Welcome to the Carnival of Weaning: Weaning – Your Stories
This post was written for inclusion in the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Code Name: Mama and Aha! Parenting. Our participants have shared stories, tips, and struggles about the end of the breastfeeding relationship.
[See end of post to get discount code on weaning keepsake/nursing necklaces and more from Wild Mother Arts as a thanks for sharing your experiences on A Living Family Breastfeeding Survey.]
My 2.5 year old daughter and I have had some rough spots in our nursing relationship, including weaning during pregnancy and relearning how to nurse postpartum.
The first tandem nurse. Is my toddler really nursing?
I wrote about my commitment to breastfeeding despite woes while pumping and working and while nursing and pregnant. I shared how my body weaned us both due to lack of supply which may have caused my daughter to have a nursing-related nose obsession. I found a respectful way to handle tandem nursing. Alas, our nursing relationship continues to be one riddled with bad timing, unhelpful hormones and hard feelings. Shifts are happening, and I am stuck with this nagging worry…
A few things are standing out to me:
Second tandem nursing effort. Felt like a bundle of legs and a juggling of mouths. Luckily, everyone’s latch is better now.
Sometimes my daughter will ask for “milkies” but then continue playing. Sometimes I let her know that if she wants milkies now is the time because I’m going to put baby in a sling soon. She says, “First, I want to play with this for a little bit.” Sometime she asks and runs off to do something else, or I ask before wearing baby and she says no.
- I figured out having her on during a let down minimized my aversion and helped her get the most milk. I assumed she had relearned how to nurse after six months without, during pregnancy. I have overactive(forceful) letdown. Recently, now that baby boy is nearing five months, I entered the period when milk supply regulates. My letdowns are less out of control now.
- My daughter has been saying things like “the milkies are stuck” or “there’s no milk coming out” when I just had a letdown. I just realized, since the supply shift makes it more clear, that she is talking about the flow slowing. Now I wonder if she doesn’t not how to create suction…without teeth, which causes horrible aversion for me.
I have come to the realization that I cannot force a nursing relationship to continue.
I can’t even force myself to get past aversion and enjoy the act of nursing. Admittedly, I am only months out postpartum, but I have been having all kinds of emotions. Usually I do however much maneuvering it takes for me to get baby settled elsewhere.
Then it starts up like this inside my head:
The first “real” nurse session post weaning.
I am so happy to have a chance to nurse her and be close. Finally! I am going to give her what she needs. I am going to be there for her. I can do this. I am going to wait till she is all finished. Other mamas grin and bear it. I can do this. [Recall birth experience for inspiration.]
[Latch] My sweet baby girl…
[Right after latch] Oomph.
Grrr….this feels so grating. How’s her latch? [Readjust. Reposition.]
I really, really want to give this comfort and closeness to my little girl.
[Guilt...for having these conflicting feelings, for going back to work, for getting pregnant and losing my milk, for having such strong nursing aversion...]
[Rubbing feet back and forth, gritting teeth, clenching hands.]
Aargh! I want to push her off me! STOP IT!!!
[Mind searching elsewhere for things to think about. Not helping. Can't stand it.]
“One more minute, my love.”
Has it been a minute yet?! [5 more seconds]
Still not a minute?! [10 more seconds]
“Ok, my love, all finished.”
[My daughter asks for "few more minutes" and I give her one more "minute" just to assuage my guilt.]
This feels like a crossroads. This feels like weaning territory.
If I can’t get it together, I am pretty sure she will stop sooner rather than later. I am not ready to end our relationship. She is not ready to wean.
I want to nurse my child till she is finished with our nursing relationship.
At only 2.5, she’s so small. Before I got pregnant and the aversion started, I loved nursing her. It feels like betrayal, and I don’t want to give up something I want because my body feels hard to deal with.
I don’t want to unintentionally wean my daughter through my negativity.
Sometimes, I get this horrible urge, like I want to squeeze her hard to make the feeling stop. Sometimes, I realize I am holding my arms tight or she says “too tight” and I have to ask her to get off or tell her “one more minute.” Sometimes, I snap at her when she moves around. I get so irritated and agitated and aggravated and all those annoyed words. All at once. The feelings overwhelm me….
Right now, I need to nurture our nursing relationship so it can survive and grow again.
[For dealing with my feelings of aversion, but I'd say these apply to pregnant mamas with sore nipples, too]
- General Preventative:
- Stay hydrated…extra extra because more milk = less teeth
- Eat well — lots of healthy fats, low sugars, no caffeine?
- Sleep — sleep early, nap when needed
- Take placenta pills when feeling off
- Drink milk tea, nettle tea as needed
- Eat oatmeal a few times a week
- Before Nursing:
- Continue our kiss and “fweeze” (squeeze/hug) first
- Bring up positive feelings and images of my daughter
- Really take her in — her eyes, her size, her feel
- Make a commitment to focus on loving her for those short minutes
- GOOD LATCH
- While Nursing:
Of all of these measures, the biggest surprise has been the nursing necklace.
Wild Mother Arts so compassionately supports the natural nursing and weaning relationship (see below for discount opportunity!). She makes beautiful pendants that are made from semiprecious stones using care and wisdom of healing properties of stones such as amethyst, rhodonite and tiger iron. I love stones, had seen these briefly long before all this nursing drama and thought, “How sweet and pretty.”
Now, though, I was more desperately trying something other mothers had said was actually helpful for keeping a good latch while nursing their distracted toddlers. I also read about having her open wide and stick out her tongue, common trick for correcting toddler latch. I ordered the necklaces, and forgot about them, trudging along until they arrived.
I decided to try out the nursing necklace and the latch instruction during our next session.
The first time I nursed my toddler wearing the necklace my daughter instantly settle down. She caressed, stroked, poked, swung, grabbed and stared at the necklace while she nursed. Her latch stayed good. I was able to nurse her for longer than usual and with little to no discomfort.
The second time, I decided to do some of my “before nursing” ideas above. She both played with the necklace and was on and off talking to me. This usually annoys me because her teeth are also on and off. I was surprised I felt able to nurse her rather easily. I felt no discomfort and barely any aversion. I even nursed her on both sides.
Tandem Nurse #3: Trying out the football hold with the 2.5 yo…didn’t like the teeth where they were. Going to try football with baby next time.
If I am being honest, part of the reason I wanted a nursing necklace is to have, as Wild Mother Arts says, a wonderful keepsake of my nursing relationship with my first born child.
I can be sentimental, and this can be something to hold my memories. The reality is that, even though sometimes she wants more milk, my daughter is probably in the earliest stages of weaning. She is closer to 3 than 2. I hear of nursing relationships shifting to once every week or two. I can’t imagine this when she is still at 1-5 times a day (especially with my low supply phobia), but I hope that this is us.
Despite any difficulty I have faced or will face in the future, I would honor and cherish the opportunity to nurse my daughter well past toddlerhood into her childhood.
I’m not sure if this is weaning or not, but for my part I hope this daughter of mine weans me gently.
[Wild Mother Arts has generously agreed to allow me to give a discount code (on items from the whole store!) to any readers who participate in A Living Family Breastfeeding Survey. (There's also a Survey for Partners of Breastfeeding Mothers.) Click on the link, share your story and save! "Wild Mother Arts creates handmade nursing necklaces, fertility bracelets, fertility goddess necklaces and birth jewelry with natural, healing gemstones." Please share your nursing and weaning joys, struggles, tips and wisdom for other mothers to draw from. Thank you in advance! ~sheila]
Resources on Weaning Gently
Thank you for visiting the Carnival of Weaning hosted by Dionna at Code Name: Mama and Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting.
Please take time to read the submissions by the other carnival participants (and many thanks to Joni Rae of Tales of a Kitchen Witch for designing our lovely button):
- On Breastfeeding, Weaning, and One Mother’s Identity — Jessica at Natural Parents Network has been nursing one or more of her children since 1993 – breastfeeding is wrapped up in her concept of mothering and herself. She shares her thoughts on weaning.
- two tales of weaning — Aspen at Aspen Mama writes about their countdown to wean.
- Wean Me Gently — Tam at Please Send Parenting Books shares a beautiful weaning ceremony.
- You say potato, I say bleeeuuuuch… — Anelie at Mindcradle had read the books and knew just how to introduce her baby son to solids—unfortunately, he had other ideas.
- A Post Called Weaning — (Not) Maud at Awfully Chipper writes about how weaning her son took longer than she expected.
- On Weaning, Pregnancy and Emotion — Shannon at The Artful Mama talks about her mixed emotions as she allows her son, Little Man, to guide her through his weaning process.
- half of her life — Staci at Springpatch Jam looks back on her nursing relationship with her first born.
- Is it just this After Forty Mom or is it harder to wean when its your last? — Amanda of After Forty Mom shares her emotional journey towards the impending self-weaning of her toddler daughter.
- Nursing Limits — Jorje of Momma Jorje shares how she has weaned her toddler down to minimal nursing and her guilt about the decision to do so.
- Weaning Video Series #1: Preparation for the Weaning Process — Why is weaning such a taboo topic? Dionna at Code Name: Mama got mamas from across the blogosphere to start talking about weaning – on video. Come check out the first video in a series of five that she’ll be posting this week.
- Weaning due to anxiety — Shannon at Pineapples & Artichokes talks about how she had to wean to preserve her mental health.
- When Will I Wean? A Guest Post — Jennifer at Hybrid Rasta Mama hosts a guest post from a mama who contemplates when her breastfeeding relationship will end.
- On His Own Terms — Momeeezen shares her heartbreak from when her son weaned much earlier than she anticipated.
- Our Weaning Story – Sudden, Surprised, and Embracing a New Season — Weaning doesn’t always go how we imagine. That Mama Gretchen shares the story of her daughter’s sudden weaning and how she has embraced this new season of motherhood.
- A Tale of Two Weanings — Valerie at Momma in Progress shares the similarities and differences of how her nursing relationships with her now six-year-old and four-year-old daughters came to a close.
- She Doesn’t Remember — Alicia at Lactation Narration finds that her 6 year old no longer remembers nursing, only one year after weaning.
- It’s The End of the World As We Know It — A story about the end of a tandem nursing relationship on Never Mind The Rain: A toddler moves on to a new phase in her life before mom is fully ready.
- A Natural End To Our Breastfeeding Relationship — With two self-weaning children, Jennifer at Our Muddy Boots does not know when the end will come, but that it will be natural and without regrets.
- Child-Led weaning: It’s Not Extreme; It’s Biological — Mandy at Living Peacefully with Children explains why child-led weaning is based on biology rather than social constraints.
- 6 Years of Natural Weaning in 5 Steps — Jess at miniMum shares how and why she let her first child stop when he was good and ready.
- Is This Weaning?: A Tandem Nursing Update — Sheila at A Living Family bares all her tandem nursing hopes and fears during what feels like the beginning of the end for her toddler nursing relationship.
- Memories of Weaning: Unique and Gentle — Cynthia at The Hippie Housewife shares her weaning experiences with her two sons, each one unique in how it happened and yet equally gentle in its approach.
- Weaning Aversion’ — Gentle Mama Moon shares her experience of nursing and unplanned weaning due to pregnancy-induced ‘feeding aversion’.
- Three Months Post-Mup: An Evolution of Thoughts On Weaning — cd at FidgetFace describes a brief look at her planned (but accelerated) weaning, as well as one mamma’s evolution on weaning (and extended nursing)
- Weaning my Tandem Nursed Toddler — After tandem nursing for a year, Melissa at Permission to Live felt like weaning her older child would be impossible, but now she shares how gentle weaning worked for her 2 1/2 year old.
- Every Journey Begins with One Step — As Hannabert begins the weaning process, Hannah at Hannah and Horn‘s super power is diminishing.
- Reflections on Weaning – Love Changes Form — Amy from Presence Parenting (guest posting at Dulce de Leche) shares her experience and approach of embracing weaning as a continual process in parenting, not just breastfeeding.
- Weaning Gently: Three Special Ideas for Success — MudpieMama shares three ideas that help make weaning a gentle and special journey.
- Guest Post: Carnival of Weaning — Emily shares her first weaning experience and her hopes for her second nursling in a guest post on Farmer’s Daughter.
- 12 Tips for Gentle Weaning — Dr. Laura at Aha! Parenting describes the process of gentle weaning and gives specific tips to make weaning an organic, joyful ripening.
- Quiz: Should You Wean for Fertility Treatments? — Paige at Baby Dust Diaries talks about the key issues in the difficult decision to wean for infertility treatments.
- I thought about weaning… — Kym at Our Crazy Corner of the World shares her story of how she thought about weaning several times, yet it still happened on its own timeline.
- Celebrating Weaning — Amy at Anktangle reflects on her thoughts and feelings about weaning, and she shares a quick tutorial for one of the ways she celebrated this transition with her son: through a story book with photographs!
- Naturally Weaning Twins — Kristin at Intrepid Murmurings discusses the gradual path to weaning she has taken with her preschool-aged twins.
- Gentle Weaning Means Knowing When to Stop — Claire at The Adventures of Lactating Girl writes about knowing when your child is not ready to wean and taking their feelings into account in the process.
- Weaning, UnWeaning, and ReWeaning — Jennifer at True Confessions of a Real Mommy discovers non-mutal weaning doesn’t have to be the end. You can have a do-over.
- Prelude to weaning — Lauren at Hobo Mama talks about a tough tandem nursing period and what path she would like to encourage her older nursling to take.
- Demands of a Nursing Kind — Amy Willa at Me, Mothering, and Making it All Work shares her conflicted feelings about nursing limits and explores different ways to achieve comfort, peace, and bodily integrity as a nursing mother.
- Breastfeeding: If there’s one thing I know for sure… — Wendy at ABCs and Garden Peas explores the question: How do you know when it’s time to wean?
- Five, Four, Three, Two, One, Two, Three? — Zoie at TouchstoneZ discusses going from 3 nurslings down to 1 and what might happen when her twins arrive.