Tuesday, September 24, 2013

on weaning and breastfeeding and things i could have never understood until i was a mother.

so...we're starting to wean. i have really mixed feelings about it. when i was pregnant i just assumed i would try and nurse Clara until she was a year- then wean her off. because that was normal and healthy and everything. you know. that is, if i even could nurse her that long, because according to my mom we all weaned ourselves around nine months and there was nothing you could really do about that. clara was born and two to three days into it...i loved it. she loved it. it felt so empowering- she was chunking up and with every single roll I beamed with pride knowing I put it there! I was giving her something that nobody else could- that helped her grow and made her strong. I felt so connected to her when we'd nurse. I could read her signs and knew what she needed, when she needed it. we were in sync. I was proud of myself- i felt like a good mom. she nursed exclusively until she was six months old then i would sporadically give her solid snacks around dinner time to get her used to different flavors- but they were just snacks. she was still nursing full time until about a week ago.


in the last month i started noticing a change. either my milk supply is going down or she just can't thrive on milk alone anymore. i decided i needed to start giving her more "meals" than just snacks. we are still nursing every 3ish hours but they are definitely turning into the snacks and the real food is more like the meal. even though i trust myself and i know this is the right thing for her... it still makes my heart ache. i would have never in a million years thought that this would be a hard thing! every time she arches her back and fusses telling me she's done nursing- she needs more- it chips away at my mommy self esteem. i know it shouldn't, that it's normal. it does just the same though. i feel like Clara and I are off-sync for the first time since she was born. I'm not quite as sure I know exactly what she needs- i don't feel like I'm the end all for her happiness anymore. bleh. it's hard.

heaven help me when i wean her for good. Any tips for this rookie?

Happy Tuesday.



Bonus: photo of Clara with hat hair. you're welcome.


10 comments:

  1. What a cutie! Lance weaned himself as well, and it was so sad for me! My only advice is to do it slowly... I just started nursing less often. Dropping one session per day at a time.. so at the end I just nursed Lance once at night and once in the morning. And then just at night. It was great because it was so slow that it wasn't painful for me and I never felt like I was taking something away that he wanted.

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  2. I'm still nursing Shepherd at almost 17 months. I know most people don't go that long, but I'm letting him self wean, and surprisingly, even with me being pregnant, he hasn't seemed any less interested. He gets his meals from "real" food, and just nurses when he wants, which is usually just before bedtime or nap time. I wouldn't feel like you had to wean Clara, but at her age she is probably just ready for more solid food. I understand how you feel, though! Its something you really can't describe or understand unless you breastfeed!

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  3. I've had to go through that four times, and soon a fifth. She is five months old now, and starting to really look at my normal food with those "eyes" of interest and delight. :) I'm hoping she can hang in there awhile longer. I'm loving your idea of just snacks! It does hurt. It does, but remember, you are still her everything. Though her needs may change at a different pace than ours, you are still the one she aches for and trusts to feed her what she needs at the ages that she reaches. I've been fortunate enough to have my milk sort of go away on it's own (I know, that may sound weird) but at least I have not had to tell my babies no. I don't think I could handle knowing I could feed them more and not letting them nurse when they wanted. My babies have just sort of accepted their fate as the milk slowly dries and we move on with the thankful heart of knowing I will get to nurse another some day... And if we are not supposed to have another baby next time, I know the Lord will heal the hurt of my children growing. My oldest just turned eight, and now that they changed the mission age to 18, you'd better believe I'm hurting over how fast time is flying. :) It just isn't fair, but your sweet little girl loves you dearly and though you may be going through growing pains now, you will see your relationship grow over new things that will come. A new bonding will add onto the bonding you already have. I don't believe you are truly out of sync, I think that the truth is babies grow so fast, our mommy hearts just need to catch up sometimes. Hang in there, you are a wonderful mother! Your daughter chose you for a reason. Sorry, I know I talk waaay too much sometimes! :)

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  4. 1. You are awesome for wearing white pants. After Grace, I couldn't keep anything clean enough, and certainly not my pants. So major kudos.
    2. I think you actually ARE in sync. Your body is aware that you cannot fully nourish Clara anymore. And that is awesome. My first two weaned themselves at 11 months, and it was sad but good. Weston, on the other hand, didn't wean until 18 months. I couldn't get him to consume anything but breastmilk. I tried consistently after he turned 6 months. And I watched that little boy shrink from a growing chubbers into an adorable but scrawny boy. THAT was horrible.
    So, 3. Good job. You are a fantastic mom. And I love reading your blog. :)

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  5. It's amazing that she's ten months old and just finally turning breastmilk into a snack. All my boys turned me into snacktime around 7 months. :) I think you and Clara and your body are totally in sync. This is just a transition, one of those changes that occurs very often with little people. It's actually a good thing! The better news is that you can still nurse Clara as long as you both like! Levi still insists on nursing every morning, and so we do. I absolutely love it. You're doing great. She still needs you and no one will take your place in her eyes. Trust me.

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  6. Thanks for this post. I really love reading your blog especially since you are just a few months ahead in your motherhood. I put off giving my baby her first bottle of pumped milk forever because I wanted to feel like she needed me and I was the only one who could help her. She doesn't love the bottle and I secretly am OK with her only wanting her mother. The thought of Ellie not nursing anymore tugs at my heart strings as well. My mom had a friend who would nurse her daughter just at nights until she was three- it was their bonding time. I don't think I'll do this, but I understand the temptation to keep that closeness. Thanks again for sharing your thoughts and feelings.

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  7. Totally know how you feel, weaning is the worst! I remember a period around when Ace was 9-10 months when he would not nurse well - he was too distracted and would totally do the arch-back thing, too. But eventually, he got over it and even though he was eating more solids, he was still nursing a lot, too. And then he nursed until he was 18-19 months. I had to wean him to get pregnant again, hah ;). So it might not be the end for a while, but every mom and baby is so different! You are a great mom, I can tell. :)

    And bonus is - you will be SO excited to nurse a future baby. I feel like I appreciate it and love it even more this time! So nice to hear from people who *like* nursing! A lot of people don't. But it's the best, right??

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  8. One thing that I've learned in this whole parenting thing, is that each child is different! And that is OK! And amazing:-) Plus, kids are so smart. Blows my mind. Once they have made their mind up about something, it's on! Soooo, she wants those sweet potatoes now. Go for it! haha. The Bean naturally weaned himself fully at around 15 months or so. Dunzo. Maybe the next one will nurse 6 months or 6 weeks or, 6 years? haha. Whatever happens. I agree with everyone else though, try and take it slowly. Drop feedings here and there, to let your body transition back to "normal." Those hormones are some powerful stuff!

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  9. i was really sad to stop breastfeeding too and i appreciate this post. brent eventually started weaning himself just after 1 year and i finally just had to put my boppy (nursing pillow) out of sight and plan something for first thing in the morning, the time i would usually nurse.

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  10. I'm happy that you've been able to nurse for this long! It really is hard though, knowing that you'll never go back once you stop. I think I told you, Will was the only one I nursed for a year. So I definitely know the feeling when they throw their head back once their done eating, in protest, and want more but there's nothing more to give (or that was my problem at least). Poor little Will wouldn't take a bottle or eat solids for a month or two when I didn't have much. He wasn't the happiest baby. It was really hard, knowing he simply wasn't getting enough to eat. So I'm really glad Clara is at least old enough to eat solids. You'll find, once you're done breast feeding, that you cherish hugs, cuddling, reading books, and spoon feeding her that much more. Or maybe you'll just find that you want a little person to replace her :) I guess I shouldn't say "replace"... follow after.

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