Tuesday, January 6, 2015

nursing notes 03.


This post has been a long time coming. 7 weeks ago from today I breastfed Wyatt for the very last time (on November 18, 2014). I took those photos of him right after we finished, and doesn't he look so grown up?? I can't stop staring at him especially in the last one—his sweet face with that reassuring look he's giving me, as if to say "It's okay, Mom. I'm a big boy now", and his little hand resting on the chair where we had spent hours & hours together. An end of an era, for sure. 

I was worried that once I weaned him our special mother-son bond would not be as strong, but I'm happy to report that that is definitely not the case. I'm not sure how/why it happened, and I hope I don't jinx it by saying this....but Wyatt has turned into such a cuddler ever since he stopped breastfeeding!! I wish I had written "cuddling notes", so I could have those to remember, too. (ha) I just remember the first month or so after weaning him, he was very cuddly/clingy, and giving me such good hugs & loves. He still does the same now (with less clingy-ness) and I just love it love it. Weaning was also hard and painful like everyone said it would be, and mostly heartbreaking because of course Wyatt didn't understand why it was all happening. I weaned him very slowly, which was good, but he had a really hard time giving up the nighttime feedings. Poor guy. 

Anyways, I've been keeping some more "nursing notes" on my phone (since my last nursing notes post), and this will be my third and final installment of my experience with breastfeeding, since Wyatt is weaned now. And as always, reading through them again is bringing back a flood of the fondest memories.... 

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You nursed and then we laid down and you slept on my chest for a moment. I could have kept you there with me all night. Your head rested on my shoulder and the length of your body reached all the way down to the middle of my thigh. How you ever were small enough to fit inside my stomach, I'll never know. 8/10/2014

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I'm not sleeping very well tonight. Counting down the hours until it's morning when I can see my baby again. 8/2014

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When I scratch Wyatt's back while he's nursing (when he's just wearing a diaper) and I see the little goosebumps pop up on his arm. 8/12/2014

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Wyatt is waking up usually twice during the night now. He gets upset when we try to give him just his pacifier, so I nurse him for a few minutes. When I lay him back in his crib his eyes are drowsy and he stays flat on his back and stretches his arms & legs all the way out like a little starfish. He is always finding the most clever ways to make me smile. 8/18/2014

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After I nurse you at bedtime, we hang out for a little longer while you sit on my lap. You never seem very drowsy, but definitely slap-happy...the kind of mood where anything will make you laugh. It is my favorite part of the day with you. I tickle you, we sing songs, you give me goodnight kisses, and I hold on to you so tight and kiss your neck (best spot ever). 9/7/2014

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This past weekend Wyatt was sick with a cold & ear infection AND he's been teething. It was heartbreaking to see him not feeling well. He still nursed great for the most part, although there were a few times his nose was too congested to be drinking. I had him sleeping in bed with me, since he nurses through the night, until he drifts off to sleep. Anything to help him feel more comfortable and get the rest he needs. He's feeling better now but he is back to waking up a couple times during the night. I know these days of breastfeeding are numbered now, so I won't complain. I'm already feeling nostalgic for the precious time we've spent together nursing. Wyatt will be 1 in less than two weeks, which I can hardly believe. Where has the time gone. 10/16/2014

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In the process of weaning. Yesterday I noticed an emotional need within myself to nurse Wyatt. In the afternoon he was a little restless, and I guess I was too. I knew he wasn't hungry or thirsty, but I knew if I nursed him it would calm us both. I held out until his bedtime feeding though, and when bedtime finally rolled around it was such a relief. Physically obviously, but also I finally felt myself feel calm and relaxed again. I will miss this. 11/2014


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U P D A T E 

I wanted to add a little more about how the weaning process went for us, in case anyone is currently weaning or interested in reading more about how to do it. I first started testing the weaning waters when Wyatt was 11-11.5 months old. At the time he was still very much loving breastfeeding and not showing any signs of disinterest, so I knew it would have to be a gradual process. He was nursing 4-7 times a day, so I tried cutting it down to just nursing him in the morning, a mid-day feeding (usually right before his 2nd nap), and at bedtime, and then any time he would wake up during the night. Mostly I just dropped the feeding before his first nap, and then any other time he would want to just snack or comfort nurse. 

It was a tough adjustment only on the first day—not getting a feeding before his first nap, and me trying to give him a sippy cup when he was thirsty. After a week or so I think I also dropped the mid-day feeding so that I was only nursing him morning, bedtime, and during the night. Soon after this, though, Wyatt & I took a trip out to Virginia, and he ended up getting sick while we were out there with a double ear infection. So any progress we had made with weaning we basically had to throw out the window. Because he was sick (and also teething), he wasn't eating very much real food at all, and we went back to nursing whenever he wanted, and all through the night, as it was the only way he was able to fall asleep. 

It was a rough couple days, but when we got back from Virginia and he was feeling better, I started back up again with dropping feedings like I did before. It was around this time that we realized he was not very savvy with his sippy cups yet. Any fluids he was getting out of the sippy cup were just dribbling down his chin, and he wasn't getting very much to drink. We were worried about dehydration, so that was a little bit of a setback too. It was really discouraging and worrisome for me, but I kept having him practice with his sippy cup, and after about a week he finally started to actually swallow and get the fluids down. (This was right around his first birthday, so it had been a few weeks of trying to wean so far...)

Fast forward about a week, and he got sick again. This time with Roseola...a terrible fever that lasted a solid 6 days. So again, all progress we made with weaning was thrown out the window. I nursed him all he wanted, sometimes 4-5 times during the night. After his fever finally broke for good and he was feeling better, I cut out feedings again so that I was just nursing him morning and night. Then after a few more days, I cut it down to just one feeding during the day, which was the morning feeding. And if I remember correctly, I actually think he was also waking up once during the night to nurse, too. Then on the night of November 16th, I decided it was time to drop the nighttime feedings. Up to this point in his life, whenever he would wake up during the night I would always, always feed him (it was the only way he would go back in his crib peacefully), but that night I went in to soothe him and cuddle him and sing to him (without nursing him) and he was definitely not happy about that. I would say that was the hardest time during the weaning process. 

After another day or two, I decided it was time to finish weaning. Except for wanting to be fed during the night, he was now accustomed to going through the day without nursing and I felt like we were ready. So I breastfed him for the last time on November 18th. It was a very sweet moment. I didn't cry or get very emotional, because although we had such a wonderful experience with breastfeeding and it was the end of an era, we had been weaning off and on for about a month by now, and I knew this timing was what was best for our family, so I mostly just felt very at peace about the whole ordeal. 

I never got overly engorged after Wyatt was born when we were starting breastfeeding, and I think there was only one or two times during the weaning process where I was pretty swollen (swollen? engorged? whatever you want to call it..). And about 10 days after the last feeding, I did experience the height of some pain and tenderness in my chest, which lasted a few days or so. Also a little leaking here and there for a couple weeks, but other than that, I really have no complaints with the "recovery" (is that what you would call it?). I should mention, though, that it did take Wyatt a few more weeks to get better about sleeping all through the night. He was still waking up once or twice during the night (after being weaned), just to be comforted and held. 

Anyways, that's the long/short version of our weaning story. Good luck to anyone else out there currently trying to do the same! You'll get through it! ;)

14 comments:

  1. These posts are beautiful, Whitney. Harper is about 2 1/2 months from turning 1 and I am already getting worried about weaning! I don't know if either of us will be ready for it!

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  2. Gosh, how beautiful. I think I have to start taking notes of all the things running through my mind as I'm nursing my daughter. It's so fleeting!

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  3. Wow. The way you describe the bond between you and Wyatt is sososo beautiful. I hope to feel that someday. <3

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  4. I'm not a mother yet, and I know many people do different things for different reasons, but I'm curious. It seems like nursing was still beneficial for both of you. If it's not too personal of a question, I'm interested in why you decided to wean him. These notes are beautiful, and I love that you've shared them here.

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    1. thanks kelly! and you're right...wyatt & i both would have loved to keep nursing, but i never got my period while i was breastfeeding, so i needed to stop in order to have a shot at hopefully growing our family eventually :)

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  5. Thanks for sharing how the weaning process went for you both! I am in the process of weaning my baby girl who will be one on Monday. We are down to two feedings a day (one in the morning & one at night). And I'm a little worried about how how she'll do when I completely stop nursing her. Anyway, it was nice to be able to read someone else's experience :)!

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  6. Thanks for the added update! This is something that we'll be doing in the near future and I loved reading your tips and tricks. That must have been so hard when he kept getting sick. Just when you think you've got it figured out life throws a curveball :) Praying for you and your families next steps :)

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  7. I've always planned on weaning around a year old with my daughter (she's 8 months old) but reading this made me tear up even thinking about it. I don't know who's going to have a harder time - me or her. It's such a sacred time between the two of us and it's my favorite time with her. It's so helpful to read your story and it makes me feel like I can maybe do this. I will so miss those moments when they're gone.

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  8. Thanks for sharing :) I've been working on it for a WHILE now. We are down to just bedtime nursing. He's finally not crying in the morning and pointing to our nursing spot. He's almost 16 months so he's also in the temper tantrum stage so it's been tough. It's always nice to hear other's stories. I'm planning on nursing him less time every night until we stop.

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  9. Thanks for sharing more details in the update. Would you mind posting about what Wyatt eats typically? Solid food and table food, etc. Thanks!

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    1. you read my mind! i actually just had that thought today while i was feeding him dinner. hopefully i'll be able to put together a post to share soon :)

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  10. thanks for sharing the details of this. we're in the weaning process with my 18 month old and it's hard! she asks to nurse a lot and we're currently working on the nightime feeds. she got sick too which made us go backwards! i haven't nursed her during the night for over a week, but she still wakes up once at least and there's lots of singing and some crying. I'm hoping she'll sleep all night soon, and then we'll work on the bedtime one.

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  11. this was incredibly helpful! my son is 9 months now and we've had a wonderful experience with breastfeeding. i'm really sad just thinking about weaning him and i've decided to definitely BF him until he's at least 1, then see how things go after that. Thank you for sharing your weaning experience -- i've been wondering how others do that process so i can plan ahead :)

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  12. Just remembered this post and came back to read it....my son just turned 11 months so we're in the same boat now. Glad to know you made it through!

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