Monday, July 25, 2011

Weaning

**This is a post about my experience weaning Jude. It's long, and probably more information than 99% of people really care to know. I just wanted to document this experience for myself, though! So, if you're not interested in a post about breastfeeding, you should probably just skip this one :)**

So, Jude is now officially weaned. I'm SO happy that I was able to breastfeed him for a year. He never had any formula, and I'm really proud of that. (NOT because I think formula is terrible. I'm just proud of setting a goal for myself and reaching it.) Aubrey self weaned at 10 months old. I really wanted to nurse her for a year too, and I tried everything to try to get her to keep nursing (pumping, trying to get her to eat all the time, fenugreek, etc.), but it just wasn't happening. So, I was even more happy that I was able to successfully breastfeed Jude for a year.

I did end up giving him some cow's milk about 10 days before his birthday. I was going to Memphis for my girls' trip, and I was going to be gone overnight. I knew I wouldn't be able to pump enough to last him 2 days, so I mixed some cow's milk with breastmilk a few days before I went just to get him used to it. He then had a little breastmilk and some cow's milk while I was gone. Here's the drawback though: he would only take the cow's milk from a bottle. I was REALLY hoping to go straight from nursing to a cup. Jude just would not take the milk from a cup, though, and at that point, I just had to get him taking the milk before I just left him. So, I gave him a bottle of cow's milk, and he took it fine.

When I got home from my trip, my plan was to keep nursing him a couple of times a day until his birthday, at which point I would wean him. I never had any plans or desire to nurse past a year. I know breastmilk still would have been good for him and a lot of people do it, but it just wasn't something I felt like would be best for our family. Until his birthday, I was planning to keep giving Jude cow's milk along with nursing him a couple of times a day just to keep him used to it until I weaned him entirely. I didn't want to quit giving him the cow's milk, and then have to "re-introduce" it in a week when I weaned him. So, this is what we did for several days. I usually nursed him in the mornings and then sometimes at night. He would get cow's milk the rest of the day.

The week of his birthday, I decided to go ahead and wean him. Originally, I thought a slow, gradual weaning would be best for both of us, but it turned out to be harder on Jude that way. I felt like when I didn't nurse him, he didn't think about it or want to nurse. He was perfectly happy with the cow's milk. But then after I nursed him, it's like it reminded him of what he was "missing" and he wanted to nurse more often. By this point, my supply had gone down so much that I really couldn't have nursed him more often even if I had wanted to. So, I felt like it would be easier on him just to quit cold turkey. (It wasn't really cold turkey though, since he was only nursing one or two times a day.) And it was. One day, spur of the moment, I just didn't nurse him, and he has never seemed to think about it since. It's like he's already completely forgotten about it. Which is as it should be, in my opinion. The weaning process was actually very easy for him, and I'm SO happy about that. It would have broken my heart if he had been really upset about it. I think this was a really good time to wean him, because he seemed to get more and more attached to nursing as he got older, so I think it would have been harder the longer we had waited. Weaning somewhat suddenly was actually harder on me than it was for Jude! I had a few uncomfortable days, but that passed pretty quickly, and everything is back to normal now :)

I'm happy that with both Aubrey and Jude, weaning just sort of happened, and I didn't have a "last" nursing session that I was aware of. Of course there was a last feeding with both of them, but I didn't know at the time that it would be the last, and that's good for me. I think it would be too sad and emotional any other way!

So, that's where we are now. Unfortunately, Jude is still REFUSING to drink cow's milk out of a cup, so he is getting three bottles a day. I have tried several different kinds of cups, but he's just not interested (he will drink water out of a cup if he's really thirsty, but NOT milk). I have no idea what to do about this. I know we need to ditch the bottle, but I'm worried that he'll get dehydrated or not get enough calories without it. I'm planning on talking to his pediatrician about this at his one year checkup, but I couldn't get him in until August 19th! Any tips on getting a baby to take milk from a cup?

This post is getting too long, but one more thing: Ever since I weaned Jude, I feel like he's starting to like other people more and more. He's always been a sweet, social baby, but he's definitely been a mama's boy. He still loves me, but he's really decided he loves his daddy lately. Sometimes he prefers David over me these days, and that's kind of bittersweet for me. I LOVE that our children love their daddy. David is an amazing dad, and he deserves for our children to think he's awesome. I also think it's very healthy for children to be comfortable with people other than their mother who love them and take good care of them. But I don't want to be replaced! Haha. I know that Jude still loves me, though. I think breastfeeding was such a wonderful thing, and it definitely contributed to the bond that I have with both of my children, but it didn't create the bond and the bond doesn't depend on that. I am bonded with my children because I'm their mother, and I love them. And that definitely doesn't change with weaning :) I'm so thankful that I was able to provide my child with the absolute BEST thing for him his first year of life. Breastfeeding does require a few sacrifices, but it is so fulfilling knowing I'm giving my children such a good thing!

7 comments:

Genevieve said...

So glad to read that you guys successfully weaned! I am getting to the point where I am going to start so it is nice to read that it went well for you and Jude!! And congrats on making it to a year, that is awesome. :)

Big Jen said...

Does he drink anything from a sippy cup? With Isaac (who never even took bottles really), we got him to start using a sippy cup by putting diluted juice in it. Then when he weaned himself at 11 months, we put milk in the sippy cup, but he refused it. So his diet was FULL of dairy to make up for the lack of milk. We just kept introducing the milk to him in the sippy cup, and finally added some no sugar added nesquick to make him drink it.

So maybe Jude just needs something like water or juice in the cup to make him get familiar with it??

Whitney said...

Congratulations on making it a full year! Avery hasn't had more than a sip of milk since she had her last bottle, and bottles were gone by 13 months. My pediatrician told me it was pretty common for kids to drink it from the bottle and not from the cup. She isn't stressed about it, so I don't either. We just do lots of yogurt, cheese, etc. I should do better about trying milk more, but I don't. Avery didn't drink a ton of water from her cup at the beginning either, and I worried about taking the bottle away, but she did fine.

Amy said...

weaning libbi was SUCH an emotional time for me. i was surprised, because i wasn't really a major breastfeeding advocate when i first had her, but the longer we did it, the more attached i became. i finally just had to quit cold turkey, too, because it was too hard on her. she was much like jude that it would just remind her what she was missing so the whole "dragging it out" just wasn't working.
i don't have any suggestions for the sippy cup.... have you tried letting him drink from a straw? libbi would drink from a straw before she mastered the sippy cup (i have no idea why - ha!) good luck!!! and congrats on reaching your goal - you should feel proud of yourself! :)

The Niemeyer Nest said...

Way to go! A year is awesome! Evie took to the cup when I mixed some Dannon yogurt milk into her cow milk. Strawberry flavor worked like a charm - I started with a lot and gradually cut down to none. Maybe, I should try that again because she is so hooked on chocolate milk!

Mary Louis Quinn said...

I found your blog from SD's. My little girl didn't have too hard of a time with drinking milk from a cup, but she had a really hard time giving up the morning and nighttime bottle. I really worked myself up about ditching the bottle at exactly one year and was really hard on myself, but then I realized that it just wasn't that big of a deal. I slowly dropped all other bottles except for the morning one, and she didn't get rid of the morning bottle until she was 16 months!! She would have kept on taking it but I finally had to put my foot down. She would drink milk out of a cup all other times of the day, but if she saw me walk into her room in the morning with a sippy cup instead of a bottle, she would litteraly melt down. So instead of taking her milk into the room when I got her up, I would fix the cup of milk, leave it in my room, and then bring her into my room and offer it to her in there. After a short time she started taking it like it was no big deal.

So all that to say, just keep offering milk in a cup even if he refuses it. Maybe switch up your routine a bit. You can offer him a cup of milk with all his meals regardless of whether he drinks it, and if you do it over and over he will eventually take it. I would say don't offer another alternative if he refuses the milk in a cup, but I know that is easier said than done. :) I know someone whose son refused milk from 12 mo-18 mo b/c he wanted his bottle, and the pediatrician said it was ok and not to worry too much about it as long as he was getting his dairy in other ways.

Good luck! He WILL get it eventually so don't stress too much about it. Sorry for the super long comment from a stranger. :)

Anonymous said...

The only type of cup that my daughter would drink from was the Nuk active cup. They have a silicone spout so it is an easier transition. You should be able to find them at WalMart. Good luck!