged me to continue to feed you myself! I enjoyed every moment even if they were extremely painful! Just to look down and see you smile while you were eating was my clue that I was doing what was best for you. Mommy will never stop cherishing these moments! I’m so excited to see you grow up and have many more “our thing” to do with you.